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Rajnikanth: For being the King

'He makes people believe that miracles do happen, impossible is possible'

August 13, 2008

Actress Shriya Saran on India's incredible megastar.

Rajnikanth has no hang ups, no starry tantrums, no attitude. He is simple. All that he has today, he attributes it to God. He is one of the most talented actors we have. It is people like him who make me believe that miracles do happen, impossible is possible, if you believe in yourself and your dreams and if you follow them, then as they say, the whole world comes around and helps you make it happen.

He is not ashamed of talking about where he has come from. He is someone who makes you believe that your fate is real if your dreams are honest and that even if you are aiming for the stars you will get it.

He is someone people bow down to, people call him a stepping stone, people say you can't recreate the magic he creates on screen. I had just heard about all that. But the day Sivaji was released I actually got to witness it. People showered his photograph with milk when they watched his film. It is a festival. For them it is one of their gods. They idolise him and from a five year old to the parents to the grandparents, every generation loves him. He is a phenomena.

The way he innovated his persona, style, the way he recreates it every time -- that's phenomenal. He has thought about it, imagined it and created it. Till I met him I thought style is where you come from, from wearing branded clothes, but when I met him I realised style is about who you are and what you feel inside. It's his biggest plus point that his style is his own. Whatever he wears, whatever he does, it becomes him.

He is hungry for knowledge, if he doesn't know something he won't be ashamed to ask about it. The kid in him hasn't died, that child-like attitude is still alive. I see that even in his kids. When I meet (his daughters) Aishwarya or Soundarya I see that simplicity in them. I see that in his wife. No matter where they are coming from they are grounded.

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He's India's pride. He is a success story. Such stories inspire people. He's Asia's biggest actor. Though people say he's big and people are mad about him I still feel he's under-rated because he deserves a lot more than what he gets or what he has. I think it's also because in a subtle, subconscious way he is quiet about what he is, who he is. He even works out without make-up. He has no inhibitions. Very rarely do you find people like that; very few people have the guts to do that. Very few people are lucky enough to get so much affection and love that he gets.

He reads a lot. He reads spiritual books too. You can talk to him about any subject under the sun. I think in his own way he has found meanings to his own questions, reasons and explanations to what he must be seeking. You see a kind of purity, honesty, peace on his face. As an actor your state of mind speaks volumes about how you look on screen. It's not 8 hours sleep, not good make-up, it's about your state of mind.

Also, the fact that he has gone through life in his own way. Life isn't always nice to all of us. But his sense of humour is still alive. He will go talk to a light-man with the same intensity and fun like he would do with the producer of the film. He doesn't discriminate between people.

We have different eras -- the 1970s, 1980s and so on. As long as Rajnikanth is alive people will always call it the Rajnikanth era. I guess it is also because of the tremendous respect he has not just from the masses but also from the actors and co-actors around him. Sivaji is a living example of that. It ran houseful shows in Jaipur, Nagpur, Ahmedabad; it was houseful in Delhi and Mumbai. I didn't get tickets in Mumbai for 5, 6 days. So that's the kind of insane craze, madness Sivaji, a film made in Tamil, had.

He is a living example of believing in yourself and following your dreams in a country like India.

Shriya Saran, who co-starred with Rajnikanth in Sivaji, spoke to Radhika Rajamani.

Also see: 'It's an honour to act with Rajni'
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