How to Use Shock and Awe to Create a Viral Video

First there was Paris Hilton. Then Kim Kardashian. Then…Little Superstar, with 16mm views – the most popular viral video to come out of India. Today is my last day here and I’m pretty sad to be leaving. Although tomorrow night I’m DEFINITELY going to be eating as much sushi and meat as I can get my hands on. And I’m going to drink water from the faucet and maybe even take a bath.

Some of the trip has been fairly intense. Overall, India is a completely different world than the US. So I had to ask the question, how did a video like Little Superstar get viral? And can the success be repeated? (see below the related posts).


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“Little Superstar” is a primal viral video. I say “primal” because it almost seems like the younger brother of what was probably the first viral video on the Internet: the “Dancing Baby”:

First off, here is Little Superstar:

What makes this video interesting enough to spread like wildfire is the shock and awe characteristics:


  1. Is that a child or an adult or some kind of animation?
  2. Does a professionally made movie really have a child smoking a cigarette?


– the dancing is kind of cool.

The actor, Thavakalai, from Chennai (otherwise known as Kollywood) was in many movies but its this clip that became a world-of-mouth sensation (16 years after the fact, since the original movie, Adhisaya Piravi, came out in 1990) .

As an example, this clip of Little Superstar:

only became popular after the first clip had reached its first 10,000,000 views.

Like any good viral video, the original inspired some spoofs like this Ron Jeremy version:

And I kind of like this spoof of Little Superstar all grown up:

There are many decent videos of people dancing on YouTube. Obviously what sets this apart is the question: is this a child or an adult. The answer is he’s an adult suffering from dwarfism. But it’s the fact that he might be a child who moves and acts like an adult that creates enough shock value for us to send this around in an email to our friends saying, “you have to see this”. Much like the original “what the hell is that baby doing?” video, the “Dancing Baby”. This was popular, pre-YouTube in 1996 when it was released in conjunction with an AutoDesk product that was used to make presentations. Here’s the YouTube clip of the Dancing Baby

And finally, the original Little Superstar clip, despite being popular in 2006, actually comes from 1990. So what is Little Superstar up to now?

Recently he choreographed this Doritos commercial:

And to see what Little Superstar looks like now, here’s a Behind the Scenes of that commercial:

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