|Full name||P Raj Bahadur The Indian Express|
|Profession||Retired Bus Driver from Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC)|
|Famous For||Being the best friend of the legendary Indian actor Rajinikanth|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 170 cm
in meters- 1.70 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 7”
|Hair Colour||Salt & Pepper|
|Date of Birth||Year 1945|
|Age (as of 2021)||76 Years|
|Siblings||He has one brother.|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Raj Bahadur
- Raj Bahadur is a retired Indian bus driver from Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) who is famous for being one of the closest friends of the legendary Indian actor Rajinikanth.
- In 1970, Raj Bahadur joined Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) as a bus driver, and at the same time, Rajinikanth joined BMTC as a conductor.
- Raj was among the first persons to identify the acting talent of Rajinikanth. In an interview, while remembering old days with Rajinikanth, Raj said,
Although he was a conductor like many others, he definitely had a spark. We used to watch him act in dramas organised by the employee’s association where he would always play the main role. He was really exceptional in acting. But he never dreamt of being an actor. Once, I told him that he has all the talent and ability to be an actor in movies. He was not interested in entering movies but I pushed him. Eventually, he was sent to Chennai for training in Madras Film Institute.”
- Raj then motivated Rajinikanth to join an acting school in Chennai. Raj used to send him Rs. 200 every month from his salary of Rs. 400 per month for almost 2-3 years while Rajinikanth was doing a diploma in acting at an acting school in Chennai.
- Once, Rajinikanth was performing in a drama where Tamil director K Balachander noticed him and asked him to learn Tamil. Rajinikanth immediately rushed to meet Raj in Bengaluru and told him the whole incident. In an interview, while talking about the same, Raj Bahadur said,
Rajini came to Bengaluru and told me that Balachander asked him to learn Tamil but did not say anything else. I told him if such a big director has said it there is something ahead. As I know Tamil, from then onwards, we decided to speak only in Tamil. In the next two months, Rajinikanth was able to speak Tamil fluently. The next time when Rajini met the director, Balachander told him that he had a role but said since he does not know Tamil, it would not be possible to cast him. Immediately, Rajini replied to him in Tamil saying he knew the language and Balachander was stunned by his ability to learn the language in just two months. And he got the role in Apoorva Raagangal in 1975. Since then, he never looked back and the rest is history.”
- In 1993, Raj acted in Rajinikanth’s Tamil film ‘Valli’ in which he played a small role for which he received Rs. 2 lakhs. He never spent that money and has kept it as his savings.
- Raj Bahadur retired as a bus driver in 2005, and he moved in with his brother’s family in Bengaluru. During an interview, Raj shared that Rajinikanth often gives surprise visits at his home. He said,
Rajini always pays surprise visits. He visits in disguise to avoid public gaze and arrives at wee hours and knocks on the door. No phone calls, no messages, just hop on to the next flight and land at the friend’s doorstep. There is a room in the house reserved for Rajini. We don’t know when he will come and knock on the door. So the room will always be ready. It is a simple small room with a single cot and enough space for another person to sleep on the floor. Whenever Rajini comes, we shut inside the room and speak for hours. I sleep on the cot while Rajini sleeps on bed laid on the floor. It has been like this for years.”
- He further shared an incident when Rajinikanth visited him to attend ‘Kadlekai Parishe,’ an annual fair of groundnuts held in Basavanagudi, Bengaluru. He said,
We changed appearances and went on the busy streets of Bull Temple Road where the fair takes place. Rajini enjoyed every bit of the crowded fair without being noticed for a while. A girl was suspicious that the man walking next to me was Rajinikanth. But somehow, she came near us and asked if he was Rajinikanth. We laughed at her saying she has mistook him for someone else. The girl being a diehard Rajini fan, said she recognizes him by his eyes and she is confident that he is Rajini. Before she could actually establish the facts, we ran away from the fair.”
- In 2021, on receiving the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award at the 67th National Film Awards, New Delhi, Rajinikanth dedicated his award to his friend Raj Bahadur. While giving the speech, Rajinikanth said,
I dedicate my award to my friend in Karnataka, bus transport driver, my colleague – Raj Bahadur. When I was the bus conductor, he identified the acting talent in me and encouraged me to join the cinemas.”
- Raj Bahadur’s reaction to Rajinikanth’s generous act was,
It was not necessary for him to take my name while he was receiving the prestigious award. It shows his integrity, humbleness and the fact that he did not forget his journey. He never forgets his friends as they were the one who encouraged him. Even if he meets his relatives, he makes it a point to meet his friends whenever he comes to Bengaluru. The love, affection, not just between Rajinikanth and me, but between him and all his friends have remained the same for all these decades.”
- During an interview, Raj Bahadur shared that Raj and Rajini always consulted each other while taking major decisions in their lives.