The actor, a matinee idol for ages and popularly called ‘Thalaivar’ was bestowed with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Indian cinema’s highest honour for an artiste, for the year 2019.
In his acceptance speech, Rajinikanth also thanked his elder brother Sathyanarayana Rao, transport colleague and friend Raj Bahadur, his fans, filmmakers, colleagues and the Tamil people for their unwavering support over the five decades.
“I’m extremely happy to receive this award and my thanks to the government for this most prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. I dedicate this award to my guru, my mentor K Balachander sir, I thank my brother Sathyanarayana Rao, he is a father figure in my life, for giving me great values, my friend, driver and transport colleague Raj Bahadur. He spotted the acting talent in me and encouraged me to join the cinema. All my producers and directors who have produced my films, technicians, artists, distributors, media, press and all my fans, and Tamil people...” the 70-year-old star said at the National Film Awards ceremony at Vigyan Bhavan here.
The Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu described Rajinikanth as a “great actor from south India, not of south India”.
Asuran role wins best actor award for Dhanush
Actor-filmmaker Dhanush received the Best Actor award for his performance in Vetrimaaran’s Asuran. He shared the award with Manoj Bajpayee, who won it for Bhonsle. The 37-year-old actor now has four National Awards on his resume. Asuran features Dhanush as Sivasamy, a farmer on the run with his family in a bid to protect his son who has killed an upper-caste landlord in vengeance. The movie also bagged the National Award for the best Tamil feature film. Ace composer D Imman won the national award for the Best Music Director for his music album in the Ajith starrer Viswasam while Vijay Sethupathi received the Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in Super Deluxe.