ibnlive » India

Dec 14, 2006 at 09:40pm IST

How Rajnikanth unites India, Japan

Tokyo: He has a fanatical following in India, is revered by many as nothing short of God himself and all his movies run into packed houses. But that’s not fame enough for Tamil superstar Rajnikanth.

The actor, who celebrated his 57th birthday on December 12, is also a sensation in faraway Japan as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh found out himself.

Rajni’s blockbuster Odoru Maharaj (The Dancing Maharaja) found a special mention in the context of strengthening of Indo-Japan ties as Manmohan Singh addressed Japanese law on Thursday.

SUSHI, RAJNI FIND MENTION: Manmohan Singh spoke about the cultural aspects of Indo-Japan ties.

Manmohan Singh – who is on a four-day visit to the country - referred to the 1995 movie in his address to the joint session of Diet (Japan's Parliament) and said he was delighted to hear about its popularity among the young Japanese.

He, however, added that Japan's own 'Odori Asimo' (the dancing robot) was also impressing children in India, a remark that received much applause from the Japanese Parliamentarians.

The role of food in promoting the relations between the two countries also found a mention in PM’s speech. "I believe the number of Indian restaurants in Japan has increased phenomenally. I assure you that sushi and tempura are becoming popular in India," he said.

Manmohan Singh also spoke about the common civilisational heritage the two countries shared and Buddhism being the "oldest bond".

In modern times, he said Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin had built new bridges of understanding between the two great Asian nations.

"The idea of new partnership between Japan and India has found its moment today. I come here to give concrete shape to the idea so that the future generations of our countries will be able to thank us for the part we are trying to play in making the 21 st century an Asian century," he said.

<table width="248" border="0" cellspacing="2" cellpadding="2"> <tr> <td><img src="/pix/sitepix/12_2006/japan1.jpg" width="248" height="178" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="Btext11">A NEW LIGHT: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie look on as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lights a traditional lamp to launch the India-Japan Friendship Year 2007 at a Tokyo hotel. <i>(Photos: AP)</i></td> </tr> </table> <table width="248" border="0" cellspacing="2" cellpadding="2"> <tr> <td><img src="/pix/sitepix/12_2006/japan2.jpg" width="248" height="178" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="Btext11">NAMASTE INDIA: Manmohan Singh and his wife Kaur greet parliamentarians after Singh's address to the lower house of Diet in Tokyo.</td> </tr> </table> <table width="248" border="0" cellspacing="2" cellpadding="2"> <tr> <td><img src="/pix/sitepix/12_2006/japan4.jpg" width="248" height="178" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="Btext11">FLAG FLIES HIGH: Manmohan Singh and Shinzo Abe respond to flag-waving children wellwishers during a welcoming ceremony.</td> </tr> </table>