Superstar Rajinikanth, a matinee idol for ages who is popularly called Thalaivar, was presented the award at the 67th National Film Award.

Actor Rajinikanth gets Dadasaheb Phalke award.PTI
Flix Award Monday, October 25, 2021 - 16:56

Tamil 'Superstar' Rajinikanth had a list of people to thank as he received the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award at the 67th National Film Awards held on Monday, October 25. However, the superstar did not miss the names of the three most important people in his life who were instrumental in shaping his career — his mentor late director K Balachander, his elder brother Sathyanarayana Rao and his friend Raj Bahadur.

“I dedicate this award to my guru, my mentor K Balachander sir. I thank my brother Sathyanarayana Rao, he is a father figure in my life, for giving me great values. My friend, driver and transport colleague Raj Bahadur. He spotted the acting talent in me and encouraged me to join cinema,” the 70-year-old star said at the National Film Awards ceremony at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi.

Late director K Balachander, who is fondly known as “KB sir,” is considered to have helped Rajinikanth kickstart his career in the film industry. Balachander introduced Rajinikanth in Apoorva Raagangal, the popular Tamil film that released in 1975. The superstar played a supporting role, although it was a significant one.

Rajinikanth reportedly met the late director at the Adyar Film Institute (now called the MGR Government Film and Television Training Institute), where he was doing an acting course. However, the superstar would not have taken up the course to venture into films without the support and encouragement of his friend and former colleague, Raj Bahadur. The two were working with the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. While Raj Bahadur was a driver, Rajinikanth was a conductor. Raj Bahadur, who knew about his friend’s ambitions to become a movie star, helped Rajinikanth go to Chennai to pursue his dream.

Rajinikanth maintains a close bond with his elder brother, Sathyanarayana Rao. Just recently, when the superstar announced his plans to enter politics, he visited Rao in Bengaluru to seek his blessings.

At an NDTV event, the superstar described his elder brother as his father and mother.

In his acceptance speech on Monday, Rajinikanth also dedicated the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award to his fans, filmmakers, colleagues and the Tamil people for their unwavering support over five decades. “I thank all my producers and directors who have produced my films, technicians, artists, distributors, media, press and all my fans, and Tamil people..." said Rajinikanth, a matinee idol for ages who is popularly called Thalaivar.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who presented the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award to the actor, described Rajinikanth as "one of the great sons of this great country".

Inputs from PTI

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