'Dancing Maharaja' Rajnikant is a rage in Japan
in Japan it is Tamil superstar Rajnikant, popularly known as "Odori Maharaja" (The Dancing Maharaja) who has mesmerised the Japanese with his machismo and flamboyance.india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 14:23 IST
Bollywood magic man Shahrukh Khan may be the best known Indian film icon in Europe, but in Japan it is Tamil superstar Rajnikant, popularly known as "Odori Maharaja" (The Dancing Maharaja) who has mesmerised the Japanese with his machismo and flamboyance.
"I am delighted to hear the popularity of Odori Maharaja among young people here. Our children were delighted to see Odori Asimo - the dancing robot!" Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his historic address to a joint session of the Diet, the Japanese parliament, Thursday.
The moment he said that magic word "Odori Maharaja", Japanese parliamentarians let go of their fabled restraint and fastidiousness, and burst into a deafening applause.
Rajnikant exploded into Japanese consciousness when his popular film "Muthu" ran to packed houses in some theatres here a few years ago.
More applause followed when Manmohan Singh told his Japanese audience about the burgeoning popularity of Japanese cuisine in India. "I assure you that sushi and tempura are becoming popular in India!" he said.
The number of Indian restaurants in Japan has increased phenomenally, Manmohan Singh remarked proudly, underlining the new cultural camaraderie between India and Japan and the need for increasing people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
By mentioning Odori Maharaja in his speech on the importance of India-Japan relations in a new Asian century, Manmohan Singh underlined the importance of cultural diplomacy in bringing the peoples of two countries together.
The Indian Council of Cultural Relations, India's premier organ of cultural diplomacy, and The Japan Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday to improve cultural exchanges between the two countries.