That apart, his role as a mob boss is major incentive for Rajini fans - who didn't entirely warm up to his previous outings in Lingaa and Kochadaiiyaan. As Kabaleeshwaran or Don Kabali, Rajinikanth joins this shortlist of five other actors, adored for their performances as cinematic gangsters.
Amitabh Bachchan in Deewaar, Don, Agneepath
Rajinikanth's Hum co-star and close friend built his stupendous career on the foundation stone of Deewaar's Vijay Verma, the elder of two brothers on opposing sides of the law. Vijay Verma, believed to have been based on real life gangster Haji Mastan, begins as a boot polisher and ends up a smuggling kingpin. Deewar (1975) gave Indian cinema one of its most memorable scenes, dialogues and deaths. Three years later, Big B played both the titular Don as well as his lookalike substitute. In 1990, decades later, he intoned another famous line as Vijay Deenanath Chavan, who sets down a path of crime in pursuit of revenge.
Shah Rukh Khan in Duplicate, Don, Don 2, Raees
Big B's Don was given a millennial update with a remake and a sequel in which SRK's good guy persona was revealed to actually have been the Don all along. In 1998, he played the criminal Manu Dada in action-comedy Duplicate - which, no guesses, starred SRK in a double role. Next January will see him as a blackmarketeer operating out of the dry state of Gujarat in Raees.
Ajay Devgn in Company, Omkara, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai
Remember when Ram Gopal Varma used to made great cinema? His fictionalized depiction of the Dawood Ibrahim-run D-Company was headlined by Ajay Devgn, who played the ruthless mafia boss Malik in 2002's Company. A short while later, he starred as Omkara, leader of a gang that commits political crimes, in Vishal Bhardwaj's adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. In 2010, Ajay Devgn returned to the Mumbai underworld as filmed by Bollywood in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, playing smuggler Sultan Mirza.
Sanjay Dutt in Khalnayak, Aatish, Vaastav, Munna Bhai
1993, the year that Sanjay Dutt was accused of illegally possessing arms, was also when Khalnayak released. His portrayal of the criminal Ballu was widely acclaimed. Over the years, he was cast in several gangster roles, from the Deewaar-like elder brother Baba in 1994's Aatish to crime lord Raghu in 1999's Vaastav. In 2003, he turned his talents to comedy in Munnabhai MBBS, starring as a mafia don with a heart of gold who goes to medical school. The blockbuster movie spawned an equally beloved sequel in 2006, Lage Raho Munna Bhai.
Manoj Bajpayee in Satya, Gangs of Wasseypur
Often cast in villainous roles, Manoj Bajpayee's breakout performance was as Bhiku Mhatre in RGV's acclaimed 1998 film Satya, set amid a turf war between opposing factions of the Mumbai underworld. In the first installment of Anurag Kashyap's two-part 2012 crime drama Gangs of Wasseypur, he played Sardar Khan, leader of one of the titular gangs of Jharkhand's coal mafia.