Rajinikanth is turning 70 on December 12, 2020, and his unique style, charisma, and mannerisms remain unmatched in popularity. Since his debut in K Balachander’s 1975 Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal to movies like Thalapathi (1991), Annamalai (1992), Muthu (1995), and Sivaji (2007), Rajinikanth’s dialogues became iconic primarily because of his stylish delivery.
As Neelambari says in Padayappa, vayasanaalum un style um azhagum unna vittu innum pogala (Even after you’ve aged, your style and looks have not left you).
Here’s 10 iconic Rajinikanth dialogues that epitomise that style.
Kabali (2016) – “Naan vandhuten nu sollu, thirumbi vandhutenu. Twenty-five varushathuku munadi epdi ponano Kabali apdiye thirumbi vandhutan nu sollu. Kabali da!” (trans: “Tell them that I have come back. Kabali has returned exactly the way he left 25 years ago. Kabali da!”)
When Pa Ranjith’s Kabali (Review here; Interview with the director here) released in 2016, Rajinikanth’s dialogue in the high-energy song Neruppu Da, declaring his return, became very popular. Audiences would often quote those lines, in between jamming to the song.
Sivaji (2007) – “Kanna, panninga dha kootama varum. Singam single a dha varum” (trans: “Only pigs come in a group. The lion comes alone.”)
Shankar’s Sivaji is a gold mine of punch dialogues. So much so that in one scene, comedian Vivek parodies the film industry’s habit of having actors say punch dialogues, then goes on to deliver a slew of punch dialogues himself, such as “Pasanga paakradhu pogo, Sivaji kitta vendam go go. (trans: “Children watch Pogo, don’t mess with Sivaji go go”).
What’s unforgettable though is a scene in which Rajini gets caught by a gang of ruffians. He goes on to mock them with this dialogue.
Moondru Mugam (1982) – “Thee pettiku rendu pakkam urasuna dha thee pudikum. Aana indha Alex Pandiyan ku endha pakkam urasunalum thee pudikum.” (trans: “With a matchbox, fire is created only when you strike on both sides. But for Alex Pandian, fire is created if you strike any side.”)
Rajinikanth played three roles in Moondru Mugam but his role as police officer Alex Pandian is what became iconic. Pandian’s ruthless handling of criminals won him dangerous enemies. An altercation with one such enemy led to this this dialogue, which became a classic.
Padayappa (1999) – “En vazhi thani vazhi, seendatha.” (trans: “My way is a unique way. Don’t provoke me.”)
Over the years Rajinikanth developed such an invincible popular image that no villain would even try going up against his character. Hs characters also tended to be misogynistic.
However, Neelambari from Padayappa was a rare villain that stood her ground against Rajinikanth. She too was subjected to misogyny but that didn’t stop her. She happened to be at the receiving end of this dialogue.
16 Vayathinile (1977) – “Idhu epdi iruku?“(How is this?)
Rajinikanth began his career, not as a hero, but a villain. In 16 Vayathinile, he played the antagonist Parattai, who lusts after Mayil (Sri Devi) and whose aim is to constantly belittle and put down Gopalakrishnan (Kamal Haasan). As he makes demeaning jokes, he asks his sidekicks – how is this?
Annamalai (1992) – “Na solradhayum seiven, solladhadhayum seiven.” (trans: “I will do what I say, and also what I don’t say.”)
Annamalai was an important film in Rajinikanth’s career. It became so popular that the background music used in the film became the trademark music played before all his subsequent his films, along with a visual of the “Superstar Rajini” title card.
In the film, the loyal Annamalai is betrayed by his rich friend. He then vows to his friend that he would become even richer than him. And as he says, he does.
Arunachalam (1997) – “Aandavan solran, Arunachalam seiran.” (trans: “God tells, Arunachalam does.”)
In many of his films, Rajinikanth has played spiritual characters that state their views about God. However, when it comes to punch dialogues, his iconic line in Arunachalam appears to echo his spirituality the best. What God says, Arunachalam does.
Baasha (1995) – “Naan oru dharava sonna, nooru dharava sonna madri.” (trans: “If I say it once, it is equivalent to saying it a 100 times.”)
Baasha bhai is one of Rajinikanth’s most iconic characters and this simple and effective dialogue is perhaps the most quoted of all his dialogues. Mark Anthony, played by Raghuvaran, belittles Baasha, calling him inexperienced. However, Baasha proves him wrong and responds masterfully.
Baba (2002) – “Naan yosikaama pesa maaten, pesinapiragu yosika maaten.“ (trans: “I don’t talk without thinking. Once I talk I don’t think.”)
Baba may not have had a good run at the box-office but it had a number of entertaining moments and dialogues. Towards the end, Baba is tasked with a serious decision that could impact the entire nation. Baba, however, makes the right decision, since he doesn’t talk without thinking.
Muthu (1995) – “Naan eppa varuven, eppadi varuvennu yarukkum theriyadhu, aana varavendiya neratthil correcta varuven.” (trans: “Nobody knows when and how I will come, but I will definitely come at the right time.”)
This particular dialogue is rich with Muthu’s sense of loyalty to his ejamaan. When his ejamaan is in trouble, Muthu assures him, he will definitely come to his aid.
Now in 2020, the dialogue seems especially apt for the speculation surrounding Rajinikanth’s decision to join politics.