India

A Tamil superstar, methane and graffiti: Three things gripping South India

The news this week was dominated by the rape of a woman in an Uber taxi - every facet of the story was discussed on social media. But there were other issues that gripped the Indian public this week. Several of these stories came from the south of the country. BBC Tamil's Jagadheesan Leklapoodi takes a look.


Rajnikanth mania

Image copyright AFP

This week has seen Tamil audiences in a frenzy over superstar actor Rajnikanth's new film Lingaa, released the day he turned 64.

Even Vodafone India tweeted: "It's International cake-eating day. Why? Cos it's Rajinikanth's Birthday! Let's celebrate by listening to his playlist"

But it was not a week without controversy. A young film critic, known as Arun, in Tamil Nadu, says his Facebook account was blocked after the company received thousands of complaints when he criticised Rajnikanth. Facebook did not respond to a request for a comment from BBC Tamil but Arun says they told him about the complaints and said that his name on Facebook - Arun Tamilstudio - represents a company rather than an individual.

He now has a Facebook page rather than a personal account, but says the incident was an indication of the ability of Rajnikanth fans to silence the critics.


#StopMethaneExplorationInKaveriDelta

Amid the furore over the rape and then the ban on Uber, a rather curious unexpected trend emerged. That was that the opposition to the project to extract methane gas in the Cauvery Delta in southern India was getting a lot of traction.

This is an old dispute. Yet it found its way onto Twitter, presumably because of concerted campaigning activity. There have been more than 50,000 straight tweets using the above hashtag.

It's all about a project which aims to extract the gas using hydraulic fracturing in the Cauvery river basin in Tamil Nadu and is opposed by activists, farmers and environmentalists. The operation never got under way and was suspended by the government.

The Cauvery river originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu. There is also a long-standing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over sharing its waters, dating back to the early part of the 20th Century.


Guess who? Graffiti artists in Kochi

An artist has been drawing on the walls and streets of Kochi (Cochin). An astronaut in a sari, Colonel Saunders serving up Indian food - it's western icons with a traditional Indian twist and unconventional representations of women - and it has got people talking.

Calling itself Guess Who - the artist or artists - became active just as the biennale kicked off. On reddit, there has been a detailed discussion about the iconography of this street art. The BBC has also spoken to the artist involved.

Image copyright Guess Who