Tamil superstar Rajinikanth today turned 63 and is said to be celebrating his birthday in native town Bangalore.
Sources close to the actor said he had earlier left for the city, keeping with his usual practice of staying away from Chennai on his birthday every year.
However, he had met his fans last year. Die-hard fans of the veteran actor have organised special prayers and welfare activities to celebrate their idol’s birthday.
Rajinikanth’s is a typical rags-to-riches story as he has transformed his mundane life as a bus conductor in Bangalore to that of a most sought after actor, with a frenzied fan base hailing him as their 'Thalaivar' (The Leader).
From what started as a small role in his mentor K Balachander’s 'Aboorva Ragangal' in 1975, Rajinikanth soon charted his path as a preferred villain before opting for more positive roles.
Whether it be portraying struggles of a low-class printing unit employee in 'Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai' (From 6 to 60) or portraying the divinity of Sage Ragavendra, the actor has proved he was second to none when it came to challenging roles.
He broke many stereotypes of a hero, including holding a cigarette with much style while mouthing dialogues in his own inimitable way, that made many a young fan go razy.
Previously, Tamil film heroes avoided scenes of smoking or drinking.
However, the smoking scenes later turned against him, with the S Ramadoss-led party PMK objecting to his on-screen smoking, claiming he promoted cigarette culture among youth.
He has since then largely avoided smoking in his films.
Known for his humility and outspoken nature, he had also courted controversy in 1996, making some remarks against then ruling AIADMK dispensation. He later supported a DMK-Tamil Maanila congress alliance which swept the polls that year.
Rajinikanth has delivered some of the biggest blockbusters of Tamil cinema, and has worked with all big directors including Maniratnam and Shankar.
Currently, he is working in his daughter Soundarya-directed Kochadaiiyan,a 3-D film being shot using motion capture technology, starring Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff and Tamil actor Sarathkumar among others.