Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stardom from a Freudian Perspective

Happy Birthday Rajinikanth!

Okay, now this is no fan rant or celebrity mania writing. It simply happens to be the topic of today's episode of 'Neeya Naana', the popular focal group/ debate show of Vijay TV that seems to doing really great among our makkal. For one thing, its host Gopinath is quite awesome. I really mean, awesome! Yeah, that was a fan rant.

Secondly, it is always interesting to hear a diverse platter of viewpoints from the 'common man' - though I am not really sure how representative or 'common' the crowd is. And well, you know certain types - give them a mike, tell them they are on TV and it is enough to switch their brains onto hyper-activation mode, spewing out opinion after opinion incessantly.

Yet, these apparently should be minor glitches since no one really seems to be complaining, at least in my family where the idiot box gets its share of uninterrupted attention every weekend for two hours.

Most of their topics are pretty good - they have a psychological slant to them. The rest simply make me wonder if the resource person was drunk while coming up with ideas; like the time when the production team found it really important to discuss 'Which area of the city has the best sense of dressing?'. Gosh, really?? I never knew a city had markedly diverse regions of uniform dressing styles. Even if it did, which could be the best? - the richest pockets of course. So much for a discussion!

Okay, coming back to today's episode - the host gets some thirty men and thirty women to sit on either side of the hall. The point? A free brainstorm analysis on the reasons why the two sexes like Rajinikant. Alright, I do agree the man is an established actor who has a huge fan following and its his happy birthday and all that but having a two hour discussion with aunties and uncles on what they like in him?? Geez. Why don't these people just go back home, take their kids or parents out for dinner and recount to them all the reasons they adore them for - at least more members of the population will go to bed happier that night.

Okay, I am not even getting into that line of argument and I will just resign with saying I have no further comments about this; because the next thing I know, someone writes in asking what is wrong with that topic and I reply asking if it really matters and I am asked what then matters at all in life and for that, I have no answer. Moreover, that is not what the crux of this post is about. 

Host: So why do you feel attracted to Rajini Sir?
Woman 1: He is of course a good actor, but more than that he is very devotional. I like him for that.
Woman 2: His hairstyles. I have a son and I know how difficult it is to choose good styles.
Man : I love the way he walks.

And I thought, "Did these people really make these conscious decisions to evaluate and subsequently like the star?"

Take the time to think of any celebrity you like a lot. When was the very first time you heard about him/her? Was it some friend giving a positive review? Was it in a road-side poster/ magazine? On the radio? What was the first impression - did it stay or radically change?

Many years back, I was adamant at getting my friend answer the question why she liked me. My Cancerian moodiness must have been at some vague high. "Give me three reasons why you like me so much", I demanded and when she took time to answer, I lost it. I had probably expected an immediate 15-minute extempore of uncountable reasons. It appalled me when things turned out otherwise.

It was a stupid exercise. Attraction and liking are hugely unconscious emotional responses. Or as we can more technically state it, "based on automatic processes and physiological responses". In one particular experiment, it was found that people purchased one set of products when one type of music was played in the super-market and another when a different one was played. So yeah, it is that unconscious and automatic!

 My point being, more often than not we don't consciously weigh the pros and logic of becoming a fan - be it of a product, person or music. It just happens! Rajinikanth - think of the man. It is impossible to ever think of him from an objective perspective. You might like him or hate him or even be indifferent to him. Yet, you know him and that knowledge will always be heavily tainted by the impressions of his stardom. We can never see him as a normal man.

Even if a martian who has never heard of the star has read this post, his perception is already tainted and it is highly difficult to escape from that.

And for all those busy people contemplating on why they have it for the star, it is high time they give up and realize that, they just like him. That is it. These processes cannot be dissected or questioned.


Anonymous said...

Amen. :)


Arumugam said...

Ha ha ..quite interesting!

I have asked this question myself.I am a well educated,upper middle class,urbanite whose eclectic tastes in film range from Akira Kurosawa to Lars von trier, and yet I plonk down in front of the TV for the next 3 hours of my life during any Rajini film re-run:-)

I had read a book by Howard Suber,who teaches film at UCLA,about the psychological processes we indulge in while viewing cinema and how we come
to associate stars with larger than life images. It says,the primary reason is that films re affirm our faith in life,in a creator,in fair justice,in
love,in sweet revenge ...things that are so often frustrated in real life which contributes
to the making of such stars..

