Accepted Paper:

Title: 'Bollywood makes you happy': visual and other pleasures among European fans  


Elke Mader (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is based on both online and offline exploration of embodied emotions and emotional networks among Indian cinema fans in Europe. I investigate how happiness evoked by one particular film star, Shah Rukh Khan, is expressed and lived as an intersubjective experience.

Paper long abstract:

'Bolywood makes you happy' has been the slogan for marketing popular Indian cinema in Germany and Austria for several years. It has also been articulated by the fast growing audiences in other European countries. Extensive fan networks have formed particularly around the Hindi cinema megastar Shah Rukh Khan. I explore how fans experience, express, communicate and circulate happiness in relationship with Shah Rukh Khan. Drawing on film theory I analyse the relationships between fans and film star as experiences of visual sentimental pleasure. Some of these experiences could also be seen as an exercise of diverse forms of agency and communicative practices. For example, fans met the star at the Berlinale 2008 and through the encounter, they experienced and expressed lasting feelings of joy and happiness. These feelings thrive in internet forums in fans' narratives and visual fan art. More than 400 thank you notes to Shah Rukh Khan for his presence in Berlin wrapped in little stars represent and communicate the love, joy and happiness felt by members of a fan forum through him.

Panel W109
Happiness: anthropological engagements