Following the Endorser's Shadow: Shah Rukh Khan and the Creation of the Cosmopolitan Indian Male
Abstract

Abstract:

Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) is ubiquitous in the Indian public sphere. At last count, he was endorsing more than 25 brands, from computers and cars to vegetable oil, facial creams, noodles, and cream biscuits. However, this ubiquity, rather than hurting SRK's image, helps to make him the quintessential pan-Indian male. Because he is everywhere, for everyone, endorsing every role and every brand, SRK progressively comes to stand for the desires and aspirations of the whole Indian nation. He becomes one of the few symbols that can represent the idea of India in the minds of audiences. Because India is an extremely heterogeneous nation—divided along the lines of language, race, regional communities, religion, class, and caste—pan-Indian symbols such as SRK are especially valuable to the marketing community. This article explores the construction of SRK as a master Indian symbol and more generally, the use of celebrity endorsements in the construction of a national imaginary.