Clans in Indian Cinema: Rajinikanth, Dhanush and the Mega Family of Tamil Showbiz

Megastar Rajinikanth is one of the biggest icons of Indian cinema, achieving a ‘god-like’ status in Tamil Nadu for his powerful screen presence. Even after 45 years in the industry, he continues to enjoy massive success with his films in India and in various other countries. While his daughters did not take up acting, his son-in-law Dhanush is a talented actor working in both Hindi and South films. Younger daughter Soundarya works in the Tamil film industry as a director, producer and graphic designer. His wife Latha’s nephew Anirudh is successful music composer. Here’s looking at the family tree of Rajinikanth and their film affiliations.

Rajinikanth: He is widely regarded as one of the popular actors in the history of Indian cinema. His popularity has been attributed to his uniquely styled dialogues and idiosyncrasies in films, as well as his political statements and philanthropy. Following his debut in K. Balachander’s 1975 Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal, Rajinikanth’s acting career commenced with a brief phase of portraying antagonistic characters in Tamil films. The Suresh Krissna-directed Baashha (1995) in which Rajinikanth played a crime boss, was a major commercial success. Sivaji (2007) was the third Indian film to enter the 100 Crore Club. He played a scientist and an andro-humanoid robot in the sci-fi film Enthiran (2010) and its sequel 2.0 (2018), both being India’s most expensive production at the time of their release, and among the one of highest-grossing Indian films of all time.

Rajinikanth married Latha Rangachari in 1981. In the 1980s, she worked as a playback singer in Tamil cinema. She is the sister-in-law of Tamil playwright and film actor Y Gee Mahendran. She is also related to former film actress Vyjayanthimala. Latha’s brother Ravi Raghavendra is also an actor who is the father of music director Anirudh Ravichander.

Rajinikanth and Latha have two daughters – Aishwarya Rajinikanth and Soundarya Rajinikanth. Aishwarya is married to actor Dhanush and they have two sons, Yathra and Linga. His younger daughter, Soundarya, works in the Tamil film industry as a director, producer and graphic designer.

Soundarya Rajinikanth: She became a film producer with Goa (2010) and made her debut as a director with the film Kochadaiyaan (2014). Through Kochadaiiyaan, Soundarya earned the distinction of becoming the first woman to direct her father in a feature film, winning accolades for its technical innovation. She has a son with first husband Ashwin Ramkumar. In 2019 she married Vishagan Vanangamudi, an actor and businessman.

Aishwarya R. Dhanush: She has worked as a playback singer for some Tamil films, and directed the film 3 starring husband Dhanush.

Dhanush K Raja: He is the son of Tamil film director and producer Kasthuri Raja. He entered acting after being pressured by his brother, director Selvaraghavan. He debuted in the 2002 film Thulluvadho Ilamai, directed by his father. He achieved critical and commercial success with Polladhavan (2007) and Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008). His role as a rooster fight jockey in Aadukalam (2010) got him a National Award. He continued success with films including 3 (2012), Maryan (2013), Anegan (2015), Kodi (2016), Vadachennai (2018) and Asuran (2019). In 2011, Dhanush’s song ‘Why this Kolaveri Di’ became a viral hit. He has also starred in Hindi films like Raanjhanaa and Shamitabh.

Selvaraghavan: Dhanush’s brother is famous for directing romantic drama films like Kadhal Kondein (2003) and 7G Rainbow Colony (2004) before venturing into coming-of-age films Pudhupettai (2006) and Mayakkam Enna (2011).

Anirudh Ravichander: He is one of the most popular singers and music composers of South Indian entertainment industry, collaborating with Dhanush in several projects. His debut song ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’, composed for the 2012 film 3, went viral across the globe and has achieved over 200 million views on YouTube. AR Murugadoss signed him to compose music for Kaththi (2014). The soundtrack for the film became Anirudh’s highest profile soundtrack until he was signed to compose music for Rajinikanth’s Petta in 2019. He has also composed music for Tamil hits like Naanum Rowdydhaan, Maari, Vedalam, Remo and Velaikaran.



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