Shivaji Rao Gaekwad known mononymously as Rajinikanth, is an Indian film actor who works primarily in the Tamil film industry. He has also acted in Bollywood, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hollywood and Bengali films as well.
He began acting in plays while working in the Bangalore Transport Service as a bus conductor. In 1973, he joined the Madras Film Institute to pursue a diploma in acting. Following his debut in K. Balachander's Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal (1975), his acting career commenced with a brief phase of portraying antagonistic characters in Tamil films. After establishing himself as a lead actor in a number of commercially successful films, he began to be referred to as a "superstar" and has since continued to hold a matinée idol status in the popular culture of Tamil Nadu. His mannerisms and stylised delivery of dialogue in films contribute to his mass popularity and appeal.
After earning 26 crore for his role in Sivaji (2007), he was the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan at the time.