Rajinikanth thanks fans, colleagues, political leaders for their wishes on Dadasaheb Phalke honour

CHENNAI: Superstar Rajinikanth, the recipient of prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for the year 2019, has expressed his gratitude to fans, film fraternity colleagues and political leaders for their heartfelt wishes. The Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday announced that the award, which is Indian cinema’s highest honour for an artiste, will be presented to Rajinikanth on May 3.

“For all the love, greetings & wishes I’ve received from eminent political leaders, my film fraternity friends & colleagues, well-wishers, media, every person who took the time to wish me & my beloved fans from across India & all over the world… My deepest gratitude and thanks,” the veteran actor said in a Twitter post on Friday. On Thursday, in a statement posted on the microblogging site, the 70-year-old cinema icon had dedicated the award to his friend, bus driver Raj Bahadur, elder brother Sathyanarayana Rao Gaekwad and all those who made him the superstar that he is now.

“I dedicate this award to my friend and bus driver Raj Bahadur, who discovered my acting talent and encouraged me, my elder brother Sathyanarayana Rao Gaekwad, who sacrificed a lot to make me an actor while struggling with poverty, my guru K Balachander, who created this Rajinikanth,” he had said. He also remembered his producers, directors, technicians, distributors, theatre owners, media, the Tamil people, “who have given me my life, and my fans across the world.”

Rajinikanth, whose real name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, tried his hand at several odd jobs before landing as a bus conductor. He soon quit the job to pursue his acting dreams. It was noted director K Balachander who spotted Rajinikanth at a film institute and roped him to star in his 1975 film ‘Apoorva Ragangal’. The director also gave the actor his screen name Rajinikanth. The cinema icon has delivered several superhit films such as ‘Billa’, ‘Muthu’, ‘Sivaji’ and ‘Enthiran’, among others.

He has also starred in Bollywood movies such as ‘Hum’, ‘Andha Kanoon’, ‘Bhagwaan Dada’, ‘Aatank hi Aatank’ and ‘Chaalbaaz’.