“Hi Raja… en gangla nee oru star nu thaan ninachen… aanaa nee oru super star nu nirubichuttey!” (Hi Raja… I thought you were a star in my gang. But you proved that you are a superstar..!)
This dialogue by actor-producer K Balaji in the 1981 Tamil film ‘Thee’ could be taken literally about the person he was talking to—Rajinikanth. For. only a year before the actor had tasted major success with ‘Billa’, a remake of Amitabh Bachchan-starrer ‘Don’. And with ‘Thee’, he had established himself as a super-star.
Incidentally, both the films were bankrolled by Suresh Balaji, son of K Balaji, who was known as the king of remakes. ‘Thee’ too was a remake of another iconic Bachchan superhit film ‘Deewar’ (1975).
Till ‘Billa’, Rajinikanth was known more as an actor. He had done strong drama roles in films like ‘Apoorva Raagangal’ (1975), ‘Moondru Mudichu’ (1976), ’16 Vayathinile’ (1977), ‘Mullum Malarum’ (1978) and ‘Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai’ (1979), that earned him wide appreciation for his acting skills.
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