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India: Rajnikanth Movie Mania, Bollywood and Web Analytics

Categories: South Asia, India, Arts & Culture, Film

It is movie mania week and it is not from Bollywood but from Kollywood [1] or the Tamil film industry. Rajnikanth's [2] (or Rajni) Sivaji: The Boss [3] is slated for release tomorrow (Friday, June 15, 2007) and the hype surrounding the movie has reached fever pitch level among his fans. Rajni is the highest paid actor in India, and has a huge fan following in Japan. Yes, that's right in Japan where he was the topic of discussion between the Indian Prime Minister and the Japanese Prime Minister's meeting a few months ago in Tokyo. Such is the power of Rajni's stardom. Onion Dosa [4] has a post with lots of pictures about Rajni mania in Japan.

Sivaji; The Boss is the most expensive film produced in India. Before we look at the movie and the reaction from fans, here are some interesting facts about the movie from Techowaves [5]:

1. Director Shankar used 2500 junior artists for the introduction scene of Rajnikant.
2. A huge set of glass house was built to shoot Sahana song.
3. 4K DI (Digital Intermediate) digital camera is used for the first time in India for this film.

The official countdown for the release of Sivaji began earlier this week and Kirukkal [6] (Scribblings) writes:

6 days until Sivaji release and if you are living in the US grab your tickets at IndiaGlitz! Here are some exclusive Sivaji pictures!

From those exclusive pictures let us cut to the folks that are eager to watch the movie. Fans stood in long lines days before the movie's release to buy tickets for that coveted first show. Digression: In India you can generally buy your tickets in advance before the movie is officially released and for many people it is quite a big deal to see the movie on the first day.

Rising Tide [7] writes:

I wondered had people gone crazy. What in the name of God these people are standing in a queue at 7 in the morning. Well, I got this snap (picture). This snap tells all the story.. One thing is clear, people in India are really crazy for stars like Rajnikanth. Second highest paid Asian star.

And what is the price of a ticket for the first show on the first day? Randomly [8] writes:

First Day First Show is Rs.1200/-…. Curse my Bank balance.
I am in for Second day First show – Rs.500/-
As excited as a electron in its excited state. The Rajini Photon !!

Not everybody is a Rajni fan, and Ghost Particle writes in And The World Stops for Sivaji [9] if you don't like him join the crowd and write about it. He also explains why the next few weeks might be traumatic for him.

Okay, first of all I'm not a big fan of RajniKanth. And the reason would be because I hate his fans. And here lies the dillema. The fans are 99% of all Tamil makkals. So it's like me going against the whole of the clan. But hey, I'm da ghost, so I'll do what I want. And I made it a point to tell my housemate (who is a brainless idiot who prays to Rajni) that I'm going to download and sell pirated copies of Sivaji on the day of its release. But hey, who am I kidding. One more day and the Rajni fever is slowly creeping up…yeh…its creepy. You have to be a Tamil movie fan to understand the force of the movies, even Yoda can't explain this one. Very strong, the force is, of movies. Its going to be a traumatic few weeks for me. I just hope they don't stick posters on me.

Given all this hype, will Rajni work his magic and make this movie a runaway success? Shyam K of Gajabuja Funda [10] writes otherwise:

Since the entire media world is abuzz with Sivaji news, I think it is time to make a prediction. The movie, by Rajini's standards, will be a flop. Which means, it will make a profit of 30 or so crores. If you rewind back in time, Baba was a flop, as it made a profit of just 20 crores.

From India we shift to the influence of Hindi films or Bollywood at the international level. In case you did not already know this Bollywood is hugely popular in Africa, where Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha are well-known icons. Andrew Leonard of Salon writes in this post [11]:

The popularity of Bollywood movies outside India is usually, at least initially, an outgrowth of homesick Indian expatriate communities. But in West Africa, without any significant help from Indian audiences, Bollywood flicks developed a large African following as early as the 1950s.

You can actually find Bollywood fans among the cab drivers of New York. A few weeks ago I chatted with a cab driver from Burkina Faso in West Africa about Bollywood films. You might be surprised to discover how popular Bollywood movies are in Burkina Faso. And get this there is a India Day celebration in Burkina Faso!

From movies we switch to measuring web analytics and traffic in India and China. Given all that content is created in the virtual world one of the challenging issues for folks in India and China is how to measure the web traffic? There are cultural underpinnings on how content is consumed and how that skews web traffic measurement. Measuring web traffic in India and China is a little different and sometimes challenging. Jeremiah Owyang [12], a well-known web strategist is looking for input on this topic.