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Japanese Corner

Rajni is brand ambassador for products sold in Japan

Wednesday August 17 2005 00:00 IST

CHENNAI: Tamil superstar Rajnikanth’s legendary fame is getting global. Today, he can count even the Japanese among his fans so much so that he has become the brand ambassador for various products sold there.

A company selling snacks has photos of Rajnikanth and Meena on the wrappers of their packages, to lure customers. Tohato Company Ltd has a still from the Rajnikanth hit ‘Muthu’ on the wrappers of their ‘garam masala snack’ packet. Small crispy chips flavoured with garam masala are a big hit in Japan, says Yoshie Kawahara, who was in Chennai recently.

Products with Rajni’s photographs on their wrappers were launched a few months ago. Explains Subramaniyan, who runs a South Indian restaurant in Japan, ‘‘The summer has begun and generally people like ‘curry’ products at this time of the year. This season, the company wanted to come out with an Indian product so they brought out this ‘garam masala’ snack.’’

For the public to relate to a product from India, the company thought of putting a still from the Rajni-Meena starrer ‘Muthu’ on the wrapper. This was done after an extensive survey was conducted among Rajni fans to get to know their taste and then design the wrapper accordingly. Say some of the fans surveyed, ‘‘We all suggested certain changes in the taste and said Rajni would be the right choice for the wrapper.’’

The product is selling like the proverbial hot cakes in Japan only because of the attractive wrapper, says Erki Yasuda who was in India recently. But of course the taste also helps, she adds. So great is the cult following that Rajni fans actually preserve these wrappers.‘‘The fans even frame the wrappers as they have Rajni photographs on them,’’ said Subramaniyan.

Rajnikanth stole the hearts of thousands of Japanese youth with his film ‘Muthu’. Following that the the star gained a huge fan following with some of them even making trips to Chennai to watch his films. Now with Tohato’s snack making waves in Japan, Subramaniyan is also planning to come out with a ‘desi’ crab soup with a Rajni still on the wrapper. He says,‘‘The response of the Japanese to the Indian product and the Indian star is great so that this winter I am planning to launch this soup.’’ Apart from this T-shirts, bracelets and rings with Rajni photographs are a big hit in Japan.

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