Rajnikant in Japan: Indian “superstardom” and low value markets
Abstract This paper draws attention to some questions thrown up by the increased circulation of mass produced cultural commodities sourced from Asia in the relatively new markets of the region. Juxtaposing the short-lived success of the Indian star Rajnikant in Japan in the late 1990s and attempts to promote Korean films in the Indian theatrical circuits a decade later, the paper argues that in spite of their considerable differences both instances foreground the difficulties cultural industries of the region have in generating revenues in the region’s markets. The paper goes on to elaborate on a model of stardom, exemplified by Rajnikant, which has evolved as a direct response to the challenges posed by low value markets.
Keywords: Rajnikant, Indian cinema, Japan, Korean Wave, culture industries, stardom, externalities.
S.V. Srinivas is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. He has a Ph.D. from University of Hyderabad. His research interests include cultural and creative industries and comparative studies in popular culture. He has published papers on Indian and Hong Kong cinemas and is the author of Megastar (Oxford University Press, 2009). His book on south Indian star politicians, Politics as Performance, is forthcoming in 2013 (Permanent Black).