Ah, you tame Americans, with your talk about "idols" and "hero worship." Until you know something of the frenzy around Indian movie star Rajinikanth, you ain't seen nothin'.
Stories abound about the action hero, who has just turned out his first film in two years. But few western news media have captured the fevered fervor like the Washington PostAnd it does so right from the start, with the headline: "India’s biggest action-movie star isn’t just an actor. ‘He is god.’ "
The religion ghosts are dancing right out in the open, in this report. Why didn't the Post team ask specific questions about that? We will return to that subject.
Meanwhile, one fan speaks of an "unmatchable energy" in a theater during a showing. Another compares viewing a Rajinikanth film with seeing his wife's baby for the first time. And in India, some companies are treating the release of one of his films like a religious holiday:
In Chennai, some companies gave employees the day off Friday so they could go see "Kabali," Rajinikanth’s first film in two years. Others had booked entire cinemas for their staff. Air Asia flew 180 fans to the city for the first-day showing in a plane custom-painted with the star’s likeness. One county was giving away free tickets to people who pledged to install an indoor toilet, taking advantage of the movie’s popularity to address the issue of widespread public defecation.
"Rajinikanth is not a human being. He is not an actor. He is [a] god," said S. Thanu, the producer of "Kabali."
And no, the producer isn’t the only one who talks like that.