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.
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