Rajnikanths very first film as the main lead was a Kannada film called Katha Sangama, released in 1976, directed by Puttana Kanagal. In Tamil films, he started off being a supporting actor or character actor. His first Tamil film(in a supporting role) was Apoorva Raagangal directed by K. Balachander and released in 1975. His role was that of a cancer patient. Rajnikants first lead role in Tamil cinema was in SP Mathuramans Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri released in 1977 where he played a villain in the first half and a reformed man in the second man.
Very few know that Rajnikanths real name is Shivajirao Gaikwad. He was born to a Maharashtrian family in Karnataka. Before embracing the film industry, he worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Transport Service. During this time, he participated in numerous stage plays. Rajnikanth joined the Madras Film Institute in 1973 and did a basic course in acting. His performances were singled out and it was a matter of time before he got a ch