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Rajinikanth best movies

Updated on December 11, 2014

"Superstar", this title reminds of only one person in Tamil Nadu if not in India. That's Superstar Rajinikanth. A larger than life hero, he has kept up to the expectations throughout his career and remains to be one of the greatest entertainers of India.

Superstar Rajinikanth
Superstar Rajinikanth

Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in 12 December 1950 in Bangalore India, he is a winner of Padma Bhushan in 2000 from Government of India.

He worked as a Coolie, carpenter and bus conductor before entering the film industry. He is student of Madras Film Institute and while playing a villain role in a mythological drama, his mentor, K. Balachander identified him.

Graph of Rajinikanth

Rajinikanth Tamil Movies graph
Rajinikanth Tamil Movies graph

As evident from the graph, Rajinikanth worked hard during 1970s and eventually kept his market hold by working in less but right films as the years progressed.

Rajinikanth Other Language Movies Graph
Rajinikanth Other Language Movies Graph

With about 40 years of illustrious career, Rajinikanth acted in 172 films. It is hard work to pick top films of Rajinikanth. Below is an attempt to highlight Rajinikanth's career through some of his milestone films.


With 55 films between 1975 to 1979, Rajinikanth has made a mark in Tamil cinema and grew from an artist with two scenes to prominent villain to hero to Superstar. Not just Tamil cinema, Rajinikanth made his presence visible in Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam as well making him a well known figure in South India.

Rajinikanth in Apoorva Ragangal
Rajinikanth in Apoorva Ragangal

Rajinikanth's Introduction

Apoorva Raagangal (1975) marked the entry of Rajinikanth into cinema. The credit for this introduction goes to his mentor K. Balachander. This is an offbeat Tamil film which triggered controversy due to it's subject. However, it went on to win three National Film Awards including the award for the Best Tamil Feature.

Katha Sangama (1976) marked the entry into Kannada film industry. In a set of 3 short stories, Rajinikanth appears just at the last segment as a rapist, this is an experimental film made in new wave style.

His mentor, K. Balachander again takes the credit for his entry into Telugu film Industry through Anthuleni Katha (1976), which is a remake of Balachander's Tamil film. Rajinikanth plays a pivotal role in this film as a drunkard and a brother of lead character.

Moondru Mudichu
Moondru Mudichu

Moondru Mudichu (1976) showed his cigarette style

In his fourth film, Moondru Mudichu (1976), Rajinikanth plays a prominent role. He played an anti-hero role against Kamal Hassan while Sridevi is the heroine. This film is based on the Telugu film O Seetha Katha. This film has made Rajinikanth popular through his style of flipping the cigerette.

Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan in 16 Vayathinile
Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan in 16 Vayathinile

16 Vayathinile (1977) - Villain Rajinikanth

Though he went on to play villain roles in many other films like Baalu Jenu and Avargal, it's 16 Vayathinile (1977) which has got him a memorable villain role. Directed by the legendary Bharati raja, in this film Rajinikath uses his first punch dialogue 'Ithu eppadi irukku?'(How's that?). This just did not make his fans happy but increased his fan base.

Rajinikanth in Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri
Rajinikanth in Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri

Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri (1977) brought out the good man

Chilakamma Cheppindi (1977) is a Telugu film, which is also the first film where Rajini played the lead role. Though K. Balachander is Rajini's mentor, it's S.P.Muthuraman who has established him as a superstar. Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri (1977) marks the first film of Rajini with S.P.Muthuraman. Also, this is the first Tamil film where Rajini plays a positive role.

Bhairavi (1978)
Bhairavi (1978)

Bairavi (1978) made him Superstar Rajinikanth

After his 25th release, Maathu Tappada Maga (1978) which is a Kannada movie, Rajinikanth acted in Bairavi (1978). This is the first Tamil film with Rajinikanth as a hero and this is the first film that gave Rajinikanth a name that will stay with him forever, 'Superstar'. Kalaipuli Thanu, who was one of the distributors of this movie in Chennai, came up with this idea to give Rajinikanth the "Super Star" tag.

Also, Vanakkatukuriya Kathaliye (1978) was the first movie which had an introduction song to Rajinikanth which eventually became a trend for all his later movies

Rajinikanth in Mullum Malarum
Rajinikanth in Mullum Malarum

Mullum Malarum (1978) - Actor in Rajinikanth

Debut film of veteran director J. Mahendran, one of the few who brought naturalism to Tamil cinema, Mullum Malarum (1978) is critically acclaimed and has won Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Film and a special prize for Best Actor at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. This film is an adaption of a novel with the same name written by Kalki. In-spite of many oppositions, Mahendran persisted to have Rajini as Kali which eventually paid off. Rajini as Kali has won unanimous praise as is a breakthrough in his career as an actor.

