Tamil is a regional language in India and has less Tamil speaking people than Hindi. Perforce the appeal of Tamil cinema is limited and for decades the Tamil film industry played second fiddle to Mumbai films, which are produced mainly in Hindi, the language spoken by nearly 55% of Indians. Tamil stars rarely were a success on the national or global world of films.

The exception were a few female stars like Hema Malini and Padmini who became Hindi film stars in their own right.


But for the last almost eight decades no Tamil male star made any waves on the Hindi screen. Tamil films were also released in the USA, but their clientele was limited to the Tamils settled in America.

Rise of Rajnikanth

The situation has changed with the appearance of Rajnikanth, the Tamil superstar. This star has been acting for decades, but he could not make a dent on the Hindi or global scenario.

Hindi films three present day superstars namely Amir Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan have ruled the silver screen for almost 15 years and no one ever thought that anybody could challenge them, least of all a Tamil star.


The glass pane was shattered with the success of the film Kabali. It's a long-winded film that could do with some editing, yet it stormed the box office and put all the films of the 3 Khans in the shade. Kabali earned over 10 million dollars at the box office inside the first 10 days, and there is every chance it will be the biggest grosser in Indian film industry.

The future?

The success of Kabali and more so the acceptance of Rajnikanth, on the national and world screen, is certainly food for thought.

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Keeping in mind that no Tamil star could ever touch the success of the top Hindi stars for almost eight decades, the success of Rajnikanth is surprising.

This 63-year-old actor does have charisma, but it took almost two decades for the people to realize that he was a superstar.  

As per reports Rajnikanth has earned more from this film than any of the Khans and one wonders if this is a pointer of the shape of things to come. With India producing more films than Hollywood, the world of cinema pendulum has started oscillating towards India as well.

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