Murugan and Rajinikanth 6

“The borders are blurring through art!” – A. R. Rahman retweeted, who as appears Rajinikanth (Chitti) from Enthiran in a new music video titled ‘Action’ using what he calls ‘deep fake technology.’ Other films reprised in this music video are Singham, Maryada Ramanna, Aambala and Kopps.

I have, in my Koboi Project (2013 -present), been using the image of Rajinikanth as a signifier for just this kind of cross-boundary cultural communion. Please see –

Kedualan Si Koboi (Anamalai)
Cowboys and Indians (Kabali)
Kiasu Cowboys (Anamalai / Kabali)
Anugraham (Kabali)
Momotaro San (Muthu/ Kabali/ Kaala)

Muthu: Odoru Maharaja


While our Thalaiva launches his new political image in preparation for the next Tamil Nadu state elections, it is interesting to remember his earlier appearance on a spicy garam masala snack package marketed in Japan by the Tohato company. The film Muthu (1995), or Muthu: Odoru Maharaja (Muthu: Dancing Maharajah) as it was titled for its 1998 Japanese release, starred Rajinikanth and Meena, and was a surprise box-office success. The SUPERSTAR’s following in Japan has grown to become a large and uniquely Japanese fan base. While Rajinikanth’s oeuvre is deeply rooted in an uncompromisingly rustic Tamil idiom, Muthu, somehow, became a trans-cultural phenomena, crossing from a Tamil  vernacular into the Japanese one.