Rajini Special: Superstar's Top 12 Best acting performances

Even though Superstar Rajinikanth enjoys the status of a supreme being, which he has rightfully earned for himself, people often tend to overlook his acting chops which tend to be overshadowed by his intriguing personality. On the occasion of 12.12.12, we revisits 12 best acting performances by Rajinikanth that unveils the actor behind the Superstar.


Rajinikanth was reportedly hesitant about taking up such a melodramatic role since he had just begun establishing himself as an entertainer. But he eventually trusted S.P. Muthuraman’s instincts and agreed to this role that had no room for heroism. Rajini excelled in his character of a poverty stricken young man struggling to give his siblings a comfortable life, only to be ignored later on by his very own flesh and blood. As we follow the life of the aging character of Santhanam, played by Rajini, as the doting brother and later as a self-made individual, his performance evokes great sympathy within us.

Mullum Malarum (1978)


Rajini was 28 when he essayed this role, and some would say it mirrored his real life personality then. Playing Kali, the carefree factory worker who played by his own rules and then later a victim of fate that leaves him without his hand, Rajini delivered a stellar performance that made us empathize with his possessiveness over his sister.
Engeyo Ketta Kural (1982)


Rajini plays Kumaran who marries his love interest but she elopes with someone else for his riches. Kumaran is then forced to marry his estranged wife’s sister in order to provide his child a mother. The complexity and the gravity of the situation demanded a convincing performance with a reassuring maturity and Rajini delivered just that.

Thillu Mullu (1981)


Rajini had doubts whether he could do a full-fledged comedy. He asked director K. Balachander if the audience would accept him this way after the monstrous Billa. Well, Rajini ended up clarifying both those questions himself through this absolute classic film that will also remain an eternal fan favorite for many. Rajini’s timing and expressions as Aiyampettai Arivudainambi Kaliyaperumal Chandran is a pure indicator of the actor’s versatility.

Moondru Mugam (1982)


Alex Pandian. The name is uttered even today with echoing pride. It was one of the three characters portrayed by Rajini in this movie. The performance as Alex Pandian is a fine example of how Rajini can bring a character to life with his own style of histrionics. He wore the Police khaki clothes with respect and stood like a figure of authority.

16 Vayadhinile (1977)


Bharathiraja’s debut film that awestruck critics and audiences, thanks to brilliant performances by Sridevi, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth as Parattai. It’s not often, and not easy, that a baddie has the audience rooting for him but Rajini managed to do just that in his character as the village’s ruffian. His mannerisms and delivery did the trick and gave birth to the anthemic ‘Idhu eppidi irukku’

Nettrikann (1981)


Rajini as Chakravarthy, an incorrigible womanizer, made us secretly (or openly) enjoy such a character despite indulging in such debauchery. Essaying a role like that required guts and shedding all of one’s inhibitions, Rajini clearly made use of the opportunity to show off once again what a strong performer he was.

Sri Raghavendra (1985)


For his 100th film Rajini had to discard his commercial avatar and don one that demanded divinity and a holy radiance from the star that he had become by then. Rajini delivered a subdued performance in a role that he sought out to do as a display of his faith in the holy saint.

Thalapathy (1991)


Rajinikanth teaming up with Mani Ratnam could only mean that the audience was in for an intense performance driven drama, and Thalapathy was nothing less.  Rajini’s fervent acting captured by Santosh Sivan in Mani Ratnam’s preferred low lighting made for an epic film.

Chandramukhi (2005)


Rajini was making a comeback of sorts after the underwhelming Baba, and the Superstar was eager to bounce back strong. The film builds up suspense beautifully leading to a gripping climax where Rajini shoulders the responsibility to give the film the big push it needed towards the end. His appearance as Vettaiyan left the crowd delirious and it seemed that he had saved his best for last, with his body language, mannerisms and gimmicks that the Superstar has come to be known for.
Endhiran (2011)


Director Shankar had an ace up his sleeve for Sivaji, when he reintroduced the character as MGR. Similarly in Endhiran he turned the obedient Chitti upside down into version 2.0 that was ferocious and terrifying. Chitti 2.0 saw Rajini delivering an old-school theatrical performance with a total overhaul in his body language and overall demeanor. The scene where he identifies the ‘Black Sheep’ reminded us, if anyone had to be reminded, why he was who he was.

Moondru Mudichu (1976)


Rajini never always subscribed to playing just the good guy; he could show that he could be a convincing villain like he did in Moondru Mudichu as Prasath. He a had a glint of mischief in his eyes with malice in his mind as he sets out to get the girl he wants, even if it’s at the cost of his friend’s life.

Thanks - Behindwoods


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