When Rajinikanth's best friend Raj Bahadur encouraged him to join films. On Throwback Thursday

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When Rajinikanth's best friend Raj Bahadur encouraged him to join films. On Throwback Thursday
Rajinikanth’s throwback photo with his best friend Raj Bahadur.

For those who have followed Rajinikanth over the years, the very mention of his friend Raj Bahadur will take us back to the times when the actor shared stories about his friend. Superstar Rajinikanth never misses an opportunity to thank his best friend at public events of his films. Ardent fans of Rajinikanth know that it was Raj Bahadur who encouraged Thalaivar to join films. When Rajinikanth dedicated his Dadasaheb Phalke Award to his best friend, we knew that it was an ode to their five-decade-long friendship.

On this week’s Throwback Thursday, let us take a look at how their friendship set solid goals for everyone. Behind the success of the Superstar, there is his best friend, Raj Bahadur.

Rajinikanth received the coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award in New Delhi on October 25. Speaking at the gathering, the Darbar actor said, “I dedicate this award to my mentor and guru K Balachander sir. Also, my thanks to my friend and colleague, Raj Bahadur, who was a bus transport driver. When I was the bus conductor, he was the one who identified the actor in me and encouraged me to join cinema.”

Shortly after Rajinikanth received the award, Raj Bahadur was getting ready to meet his best friend in Chennai. Speaking to the media, Raj said, “He didn’t need to take my name while he was receiving the prestigious award. It shows his integrity, humbleness and the fact that he did not forget his journey. He never forgets his friends as they were the ones who encouraged him. Even if he meets his relatives, he makes it a point to meet his friends whenever he comes to Bengaluru.”

In the 70s, Raj Bahadur was the driver of bus number 10A that travelled between Majestic to Srinagar in Bengaluru. Rajinikanth was the conductor on the route. At several award functions, Thalaivar revealed that he used to flip coins while giving change to the customers. It was Raj Bahadur who found the actor in Rajinikanth.

For Raj Bahadur, Rajinikanth will always be Shivaji Rao Gaikwad [original name of Rajinikanth]. In the 70s, Rajinikanth used to act in dramas organised by the employee’s association, where he would play the lead role. Initially, he wasn’t interested in being an actor. But, Raj Bahadur encouraged Rajinikanth to join Madras Film Institute to take acting lessons.

In an old interview, Rajinikanth said that Raj Bahadur earned Rs 400 as salary on a monthly basis. Every month, he used to send Rs 200 to Rajinikanth who was in Chennai back then. The actor revealed that he used Raj Bahadur’s money and survived for nearly three years in the city.

77-year-old Raj Bahadur has now retired from his work and is now leading a simple life with his family members in Bengaluru.

ALSO SEE | Rajinikanth’s best friend told him he is old. What Thalaivar did next is unbelievable

ALSO SEE | Rajinikanth in Delhi with wife Latha, Dhanush and Aishwarya to receive Dadasaheb Phalke Award

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