Balachander renames Sivaji Rao as Rajinikant
Known as Sivaji Rao
till the completion of shooting for Aboorva
Raagangal, he became Rajinikant immediately after
that. It was director K. Balachander who gave him
the new name.
describes it thus:
“I was acting for a
love scene along with Srividya for Aboorva Raagangal.
Both of us have to hold each others hands and come
walking while talking and laughing. There were no
dialogues in that scene; only lip movements. We
were told to walk together while talking something
and laughing. While I was conversing in Kannada,
Srividya was talking in Malayalam.
After the end of this
scene, we were told to go home. I removed my
make-up and came out. The shooting for the movie
also got over with that scene.
I went to Gemini
studio to dub for my scenes. At that time both
Kamala Haasan and Srividya were dubbing for their
scenes. I was waiting for my turn.
Suddenly a scene came
on screen. A bearded person wearing a coat is
opening a door and entering. He talks something. I
could not recognize him immediately. Suddenly it
dawned on me that it was none other than me.
I was just starring at
the scene forgetting everything else. The scene
came again and again. I was just looking at the
scene completely forgetting to speak my dialogue. I
was thrilled to see my figure on screen. After all,
I have been waiting for so long for this moment
only. Only when director Balachander, who has been
watching this, called “can we start dubbing”, did I
come down to this earth.
I have to tell
something now. Since I did not know Tamil properly,
some people opined that some other person should dub
for me. But, Balachander Sir did not agree to it.
He was firm that he wanted my original voice only.
My dialogues in
Aboorva Raagangal were few only. Balachander Sir
taught me how to pronounce the dialogues and I
simply followed it. Once he okayed it, my dubbing
work also came to an end”.
Thus Rajinikant has
narrated his dubbing experience and this is what he
has to say as to how he got his new name:
“It was decided to
release Aboorva Raaganagal on 15th
called me and told “we have to mention your name in
the title card. Shivaji Rao is not suitable.
Because already there is a Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji
Ganesan in the industry, the name Sivaji will not be
suitable. Rao also will not suit Tamil Nadu”. So,
I have told him to suggest a suitable name for me
and came back.
I consulted with my
friends. I had two names in my mind viz., “Sharath”
and “R.S.Gaekwad”. When I told them to my friends,
none of them liked both the names.
So, I went back to
Balachander Sir and told him to suggest a new name
with his blessings. That day was an unforgettable
day in my life. It was a full moon day.
Balachander Sir told
me: “In my stage play ‘Major Chandrakanth’, there
are two sons for the character Chandrakanth. First
one is Srikanth and the other one is Rajinikanth.
Already one person in the industry got the name
Srikanth. I was wondering whom to name as
Rajinikanth for a quite a while. Now I will name
you as Rajinikanth”.
I immediately touched
his feet and requested him to bless me that I should
grow in the industry and get a name as a good
villain actor. But Balachander Sir told me: “Why do
you want to be a villain? You will become a big
actor. Just wait and see”.
My joy was limitless.
I went straight to Marina beach and sat in the sands
watching the blue sea for a long time. Whenever I
am in happiness or sorrow, I used to go to the beach
to sit alone and ponder.”
Aboorva Raagangal was
released on 15th August, 1975. It was a
movie with a different story line. Those are the
days when Balachander movies used to run for his own
stamp and style. So, this movie was also considered
as a Balachander movie only.
Rajini went to the
Krishnaveni theatre in T.Nagar, where it was
released, to see the movie but tickets were not
available. He met the theatre manager and pleaded
with him to give him a ticket since he has acted in
the movie and hence wanted to see the movie. The
manager also gave him a ticket out of sympathy.
Rajini went running to
his seat and was so happy to see himself on screen.
He thought “At last my dream has come true. I will
start getting villain roles at least from now
>>> Part 11