Along with Tamil and Kannada movies, 1979 also marked Rajinikanth's entry into Malayalam cinema through Allauddinum Albhutha Vilakkum (1979)

Tiger (1979) marked his 50th film. He shared the screen-space with the legendary Telugu hero and later Chief Minister, N.T.Rama Rao.

Other memorable movies of this era are Ninaithale Inikkum (1979), the Tamil–Kannada bilingual Priya (1979), and the Telugu film Amma Evarikkaina Amma (1979)

ALL INDIA STAR (1980 - 1985)

With his entry and success in Bollywood, this era made Rajinikanth a national star.

Rajinikanth in Billa
Rajinikanth in Billa

Billa (1980) - Commercial success

Based on the 1978 Hindi movie Don, Billa (1980) was a big commercial success. This became the biggest commercial success of that time and ran over 260 days. All the songs were super hit, especially "My Name is Billa". It can be noted that, the current star hero, Ajit, remade this film in 2007 which is also a box office success.

Murattu Kalai
Murattu Kalai

Murattu Kaalai (1980) - Built on the success

The prestigious production house, AVM, stopped producing movies in 1970 and Murattu Kaalai (1980) marks their re-entry into Tamil cinema. This is also the first AVM - Rajinikath combination. Also, AVM has boasted that this film budget is the highest at that time for a Rajinikanth starer. This is on of the films in which S.P.Muthuraman revamped Rajinikanth's image. Though all the songs are huge hits, "Pothuvaka En Manasu Thangam" by Malaysia Vasudevan has been a cult hit till date.

Netrikan (1981) should have been a special film for Rajinikanth as it is K.Balachander's first production and is directed by S.P.Muthuraman.

Thillu Mullu
Thillu Mullu

Thillu Mullu (1981) - Breaking the image

Remake of 1979 blockbuster Hindi comedy film Gol Maal, Thillu Mullu (1981) in itself is a timeless classic. Directed by Rajinikanth's mentor, K. Balachander, this film had an ensemble cast and has broken the angry young man image of Rajinikanth and proved his versatility. It can b noted that his friend and competitor Kamal Hassan played a cameo in this movie.

Moondru Mugam
Moondru Mugam

Moondru Mugam (1982) - Triple role

Directed by A. Jagannathan, Moondru Mugam (1982) is the first film in which Rajinikanth played a triple role as 'John Jani Janardhan'. This film ran over 250 days at box office and became a Mega hit. This film was remade in Hindi as John Jani Janardhan (1984) by T.Rama Rao. Even the Hindi version of this film is a box office hit and remains to be the only triple role film to become a hit at box office.

Andha Kanoon (1982) - First Bollywood

Directed by the successful T.Rama Rao, Andha Kanoon (1982) marked Rajinikanth's entry into Hindi film Industry. This film is a Hema malini starer along with Amitabh Bachchan and Madhavi in an extended guest appearance roles.Dharmendra also played a guest role in this movie.

This was one of the most highest grossing films of that year and this was remake of Vijayakanth's Tamil movie Sattam Oru Iruttarai (1981).

Anbulla Rajinikanth (1984) - First Cameo

Rajinikanth with his superstar status, he played as himself for the first time in Anbulla Rajinikanth (1984). Both Meena's and Rajinikanth's acting in this movie were highly praised.

Nallavanuku Nallavan (1984) - Filmfare Award

With 152 days run at box office, Nallavanukku Nallavan (1984) is a major hit. This film was directed by S.P.Muthuraman.

Rajinikanth in Sri Raghavendra
Rajinikanth in Sri Raghavendra

Sri Raghavendra (1985) - 100th movie

S.P.Muthuraman, the man who directed 25 of Rajinikanth's movies directed Rajinikanth's 100th movie, Sri Raghavendra (1985). This movie is from K.Balachander's production house, Kavithalaya. The film received tax exemption from Tamilnadu government. Though, the entire cast and crew made this devotional film with all their devotion including fasting during the shoot and in spite of appreciation received by Rajinikanth, this movie flopped at box office.

INDIA AND BEYOND (1986 - 2010)

This era proved Rajinikanth to be undoubtedly the biggest Indian star.

Bloodstone (1988) - English movie

Produced by Ashok Amritraj and Directed by Dwight H. Little, Bloodstone (1988) is the first English movie of Rajinikanth. In this movie, Rajinikanth plays a streetwise taxi driver.

Thalapathi (1991)

Rajinikanth in Thalapathi
Rajinikanth in Thalapathi

Produced by G.Venkateswaran and directed by the legendary director Mani Ratnam, Thalapathi (1991) consolidates everything that Rajinikanth is. It brings out the extraordinary actor in Rajinikanth once again without missing his stylish dialogue delivery, fights, introduction song and an image of a growing underdog. This film also broke the mold Rajinikanth had at that time. This film is loosely based on the story of Karna from Mahabharatha. After this film, there is no turning back for Rajinikanth except for few glitches. Everything after this is a sensation.

