The name Rajinikanth is synonymous with 'style'. Though Bollywood has given it the wildly inaccurate umbrella term 'lungi dance', Rajini has used several props to establish himself as a style icon - way before the days of Instagram.
In Kaala, the actor's styling has once again made waves. Dressed entirely in black and sporting a pair of dark shades, Rajini sports a salt and pepper look. Sunglasses, in fact, have become a Rajini staple in recent times, lending him a classy look that suits his age.
Here's a glimpse of the various superstar props that have sent the crowds wild over the years:
The way Rajinikanth would throw his thundu (the piece of folded cloth) in the air and make it land again on his shoulder is legendary. He has used this prop to great effect in films like Ejamaan and Muthu.
In Padayappa, which was all about a rich, arrogant woman lusting after his style, Rajini used the 'thundu' trick to create one of the most epic scenes ever. When Nilambari invites him home and removes all the furniture save her chair, Padayappa uses his thundu to bring down the big swing and seat himself in it. The scene still sends Rajini fans into paroxysms of joy.
Rajini's expertise in wielding the stick, which was a common prop in Tamil films of the '90s, was evident in films like Arunachalam. Twirling it with one hand and planting it on the ground assertively was a Rajini trick that was sure to draw whistles from the audience.
Rajini has always excelled in playing roles with negative shades. He used the pipe in films like Netrikann, Billa and Johnny to build the bad boy image though he also played the hero in these films.
The pipe in Tamil cinema has usually been used to suggest a rich background, and though Rajini played the underdog in several films, he was equally convincing in suits.
In Padayappa, the mouth organ was another prop Rajini used effectively to suggest romance, style and also snub his arch-enemy Nilambari, played by Ramya Krishnan.
One rupee coin
If you wondered what could possibly be done with a coin, then you haven’t seen Rajinikanth do it. In Sivaji the Boss, this one rupee coin is his style prop. He flips it from one hand to the other, before tossing it in the air or into his pocket, a feat that can only be pulled off by the superstar.
Rajinikanth's tricks with the cigarette/beedi are immensely popular. From chucking it in the air and catching it between his lips to lighting it with a loaded gun, Thalaivar has done it all. Several films like Annamalai, Baba, Moondru Mugam, Baasha, and Padayappa saw the superstar flicking his cigarette.
Baasha, his most iconic film till date, had a song called 'Azhagu' which was basically a celebration of how Rajini can make the most innocuous actions stylish - sure enough, the cigarette features in it too.
Though Rajini's cigarette style won him thousands of fans, the actor issued a 'stop smoking' message to his followers on his 63rd birthday. He confessed that he'd suffered from several health issues because of his smoking.
Former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had also urged the actor to stop glorifying smoking in his films. In Shankar's Sivaji, Rajini shifted to the chewing gum. He flicked the gum to his palm and managed to get it into his mouth!
Rajini has worn sunglasses in several films - Dharma Yuddham, Baasha, Padayappa, Chandramukhi, Endhiran, Lingaa, Kabali - to mention a few. Like the pipe, the sunglasses usually appeared when Rajini was playing a character who was considered rich or to suggest his makeover from 'innocent and poor' to 'enlightened and wealthy'.
In Kaala, however, though Rajini is playing a gangster from the lower class, he already is seen sporting the glasses. As in Kabali, Pa Ranjith is looking to reimagine the oppressed as powerful in Kaala and the sunglasses is a conscious addition towards achieving this.