Keling Maya: Post-traditional Media, Malaysian Cyberspace and Me, presented at the Aliran Semasa Symposium, 2013, at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.
Please Note: In this video the Japanese term ‘Dochakuka‘ is mispronounced ‘Dochakaku.’
“In the late 1990’s, as our children were growing up in Kuching, Sarawak, far from a Tamil milieu, I was always looking for ways to expose them to the sounds and images of Tamil culture. I found at the local night-market a copy of the 1995 film release, Muthu, starring Rajinikanth. I bought it for them and, to my delight, they loved it. What’s more, I found that I loved it too. Shortly afterwards, on a visit to Tokyo, I was surprised by a large billboard image of Rajinikanth in the Shibuya district. Somehow, Muthu had become a box-office sensation in Japan! Something ineffable in this icon from the notably colloquial Tamil cinema, had enabled the film to achieve its unlikely crossover success in the equally idiosyncratic Japanese film world or nihon eiga kai. I recognized, in this anomalous crossover, the antithesis of the homogenization that was taking hold in the global arenas of contemporary art. “
For Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition, at Courtyard Hiroo on 11th May 2018 at 7pm, I am proud to announce that visionary film critic and promoterFumio Furuya (a.k.a Jun Edoki), President of Eden Entertainment Inc., has accepted my invitation to attend the performance as an honoured guest. In 1998, Jun Edoki had the audacity to bring the film ‘Muthu Oduru Maharaja‘ (Muthu Dancing Maharaja) to the Tokyo audience. According Naman Ramachandran in his biography of Rajinikanth, Edoki found the movie in Singapore and took a copy back with him to Japan. He watched it with his wife and, Ramachandran quotes Edoki saying, ” It was absolutely fascinating – even without subtitles … We became addicted to the point that we had to see at least part of the movie at least once a day”.
With absolute faith, Edoki took the movie around to distributors in Japan until Xanadeux released the film in 1998. I myself was amazed, upon a visit to Tokyo in 1998, to find the image of Thalaiva beaming over the streets of the city. That encounter on the streets of Tokyo in 1998 set into motion the ideas and approaches that inform the Koboi Project. Under the prevailing international marketing practice, global products are deliberately differentiated to address specific markets (what Roland Robertson called dochakuka after the Japanese term dochaku)… Muthu in Japan was a media product that ‘crossed over’ without any such a priori considerations … it made a heart-to-heart connection to become a massive box-office success sans dochakuka.