If you’re an ardent fan of Rajinikanth, chances are that you would’ve taken note of his atypical entry into films. His unconventional style defines his extraordinary entry to stardom. Unlike many of his contemporaries in their initial years, Rajinikanth didn’t star as the boy-next-door wooing heroines, neither did he run around trees dancing to melodious numbers; Rajinikanth was initially introduced as an antagonist – therefore deriving that he wasn’t meant to charm the ladies. But this witnessed a change soon after the actor starred as the antagonist.
The South film industry welcomed actresses from several states who went on to become southern sweethearts, and most of these lucky heroines shared screen-space with Rajinikanth. Some of the heroines’ chemistry with the actor became so sensational that they began appearing in consecutive films cast opposite the actor. Here are some of the phenomenal actresses who have performed with the superstar:
Known for his distinct filmmaking style, Balachander is considered to be Rajinikanth’s mentor since he introduced him in his movie, Aboorva Ragangal; in which Srividya was paired opposite the actor. Even in his limited screen-space, Rajinikanth made a steady impression on the audience. Over the years Balachander cast Rajinikanth in a streak of successful films. There was one thing common in each of these films – Balachander portrayed women as bold personalities and central characters, in which the hero played only one part. The period of the ’70s and ’80s saw veteran actress-turned politician Jayaprada sharing screen-space with the actor in Atuleni Katha, Ninaithale Inikum and Iddaru Asayadule. Rajinikanth and Geetha have shared screen-space in films like Bairavi, Iddaru Asadhyule, Ninaithale Inikkum, Andamaina Anubhavam, Garjanai and Garjanam,Garjan’, while naive looking Madhavi appeared with him in the romantic-comedy Thillu Mullu.
starred in close to 15 films with the actor. Yes, the evergreen beauty showcased her acting prowess by performing with rising superstars like Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan
. The most-memorable performance by this powerhouse performer is undoubtedly 16 Vayadilene, Johnny
and Moondram Pirai
. The actress’s spell-binding performance won her accolades and fetched her several awards including the Tamil Nadu State Award. They also starred together in the Hindi film, Chaalbaaz
. After being on a sabbatical for 15 years, Sridevi made a comeback with English Vinglish
, which proved fruitful for her, as it turned out to be a huge success. The actress has also been rated as a timeless beauty by Vogue India. Most of Rajinikanth’s films in this period are incomplete without mentioning the name of the very versatile – Sripriya
. Having done close to 28 films, the bubbly and vivacious actress has appeared the most number of times with the superstar. Sripriya was often seen in meaty roles where she appeared on screen and was given equal screentime as the lead hero.
The late ’80s witnessed several new and talented heroines who added much value to cinema. Danseuse Shobana starred with the actor in Siva and Thalapathy, and moved the audience with her expressive eyes. The petite beauty Amala starred in Vellaikaran andMappilai. While Vijayashanti, Sarita, Suhasini and Gowthami proved their mettle with their impressive performances. However, it was Radhika who unveiled her versatility by performing in women-centric roles that made her the reigning queen of that period. Other heroines who seemed to have glorified the season include the sisters Radha and Ambika, and Malayali-stunner Nadia.
The early ’90s witnessed several new entrants in Tamil cinema, all of whom went on to become top-leagues heroines. The vibrant Nagma went on to work on the cult classic –Baasha. The film opened up several other offers for Nagma aiding to her successful career in tinseltown. The dynamic Kushboo took the box office by storm with her enthralling performance in Mannan and Annamalai, making her an instant hit. Her popularity soared heights when temples were built in her name. Even the popular Kushboo idly is named after this bubbly actress. Another beauty who seemed to grab every one’s attention was Meena. After appearing as a child artist alongside Rajinikanth, the actress went to star in lead roles after a few years. Her sparkling innocence and grace made her the most-sought after actress of the ’90s. She starred in a handful of films with the actor including the superhit Muthu and Yejaman for which she won several awards. Even though heroines like Roja, Rambha, Soundarya and Ramya Krishnan performed only in few film with the actor, they proved their exuberance with their respective performance, especially Ramya Krishnan. Her performance as the sultry vamp Nilambari proved out to be one of the highlights of the superstar’s film, Padaiyaapaa.
In the mid ’90s, we saw several of Rajinikanth’s former heroines routinely began appearing as his mother. Which also goes on to prove that heroes remain ageless while heroines have very limited shelf-life? Srividya who was his wife in Aboorva Ragangalbecame his mother-in-law in Mappilai, and his mother in Thalapthy. Sujatha who played his wife in Avargal played the role of his mother in Baba.
The turn of the millennium witnessed the superstar team up with Manisha Koirala
in Baba. Having appeared with Kamal Hassan and performed in Shankar’s and Manirathnam’s films, she wasn’t entirely an outsider to Tamil cinema. Even though her performance in the film was praised, the film turned out to be a damp-squib at the box-office.
After a brief hiatus, The Demi-God was back with P.Vasu’s Chandramukhi,
Looking more energetic, younger and stylish than ever, Rajinikanth got his fans asking for more. The sensational Jyothika
gave a remarkable performance in that film. Jyothika
was the most-preferred actress of that season primarily because of her alluring expressions combined with her exuberant performance. Her screen presence oozed spunk combined with elegance. After having worked with several top actors including Kamal Hassan, the doe-eyed lass decided to call it quits, after she married actor Surya. The current queen bee of Tamil cinema, Nayantara
has featured with the actor not once but twice on screen, including a cameo number for Sivaji.
The film also starred Shriya Saran
as a conservative Tamil girl. Nevertheless, she did treat her fans to some sultry moves in the musical sequences. In 2010, Shankar’s Endiran
witnessed the unique pairing of Aishwarya Rai
opposite the actor. Known for her enigmatic presence in Tamil movies, the green-eyed beauty and former Ms. World delivered a terrific performance as Sana – the girl caught in the middle of a Robot and its creator. Deemed as the world’s most beautiful woman, Aishwarya Rai has scorched the screen with her killer dances moves in both Bollywood and Kollywood (with a stint in Hollywood as well), a perfect example of this being Iruvar
; which was her debut film in the language.
The reigning queen of Bollywood, Deepika Padukone
will star with him in the soon-to-be-released Kochadiiyaan
marking her first Tamil film debut. The latest heroine to romance Thalaivar is Sonakshi Sinha,
in his current project Linga
. Southen Siren Anushka
is also set to be part of this film too. In his three-decade long career of the actor has been paired with all the charismatic heroines, who have been swayed by the persona of the actor. It looks everyone wants to act opposite the Legend, whose aging process is reversed.