Kabali Fever: How Fans Are Preparing For Rajinikanth's Film

"Some people might think we are crazy, but they won't understand our love for Thalaivar. If you're not watching the first show of a Rajinikanth-film on release day, you're breaking a tradition," says 43-year old auto driver Annamalai

  | July 18, 2016 15:33 IST (Chennai)

Rajinikanth in a still from the film Kabali.


  • An auto driver in Mumbai plans to give free rides to cine-goers
  • A fan invited Rajinikanth fans to watch the film with him on Facebook
  • A film critic from London is coming to Mumbai to take part in pooja
From flying all the way from London to Mumbai's Aurora theatre to drivers giving free auto rides to those who want to watch Kabali on its release day - Rajinikanth's fans are yet again out to prove why the superstar fandom's is beyond comprehension.
As Kabali gears up for release on Friday, the buzz around the film is palpable. The 65-year old actor's hardcore fans, from different walks of life, are stoked about the first day first show experience.
"Some people might think we are crazy, but they won't understand our love for Thalaivar. If you're not watching the first show of a Rajinikanth-film on release day, you're breaking a tradition," says 43-year old auto driver Annamalai.
On July 22, when Kabali will hit the screens, Annamalai will be watching the earliest show of the film in the city.
"It's usually at Kasi or Albert theatre. For nearly two decades now, I've been watching his films on release day. It has to be the first show in the city," Annamalai told IANS, adding that he will be watching the film with his friends.
Annamalai also plans to give free rides to anyone who wants to watch the movie, which is about a gangster's shot at redemption and how he fights for equal pay rights for Tamils in Malaysia.
"All Rajini fans are like brothers. Our Thalaivar's films bring us together, under one roof, irrespective of our economic or social background. After I'm done watching the first show, I plan to give 20 free rides to those who want to watch the film," he said.
If you thought the craze for Rajinikanth only runs in the working class, then you're wrong.
Meet Naman Ramachandran, author and film critic, who is popular for his book Rajinikanth: The Definitive Biography.
"For the premiere, I'm flying to Mumbai from London and taking part in the early morning pooja and then the procession to the Aurora theatre in Matunga where a bunch of similar diehards will do the 'pal (milk) abhishekam' followed by the first day first show.
"My Kabali T-shirts have already arrived and I'll be wearing one of them on the release day," he said.
Naman, the writer of independent film Brahman Naman, is excited about Kabali mainly because, "This is the first time in a long time that Thalaivar has entrusted a film to a new generation director (Pa. Ranjith). Madras (Ranjith's last Tamil film) was amazing so I have high hopes for Kabali."
For Srinivasan Sankar, a Global Data Officer for an insurance company in the Greater Boston area, Kabali will be another "crowning glory" in Rajinikanth's career.
"I've never missed Thalaivar first day first show as far as I remember from Velaikkaran, Rajadhi Raja and Mappillai days. After I migrated to the US in 1995, it continued with Muthu. There's a nice story here. In the late Nineties, movies won't show up in Boston in the first or second week. So I drove 10 hrs to Washington DC to watch Arunachalam first day first show," said Srinivasan.
In the US, the film will release on July 21.
"I'll watch the 11 am show. That's the first show here in Boston which is also one of the first shows along with Atlanta, New York in the US. Since it's a weekday, we plan to have the first day celebrations later in the evening during the prime-time shows," he said.
Bengaluru-based techie-turned-film critic Uday Senan will be watching Kabali with random strangers he invited via a Facebook post.
"The only common factor between all of us is our love for Rajinikanth. In an open post on Facebook, I've invited genuine Thalaivar fans whom I've never met to join me to watch the film first day first show," said Uday, who will also be reuniting with his schoolmates to watch the film.
"In 2007, a large group of us from school watched Sivaji. Seven of us from that group will be reuniting to watch Kabali. I've applied for leave from work and my boss is upset that I've motivated a few others to take leave too," he added.
Is it worth taking all the effort to watch Rajinikanth's film amid crazy fans on release day?
"His films come once in two years, so it's totally worth it," said Lalith, who works in a managerial position.
"I've already blocked tickets for the first day first show in Chennai. My friends from Mumbai and Hyderabad are coming to watch the film. It's good to be watching Kabali at a place where it's celebrated the way it's supposed to be," he said.
Kabali also stars Radhika Apte.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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