Chennai: Could Tamil superstar Rajinikanth be preparing to bid farewell to the film industry after his 171st movie, helmed by Lokesh Kanagaraj? Speculations abound within industry circles following remarks made by Tamil filmmaker Mysskin in an interview, suggesting that Rajinikanth's upcoming film with the young and visionary director might serve as the legendary actor's final cinematic endeavour.
The director's comment went viral on various social media platforms. The revelation has taken social media by storm, with several die-hard fans of Rajinikanth refusing to believe it.
"No, Thalaiva will not make any such decision," said one fan. Another fan called for putting an end to speculations. The fans say that the actor never spoke of retirement, and hence they will not believe anybody else speaking about his retirement.
The 72-year-old superstar's next movie to hit the screen will be 'Jailer', directed by Nelson, scheduled for release on August 10. The next in line will be 'Lal Salaam', directed by Rajinikanth's daughter Aishwarya.
Rajinikanth's 170th film, tentatively titled 'Thalaivar 170', will be directed by TJ Gnanavel. This will be followed by 'Thalaivar 171', helmed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, likely to be produced by Sun Pictures.
Director Mysskin revealed that Rajinikanth will be teaming up with Vikram and Kanagaraj for his 171st film. According to Mysskin, Rajinikanth himself had approached Lokesh and expressed interest in collaborating with him.
Mysskin, who is acting in Lokesh's movie 'Leo', added a twist by mentioning that 'Thalaivar 171' may be the last movie in Rajini's career, which has spanned nearly five decades. However, he said he is not 100 per cent sure about it.
Rajini's fans say that rumours about his retirement from films are not new. The talk has been going on since 'Kaala' (2018), but the veteran actor continued signing new movies. They hope that the superstar will not stop entertaining them.
The actor rules the hearts of millions of fans not just in Tamil Nadu and the rest of South India but also across the country. His film releases are celebrated like festivals by his fans.
Rajinikanth, whose real name is Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, was born to a Maharashtrian mother in Bangalore on December 12, 1950.
Coming from a humble middle-class family, he struggled hard in his early days of life. He worked as a porter and also as a carpenter before becoming a bus conductor with Bangalore Transport Service. It was during this period that he started taking an interest in acting.
Speaking at the birth centenary celebrations of legendary Telugu actor and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. T. Rama Rao (NTR) in Vijayawada last month, Rajinikanth revealed that he was greatly impressed by the role of Duryodhana played by NTR in 'Srikrishna Pandaviyam'.
"When I was working as a bus conductor, at a function, I enacted the role of Duryodhana played by NTR, and because of the appreciation I received, I started taking an interest in acting," the superstar said.
Rajinikanth began his acting career with 'Apoorva Raagangal' (1975) directed by K. Balachander. He had a supporting role in the movie starring Kamal Haasan in the lead. In the early part of his career, he played supporting roles but after establishing himself as an actor and never looked back.
He has done films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam. He enjoys a cult following among his fans who affectionately call him 'Thalaivar'.
Like many popular actors in Tamil cinema, he too had plans to enter politics. However, he dropped his plans in 2021, citing his frail health.
(With IANS inputs)