Annamalai (1992)

Rajinikanth in Annamalai
Rajinikanth in Annamalai

A 175-day run, highest grossing in Rajinikanth's career at that time, Annamalai (1992) is a blockbuster hit. Once again under Kavithalaya productions, this film is directed by Suresh Krishna and music was by Deva.

  • This film is loosely based on Jeffrey Archer's novel Kane and Abel thought this is not the first movie to be based on that novel.
  • This movie also set a trend of having a theme song as the first introduction song.
  • Rajinikanth is a milkman in the first half and changing into a businessman in the second half.
  • The dialogue "mala da annamala" and the one during the interval is memorable and timeless.
  • Also, the bicycle used by Rajinikanth in this movie is famous as well.

Valli (1993)

Rajinikanth stars in a guest role in Valli (1993). Though this film has failed in box office, this marks the debut of Rajinikanth as a writer.

Baashha (1995)


Another Rajinikanth, Suresh Krishna and Deva combination, Baashha (1995) broke the records set by Annamalai. Baashha just nailed it. It has everything a Rajinikanth movie should have. A celebrated introduction, a trustworthy, down to earth character in the first half, a powerful role change, punch dialogue and style. This has everything making it one of top films of Rajinikanth.

Muthu (1995)

Rajinikanth in Muthu
Rajinikanth in Muthu

Another Kavithalaya productions movie, Muthu (1995) is a debut film for K.S.Ravikumar and Rajinikanth combination. The music was scored by the later oscar winning A.R.Rahman. Another film that nailed what is expected from a Rajinikanth movie.

This movie is not just a blockbuster in southindia, but also in Japan. This is one of the movie which significantly increased Rajinikanth's fan base in Japan. Muthu was dubbed in Japanese as Muthu Odoru Maharaja

Bhagya Debata (1995) marks the debut of Rajinikanth in Bengal.

Padayappa (1999)

Rajinikanth in Padayppa
Rajinikanth in Padayppa

Another Rajinikanth, K.S.Ravikumar, A.R.Rahman combination, Padayappa (1999) was highly successful at box office and broke most of his previous records. Another typical Rajinikanth film, Padayappa has an elaborate story and happens over a long period of time. This movie built on Rajinikanth styles and dialogues and took it to new heights. Ramya Krishna played an award winning pivotal negative role.

This film was initially 22 reels instead of 16 reels. Both Rajinikanth and K.S.Ravikumar did not know how to trim and it was Kamal Hassan who suggested the trims.

After a long gap, Baba released in 2002 among high expectations being a Rajinikanth, Suresh Krishna and A.R.Rahman combination. However this failed at the box office.

Chandramukhi (2005)

Rajinikanth in Chandramukhi
Rajinikanth in Chandramukhi

Not let down by Baba's failure, Rajinikanth came back with a bang with Chandramukhi (2005). In this movie, the superstar in Rajinikanth took a backseat. P.Vasu directed the film while not a top music director, Vidya sagar scored the music. Another surprise element was upcoming heroine, Nayanthara was paired with Rajinikanth. All these cut short the expectations and the film was a huge box office success running for 890 days.

This film was based on Malayalam movie Manichitrathazhu (1993). This film is an example of Rajinikanth's commercial movie acumen.

Sivaji (2007)

Rajinikanth in Sivaji
Rajinikanth in Sivaji

Sivaji (2007)

A movie cannot get big when it is AVM, Shankar, A.R.Rahman and Rajinikanth's combination. An out and out commercial film, Sivaji (2007) made all the Rajinikanth's fans happy. Though there were comments about certain aspects of the film, this is a huge success. Rajinikanth delivered an unbelievable performance throughout the film especially the songs. This movie really took Rajinikanth's style to new heights. On 12-12-12, this film was re-released in 3D.

Enthiran (2010)

Rajinikanth in Enthiran
Rajinikanth in Enthiran
Rajinikanth in Enthiran
Rajinikanth in Enthiran

Enthiran (2010)

While no one expected that a movie can get bigger than Sivaji, Enthiran (2010) released. Another, Shankar, A.R.Rahman and Rajinikanth combination, this is not a typical Rajini movie. It was India's most expensive film upon its release.

Enthiran did not have the typical introduction song and punch dialogues. However, Rajinikanth's performance is terrific and was much appreciated. A.R.Rahman's album was an international best seller. In the second half of the movie, the old villain in Rajinikanth was back and cheered the audience. It was a Rajini vs Rajini at the end. The way the songs were shot in the movie is breathtaking.

Kochadaiiyaan (2014) became the first Indian motion - capture movie.

With such movies under the belt, Rajinikanth is all set to release another K.S.Ravikumar, A.R.Rahman and Rajinikanth combination Lingaa . The film songs are unique and fate of the film is to be awaited.


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