I also think,Rajini is one of those actors who has acted in so many versatile roles that all sections of society can identify with him,be it a milk man or an auto man or an engineer even:-)

PS:And I was quite surprised about the spell check warning on Rajini.I thought it was part of the lexicon by now:-)

Sinduja said...

@V: Hmmmm

@Arumugam: You should start a blog, you know.

CHIBI said...

Wow.. it's crazy to see what channels do these days for TRP.. if Rajni would have watched this episode, he would have had a *facepalm* expression.

I agree, liking something or someone is highly unconscious and automatic... Its hard to answer why or how you got to like something/someone... i am a spontaneous buyer, i like something the first instance, i buy it.. and i have no idea why i liked it.. but i like it.

if i had to say something abt Rajni here as it's the theme here.. I am a ardent fan of his, since before my birth as i was born (my mom watched lots of his movies during my pregnancy,even just before she was admitted to hospital :D)

Sinduja said...

@Arumugam: I agree. There is something absolutely special about his films...about his persona. Some kind of casual magic.

By the way, Akira who? God, there is so much I need to learn about films that sometimes I cringe to think people like me write reviews. Yet, somehow the experience seems incomplete without it. As for Howard's words, totally bang on.

The dictionary line should go into the great book of Rajini jokes. Or wait, perhaps it is already there! :)

@Chibi: Facepalm expression? Lol. As for the birth story, I am not surprised. You do give some 'punch dialogues' at times ;)

Sethu said...

kanna ... Adhigama aasa padra ambalaiyum.. adhigama kova padra pombalaiyum.. nalla vazhdhadha sarithirame illa ... ehaha

Besides being an ardent fan of Rajni since childhood, I have to accept that this is a stupid topic. If they want to bring Rajini into the picture for increasing their TRP rating, they could have done it better. I thought neeya naana was a debate show , where two sets of varied opinionated ppl try to make a claim. But I dont see why a topic mutually agreed by both teams are put forth. Guess they cannot come with better topic involving the superstar.

Usually, a new born star will try to get some attention from media to get famous, they run behind television ppl for interviews. These media ppl try to interview huge stars (Once small stars) for more commercial aspects. This will go on as a vicious circle. But the one actor who has stayed away from this loop is Rajini. He doesnt give many interviews and he also doesnt promote bubble gums and tube lights. The one ad like video ive seen involving rajini is creating an awareness about eye donation. It has always been one sided and only the media ppl are behind him. The kind of reach he has his tremendous. I love his energy, style and screen presence. Very hard to find another actor of the same standard.

தலைவா இனிய பிறந்தநாள் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள் !!

Sinduja said...

@Sethu: :)Rajini needn't give interviews to promote himself. He knows that. In fact I don't see many actors of his times giving interviews or doing shows. After a certain point in career, it is a matter of power to even give easy access to TV I guess. Of course, the North is an exception.

That said, yes, he is quite something! :)

Sethu said...

The badshah of bollywood SRK spends almost equally on his promotions. Its not just him, any movie released in North has to be promoted. It has become a habit these days. And the trend is catching on to southern industries. Wait n watch. It is due to the pressure from producers.

But forever superstar will be an exception. !! But even the great superstar was used for promoting endhiran (Not exactly for promoting but for earning some extra bucks using SUN TV .... marketing expertise of Kalanidhi).

Between life's doings said...

Hey Sinduja! If i am at my grammas I am tied down in front of the TV(since i have nothing much else to do there) and end up watching Neeya Naana and every other thing on sun tv. I agree with you on some of the drunken topics they pick. I remember one of the topics I cringingly saw was something to do with: what do you call your spouse at home and the answers ranged from kutti kanna to rajati and what not! I wanted to bolt! I agree about rajini. I totally adore him unconditionally! :-) love you writing. Thanks for putting me up on your blogroll.

Sinduja said...

@Aarathi: What we call our spouse? Lol. The clothing thing seems better! :) Thanks for coming here. I love your blog... deep semsible place to connect with.

Sinduja said...