Academic journal article Framework

Fan and Its Paratexts

Academic journal article Framework

Fan and Its Paratexts

Article excerpt

Introduction

This essay examines the role of paratexts and their relationship with film, specifically, and cinema, more generally. My point of entry into this discussion is Fan (Maneesh Sharma, IN, 2016), a big-budget, Yash Raj Films (YRF) production whose promotion and publicity matched and, at times, rivaled its unconventional narrative. My investigation of these paratexts seeks to expand our understanding of stardom, fandom, authorship, as well as Bombay cinema's industrial practices. I begin this task by offering my sample chronology ofFan 's paratexts that shows film is no longer the primary or privileged text via which a fan can interact with and track her favorite star. As with many blockbusters productions, film simply appears to be a source text, a hook to spin out other (para)texts. This account enables me to point to an industrial shift, namely, the proliferation of paratexts and the centrality of the Internet as a venue for circulating these paratexts. The portability of these paratexts enables their "spreadability."1 I show that as YRF adopts "spreadability" as an industrial strategy, there is a palpable shift in authorship. In this scenario, fans and viewers are not only addressed as consumers. Rather, they are invited to become collaborators, distributors, and in some cases, producers of (para)texts. Many (para)texts generated by YRF, such as trailers, dialogue promos, teasers, the making of videos, and interviews with cast and crew, would be familiar to global audiences. My analysis focuses on two innovative (para)texts which are specific to Fan, namely, five short videos focusing on fandom, Tu Nahi Samjehga/You Won't Understand, and eleven multilingual iterations of the song-sequence "Jabra." I show how the videos articulate a culturally specific mode of fandom by developing an argument on two looking practices, darsan (devotional looking) and nazar (excessive, harmful looking). In a related vein, I discuss how both para(texts) become captivating sites for reading the star image, and star-fan relationship.

An Account of Fan's Promotion and Publicity

What I recount below is my experience of Fan 's promotion and publicity as opposed to a master narrative about how these events unfolded; I accessed all the paratexts mentioned, and others that I have not listed, via the Internet.2 As a Shah Rukh Khan fan, I devotedly followed a number of paratexts which began circulating three years prior to Fan 's (2016) release-the announcement ofthe film by YRF in 2013, the ensuing gossip about who would be the heroine opposite Khan in this project, potential delays on the project, information about the famous Hollywood make-up artist hired to re-do Khan's face, one or two secret photos released of Khan's look in the film, to name some. The full-on publicity for Fan began on July 8, 2015, nine months prior to its release; painted messages-"love you SRK," "c u on 15th"-signed by "Gaurav" appeared outside Khan's house. Initially, the messages were read as graffiti written by an overly besotted fan; later, it was revealed to be the work of YRF. This publicity stunt on July 8, 2015, was followed by a 63-second teaser, which highlighted Khan's global stardom and his fans' excessive, emotional responses. These early paratexts not only illustrate that this publicity was directed at fans but signal an expansion of fans' roles, going beyond being mere consumers of star images.

On July 29, 2015, YRF in collaboration with Yep, a fashion company, launched #iamfan contest. The contest announcement declared that Khan was looking for his "100 biggest fans" and invited contestants to submit their declarations oflove. The potential rewards offan participation included becoming immortalized in the film's logo, meeting Khan, and later, being featured in the Shah Rukh Khan trivia videos. The economics of this deliberate blurring of fan and industry authorship is worth noting. Fans might earn recognition and could meet with their favorite star; however, unlike Khan, they would not be compensated financially for their declarations nor the use of their photographs in the film's logo and in the trivia videos. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.