NEW DELHI — As congratulatory messages poured in all through April 1 after it was announced that he would be honored with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, superstar Rajinikanth took to Twitter to convey thanks and gratitude. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government of India, as well as several others including Raj Bahadur, the bus driver who would inform him of acting auditions during his days as a bus conductor.
"For discovering my acting skill and for encouraging me, my friend Raj Bahadur," he wrote in a special letter he posted on Twitter.
Rajinikanth also thanked his brother Sathyanarayana Rao Gaekwad for "making all the sacrifices that he did to make me an actor, even when wrought by poverty.”
The actor made his acting debut with filmmaker K. Balachander's "Apoorva Raagangal" in 1975. In his letter, the superstar thanked Balachander, his "guru" for teaching him the art of acting and honing his skills.
Rajinikanth also thanked his well-wishers including Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, leader of the Opposition MK Stalin, his friend and colleague Kamal Haasan, and all other leaders.
He also expressed gratitude to directors, producers and technicians, media, stunt master, theatre owners and everyone who has helped him.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi had congratulated Rajinikanth by writing: "Popular across generations, a body of work few can boast of, diverse roles and an endearing personality...that's Shri @rajinikanth Ji for you. It is a matter of immense joy that Thalaiva has been conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Congratulations to him."
The actor responded to PM Modi's tweet saying: "Immensely humbled and honored with your greetings and the most prestigious #DadasahebPhalkeAward award respected and dearest Shri @narendramodi ji. My heartfelt thanks to you and the government of india."
Rajinikanth ended the letter with "Jai Hind" and the slogan, “Live and let live.”