Superstar Rajinikanth named for Dadasaheb Phalke Award

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Venkat Raman

Venkat Raman

Auckland, April 1, 2021

                          Rajinikanth greetings fans at his Poes Garden home in Chennai on April 1, 2021


Rajinikanth, one of the greatest actors of our times has been named as the recipient of the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2020.

Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar took to Twitter to announce the government’s decision in Delhi today (Thursday, April 1, 2021).

Known as ‘Thalaiva’ (Chief), Septuagenarian Rajinikanth has been a disputed King of the Indian Cinema for well over 50 years and is recognised as the Superstar of India.

Iconic Actor

He has hundreds of millions of fans of not only Indian origin but also of various other nationalities and his films are viewed with great interest by the Japanese and others in South and South-East Asia. According to a source, there are more than 50,000 fan clubs in his name with millions of members, who not only follow him but also promote his films.

The Jury that selected Rajinikanth for the national honour included film producer Subhash Ghai, senior actors Biswajeet Chatterjee and Mohan Lal, popular singer Asha Bhosle and famous music composer Shankar Mahadevan.

“Happy to announce that Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2020 to one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian Cinema Rajinikant Ji. His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to congratulate the Superstar.

‘Billa’ released in 1980 was a runaway success and a turning point in Rajinikanth’s career

Acknowledging Rajinikanth as Thalaiva, he said, “ Popular across generations, a body of work few can boast of, diverse roles and an endearing personality, that is Shri @Rajinikanth Ji for you. It is a matter of immense joy that Thalaiva has been conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Congratulations to him.”

About Dadasaheb Phalke Award

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest award in cinema. It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The recipient is honoured for their “Outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema” and is selected by a Committee consisting of eminent personalities from the Indian film industry. The Award carries a Golden Lotus (Swarna Kamal) Medallion, a Shawl and ₹ 1,000,000 (about $19,528) as cash prize.

The Indian government instituted the Award in 1969 to commemorate the contributions of Dadasaheb Phalke, popularly known as the Father of Indian Cinema.

The first recipient of the Award was actress Devika Rani, who was honoured at the 17th National Film Awards. Since then more than 50 artistes have been honoured with the Award. They include Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Kumar, Pran, Narasimha Reddy, Nagi Reddy, Shashi Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, B R Chopra and Yash Chopra.

About Rajinikanth

Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1950, he was named Rajinikanth by the man who discovered him- Tamil film producer, director and writer K Balachander for his Tamil film ‘Apoorva Raagangal,’ released in  1975. He has since acted in about 170 films, a majority of them in Tamil and almost all of them superhits.

He belongs to a Marathi film but was born and raised in Bangalore and since speaks fluent Kannada and Tamil. He began his working life as a bus conductor and later took to theatre before entering the film industry.


Rajinikanth debuted in Apporva Raagangal and worked with Kamal Hassan, Sri Vidya and Jaya Sudha in 1975

As well as a producer and screenwriter, Rajinikanth has won four Tamil Nadu State Film Best Actor Award, the Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award, the Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Award for Excellence in Indian Cinema given by Vijay TV, the Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year and the Icon of Golden Jubilee Award given at the 50th Edition of the International Film Festival of India.

The Federal Government honoured him with the Padma Bhushan (2000) and Padma Vibhushan (2016).

Rajinikanth’s popularity is attributed to his uniquely styled dialogues and idiosyncrasies in films, as well as his political statements and philanthropy.

A philanthropist, he undertook a day-long fast in 2002 to protest the Government of Karnataka’s decision to not release Kaveri River water into Tamil Nadu and donated ₹10 million (about $19,528) toward a plan to interlink Indian rivers.

Rajinikanth is the only Indian actor to be featured in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus, in a lesson titled From Bus Conductor to Superstar. In 2015, a film about his fandom, For the Love of a Man, premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. On December 31, 2017, he announced entry into politics and confirmed his intention to contest in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections in all 234 constituencies.

But later, he withdrew from politics citing poor health.

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