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Rajinikanth (Tamil: ரஜினிகாந்த்; born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1949) is an Indian film actor, media personality, and cultural icon who has primarily acted in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada Movies. He made his debut as an actor in Apoorva Raagangal (1975), a Tamil film directed by K. Balachander, whom the actor considers his mentor. He then worked in Tamil cinema often portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. Other than acting, Rajinikanth also worked as a producer, story writer and screenwriter. Apart from his film career, he is also a philanthropist, spiritualist and serves as an influence in the politics of Tamil Nadu.