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Hong Kong Action Film
at the Frontiers of Cinema
CSCS - Centre for the Study of Culture and Society

Fans
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Pratap of the Teja 'Group Theatres' complex, Tirupathi, where Deviputrudu (Kodi Pamakrishna, 2001) is playing. Cloth banners not only promote the star Venkatesh but also announce the names of the fans who sponsored them.

Velram's theatre, Tirupathi, shows the year’s biggest hit Narasimhanaidu (B. Gopal, 2001). All cloth banners are the work of fans.

Raj-Yuvaraj complex, Vijayawada (2001). The goddess is invoked to mark the festival season during which Mahesh Babu’s Vamsy is released.

Gandhinagar, Vijayawada (2001). The relatively unusual sight of promotion of a female star (here Meena, who starred in the devotional film Devata)

A publication titled Jubilee Star is brought out on the occasion of a relatively minor Telugu star, Srikanth's birthday.


Everybody knows the star. A school child writes to Chiranjeevi. A significant proportion of fan mail reaches stars in spite of incomplete or wrong addresses.

Over the years, Chiranjeevi fans’ associations have begun calling themselves social service organizations. This is, at least in part, due to the star’s own insistence that stars focus their energies on doing social service.


Most fans associations call themselves Town/ City/ State/ Nation-wide organizations. A majority of associations are highly localized. It is not unusual to find All India associations promoting the star in a medium sized town. Jagapathi Babu, whose card can be seen above, is a relatively minor star. Fans associations are an exclusively male domain. Here is an exception that proves the rule: Parachuri Vijayalakshmi established an association dedicated to the promotion of the female star Vijayashanthi. Within a few years she wound up the association. At the present, organized female fans make an appearance only in hearsay.

The official Vijayashanthi fan club, which focusses on the political promotion of the star who is an important campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).


Swarna complex, Viyawada (2003).
NTR Junior’s fans invoke the star’s grandfather to promote his father Hari Krishna’s latest film.
Expensive advertisements are increasingly becoming the hallmark of fans with access to resources. Greeting Balakrishna on his 44th birthday, this advertisement invokes the blessings of ‘our god’ N.T. Rama Rao, who is the star’s father. (Superhit, 27th June 2003) Fan promotion of the star routinely foregrounds the fans themselves. Here is an advertisement by Balakrishna fans, with picture of all the sponsors. (Superhit, 27th June, 2003)

N.T. Rama Rao (twirling his mustache), Balakrishna and Balakrishna’s son. Past, present and future stars. The NTR family currently has five stars in the film industry. (Superhit, 27th June 2003)