Shivaji Rao Gaekwad (1950-1975)

He was born in Bangalore, India to a Marathi family consisting of a police constable Ranoji Rao Gaekwad and his wife Ramabai. The name Shivaji derived from a famous Marathi warrior. He would spend his childhood as a laborer. Eventually, he would work various jobs until he managed to become a bus conductor in 1970 while Raja Badhar would be the driver.

Badhar and Rajinikanth would rehearse on their free time for acting roles. They would eventually star in Tamil-language films–in spite of the fact that Rajinikanth was not Tamil nor was he intimately fluent in the Tamil language. Rajinikanth would eventually study at an Madras Film Institute for two years.

Rajinikanth (1975?-)

rajini?: (Sanskrit) queen
kanth?: (Sanskrit) voice

Instead of his original name being used as a stage name, he was given the stage name Rajinikanth, after one of the characters from A. V. M. Rajan’s film. Apparently, it was supposed to mean “color of night” in reference to Rajinikanth’s dark complexion. I suspected that it derived from the Sanskrit words meaning “queen voice.” I could not find if Rajinikanth meant “color of night” in Tamil.

Rajinikanth would eventually develop a lengthy bibliography of films and become one of the most well-known Bollywood actors.


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