The going debate for years to find out the bigger superstar:

India has two eminent superstars, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth. While the former carved his niche in Bollywood industry, the later rules Tamil industry. Not to mention, they enjoy the same popularity in the world over. Seemingly, in Indian entertainment industry they are two swords in the same sheath. We still tell a bigger superstar from the smaller looking at their fanbase. This too seems confusing to figure out in their case. So, here’s resting our judgement. Of course, both are equally important. If Rajinikanth is god then Amitabh Bachchan is The Shehanshah. 

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Experience has a little bearing in measuring stardom

Amitabh Bachchan was born in the year 1942 in Allahabad and debuted with Saat Hindusthani in Bollywood. In the year 1972, his action movie Zanjeer was declared a massive hit and since then there was no looking back for him.

Rajnikanth rather hailed from an impoverished background. He was born in the year 1950 to a Marathi couple Ramoji Rao Gaekwad (a Police constable) and Ramabai in Bangalore as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. Which made him well versed in both the languages Tamil (at home) and Kannada (outside). Rajinikanth, on completion of his school, kept on accepting various job roles like coolie, carpenter and finally a Bus Conductor in the Bangalore State Transport Service. However, he continued acting on stage with kannada playwright Topi Muniappa’s mythological plays. Tamil film director K. Balachander eventually noticed him. He asked him to learn Tamil and landed a role in his movie Apoorva Ragangal (1975), happens to be his debut movie in Tamil industry. He played a very small role in the movie with which he hit home with the critics and the audience alike. The film won three National Film Awards.

So, apparently Rajinikanth shot to fame after 6 years as Amitabh Bachhan but accorded same respect as superstars worldwide.

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Roles to remember

Like good neighbors, Bollywood and Kollywood swore by the idea of sharing. As a result, many Tamil industry adapted many Amitabh Bachchan hits to remake. To name a few:

1.Padikathavanor remake of Khuddar,

2. Dharmathin Thalaivan or the remake of Kasme Vaade

3. Velaikaran or the remake of Namak Halal

4. Maveeram or the remake of Mard

5. Naan Vazavaipen or the remake of Majboor.

Bollywood seeks to make commercial use of Amitabh’s baritone also, aside from his acting. No wonder, he lent his voice for some weighty narration in Lagaan, Parineeta, Jodha Akbar, Kahaani, Krishh 3, Mahabharat, Kochadaiyaan (Hindi version). There are some noteworthy roles in Amitabh’s repertoire not likely to fade from memory, to name a few, Dr. Bhashkar Banerjee in Anand, Vijay in Agneepath, Debraj Sahni in Black, Bhashkor Banerjee in Piku. In Hollywood yet, he booked good graces with his role in The Great Gatsby.

On the other side Rajinikanth was highly lauded for the title role in Padayappa, title role in Baasha, title role in Arunachalam etc. This superstar featured in many Bollywood movies and fared like a boss as he is. In a recent instance, his film Kabali, which seems to be in a money-spinning spree, had 48.95 crore Box Office collection in the first day itself.

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Fans, that lit the stars

Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan both have zillion fans in their tow. In Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan rules the roost but the industry owes a lot to Rajinikanth for his commendable performances  in  Andhaa Kanoon (1983), Asli Naqli (1986), Hum (19991), Chalbaaz (1989) etc.

In essence, many Rajinikanth’s movies have been remade in Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan even paid tribute to him in his Ra.One and Chennai Express but Amitabh enjoys a bigger fan following in Twitter.

Drawing from a recent experience, companies declared Friday a holiday over Rajinikanth’s film ‘Kabali’s’ release which gives a testimony to his stardom.

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Awards and recognition

In the award run however, Rajinikanth is slowly toeing Amitabh’s line. Amitabh Bachchan won National Award four times for his versatile roles in Agneepath, Black, Paa and Piku. Moreover the superstar is also the recipient of the highest civilian honors such as Padma Shri (1984), Padma Bhushan (2001), Padma Vibhushan (2015).

In that respect Rajinikanth is yet to reach Amitabh’s superstar repute with Padma Bhushan (2000), and Padma Vibhushan (2016) already in his grab.

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