Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rajnikanth to Tiger Singh

Question: What is common between Rajnikanth and Tiger Singh (if you don't know who is Tiger Singh, then keep reading)?

Answer: They both are over-the-top, both share Indian heritage, both dress gaudily but they both share one more thing and that is Japan (if you can call it a thing, although if its a thing then its probably

Mr. Manmohan Singh recently visited Japan and gave a speech in their parliament. In his speech he said, "I am delighted to hear the popularity of Odori Maharaja (The Dancing Maharaja, refering to Rajnikanth) among young people here..." Rajnikanth is indeed a phenomena in Japan. He is to Japan what SRK is to Europe and North America, maybe more because its not the Indians living in Japan who like him but an average Japanese who idolizes him. His most popular movie in Japan is Tamil movie, Muthu, which has attained mythical proportions there. No one knows why Rajnikanth movies do so well there but one reason that I can think is that most Japanese love over-the-top humor and childish antics and Rajnikanth movies offer all of these and more.

This is not just a cartoon but a cartoon of actual scene from a Rajnikanth movie where instead of trying to jump the wall, Rajnikanth throws one of his gun up in the air and then hits the trigger by shooting it with another gun and maybe uses x-ray vision for that precise up-the-villian's-ass nishana.

I remember few years back when I first moved to Canada and was standing with some friends, a Japanese group approached us.

"Hey, are you from India?"
"Yea, we are. Where are you from?"
"Japan. Do you know Rajnicant (that's how they pronounced it)?"
"Yea, but I haven't seen more than couple of his movies"

The expression on his face was as if I had just said the unspeakable. He went away with a biggest disappointment I have seen on a face of a man. This is how popular and loved Rajnicant is in Japan. Although, this doesn't mean that Japanese people don't understand cinema because Rajni's movies always end with a social message and just because North Indians doesn't consider such over-the-top acting "real", doesn't mean that it is not good cinema. After Rajnikanth, the other actor-director to make most impact on Japanese people has been Mr. Guru Dutt, who according to me is the best director produced by India till date.

Now, let's come to the other half of the title, Mr. Tiger Jeet Singh. I recently watched a documentary about this Indo-Canadian sikh wrestler that in the 1970s became a phenomena in Japan. Tiger Jeet Singh is said to be the most feared man in Japan, till date. He was born and trained in the akhadas (or desi-gym) of Punjab before moving to Vancouver. Professional wrestling was not very big in North America back then, so he moved to Japan, which is legendary for its wrestling and where it is more than a sport. His popularity started to rise because he would come to fight in turban and before entering the arena would start hitting the crowds with his sticks. The more he would beat people, the more they would like him. He defeated some of the most famous Japanese wrestlers incl. Antonia Inoki in 1975, which was watched by 60, 000 people.

Tiger Jeet Singh during one of his countless fights on Japanese soil.

He is revered by the people of Japan, mostly for his antics because he ridicules their wrestlers and they love him for doing it. Infact, he is the most recognized Canadian in Japan and has been honored by both Canadian and Japanese Governments for his achievements. Infact, even till this day Japanese tourist flock outside his house in Vancouver to get the glimpse of an Indian that beat them up in their own country.

So, next time you see a Japanese don't be surprised if he/she wants you to dance like Muthu but fight like Tiger.

Here's me signing off. Sionara!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning! Interesting read....can never predict whats coming next at ricky's blog :) looking forward to more of such unusual info.
Its a shame India hasn't recognized and honoured both Rajnikanth and Tiger Singh as much as their host countries...rajnikanth has a considerable following in the south but Tiger Singh?
Thanks Ricky for this post :)

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh WOW Ricky...what an informative post...Never knew Rajnicant was this famous in Japan...I have not seen any of his movies....& ofcourse people are crazy about him in TamLand too...Do you know that he is from Maharashtra...

Thanks for sharing info about Tiger Jeet Singh...din't know about an Indian defeating a Japanese @ Wrestling...

That day is not far when Indians will conquer Canada...sachi ..mujhe toh aisa he lagta hai..

Desis-Jappus Bhai Bhai

Nice post as always!! :)

8:28 PM  
Blogger faith said...

aah!! good post.. and that cartoon is phunny :P

kaha kaha se topic late hai dhoond kar :P

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nahin padhna kuch bhi mujhe... tune kiya bhi toh kaisa kaam kiya...tere se yeh ummid nahin thi..ruk.. saari list ke aage sister lagaati hu...grrrrrrrrr
aur baaki sab kahaan hain?

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

behenon ka bhiyaa...ricky bhaiyaa...

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chote chote behenon ke ricky bhiyaa..
saare jahaan se achha, ricky bhiyaa humaara..
hum sab behene hain uski,
woh pyaara bhiyaa humaara humaara... la la la la la la

12:50 AM  
Blogger Urvi said...

Thtz really informative.. didn't knew tht Rajnikant is so famous in Japan.. and good to know abt Tiger Jeet Singh...

V.Nice post!

1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would love to see mr.Jasjeetsingh in akhaada... kya kehete ho ricky???i really had no idea that rajnikant is so popular in Japan..I knew that Russians adored Raj Kapoor..

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow cool post ricky..did not know all this about tiger singh and rajnicant ;) !

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't know that Rajnikant is so much famous out side India (He is not so much like out of South India) Strange!

Wow, Guru Dutta is also popular in Japan. He is one of my favorite directors.

And honesty, I'm hearing about Tiger Jeet Singh first time.

Nice post as always.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Riddhi said... do you find out these things??
quite quite wonderful!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Taran said...

interesting read!! seem to be doing lot of research on Indo-japanese ties ;)...

merry christmas!!

9:50 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

marlee - Ha ha!! Its a nice compliment for me :D

Yea, but then Tiger Singh is more Canadian than Indian and so it's alright, I guess. I am glad you liked the post.

mehak - I didn't knew that but I knew that he was a bus conductor in BEST buses before becoming a superstar.

Yea, Tiger Singh is almost like a Rock Star in Japan.

LOL!! Thankoooooooo!!

10:52 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

faith - Thanks!! :D

Yea, I laughed like crazy over than cartoon. Bas mil jaatein hain topics kuch na kuch likhne ko ;)

preeti - LOL!! Iska jawaab milega, zaroor milega... :P

urvi - Thanks Urvi. Its my pleasure to share this info.

preeti - Oye, akhade main ladega kaun mere saath, tu?? Tab toh main pakka haar

Yea, Rajnikanth is very famous there, its surprising for sure.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

mehak - Merry Christmas to you too :D

kaush - Thanks!! :D

juneli - Yea it was surprising. Guru Dutt is a legend. Thanks for liking it.

riddhi - I saw the documentary on Tiger on CBC and knew about Rajni.

taran - LOL. Aisa kuch nahin hain bhai ;)

Merry Christmas to you too :)

11:00 PM  

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