The excitement spread like wildfire. On Thursday, ‘Superstar’ Rajnikanth’s euphoric fans were waiting out the last hours before Kabali hit the screens. The actor, and many others, watched the film in the U.S. on Wednesday. At home, no price was too great to see the film on day one.
Chennai At Albert theatre, which Rajnikanth fans prefer for first-day-first-show, chaos prevailed on Thursday. When the theatre opened bookings, fans tried to push open the gates, resulting in a police lathicharge.
Car bonnets were painted over with Kabali stickers, and hair stylists provided special cuts for men that cropped the film’s name or the star’s face into the hairdo.
The ticket rush has been on for a week. Some multiplexes began bookings on Sunday night, and smaller screens opened after them.
Corporates have done bulk bookings of even 200 tickets at Rs. 500 each for employees and their families for Friday and Saturday.
Social media was abuzz after a two-minute clip, reportedly from the introduction scene, appeared on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. Producer Kalaippuli S. Thanu and film personalities tweeted, asking people not to watch the clip and to stand against piracy.
Taxi service Uber offered a promo code, “THALAIVA” to unlock the UberTHALAIVAR” view and get Rs.100 off on a ride to the theatre between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Friday.
Bengaluru Besides the customary cut-outs, for the first time a five-and-half feet tall clay statue of Rajnikanth in the film, in black Italian suit, sunglasses and European watch will greet fans at Nataraj Theatre. “Two statues will be brought in a procession from Magadi, where famous idol makers Shivakumar and Mallikarjuna have worked on them. One will be installed in Urvashi theatre,” said L. Siva, president, Dalapathi Fans’ Association.
Rajnikanth’s alma mater, the Government Kannada Model Primary School in Gavipuram will celebrate its most famous alumnus’ latest with a special screening next week. A plan to screen the film in star hotels has fallen through.
Mumbai To mark the film’s release, a procession is planned from Ram Mandir, near King’s Circle garden, to Aurora Talkies, Matunga’s Tamil neighbourhood cinema. A free eye camp in the theatre by Aditya Jyot Eye hospital, Wadala and a blood donation camp by fans are highlights.
In Kerala Rajnikanth-starrer Kabali is being released in over 300 centres, each with up to six screenings a day, a virtual 24-hour affair. There would be 2,000 screenings a day to begin with. Long queues were seen on Thursday. “I will watch the midnight show on Saturday,” said G. Umasankar, who booked his seat on getting an alert from BookMyShow app, all in red, with the tagline “Naan Vanduttennu Sollu”, five days ago.
Entrepreneurs, employees of start-ups, investors and mentors will assemble in Hi-Tec city and travel to the multiplex in a special Kabali bus, wearing fan t-shirts. There will be songs from Rajni starrers to set the mood.
Ticket slots were fast filling up on the eve of the release.
In Chittoor district, many were delighted as invitations to watch the film were sent by friends in Chennai’s IT sector. Youths in Nagari, Satyavedu, Gangadhara Nellore, Kuppam and Chittoor with a sizeable Tamil population plan to travel for the show. Rajnikanth Fans Association broke coconuts at Alipiri, in the Tirumala foothills, for the film’s success.
In Muscat, there was a long queue for tickets, while in London, Google listed seven cinemas for the film.
Sishir, from Chennai and now in Nigeria, has been an ardent fan of ‘Thalaivar’ all his life. “I have been in Lagos for two years. All Tamilians and Rajini fans wanted to watch this movie, and we have been planning for 3 months. It’s a great feeling to watch a Thalaivar movie in Nigeria,” he said. The film released in Lagos and in Abuja, where his fans from northern Nigeria would be able to watch, thanks to the Tamil Sangam. “Really excited, can’t wait till Sunday,” he said.