Robot opens to full house at 4am

N Venkateswaran & Bharati Dubey | TNN

Chennai/Mumbai: Why would someone go to a theatre at 5am to watch a Rajinikanth movie? Because tickets were not available for the 4am show. Chennai shut shop early on Thursday over worries on which way the Ayodhya verdict would go, but now it seems it was only to queue up before daybreak for the first day, first show of ‘Endhiran (Robot)’.
    Thousands jostled for an elusive ticket as theatres in Rajini city began screening the film on Friday before the crack of dawn. While the first show at the city’s Rakki Cinemas in Ambattur was at 4am, it was at 5.45am at the AGS Cinemas in Villivakkam and 6am at Kasi Theatre. Even national exhibitors like PVR cinemas and Inox began shows in Chennai around 8am. Tickets were reportedly being sold in the black mar
ket at up to Rs 5,000 each.
    Even in Mumbai, Bollywood took a backseat as thousands of Rajini worshippers lined up outside Aurora theatre where prints of the film were brought after being taken to a temple in a chariot.
    The movie looks set to smash box-office records. Shyam Shroff, its Bombay territory distributor, said, ‘‘It will collect double its cost of production’’ (at Rs 160 crore, it’s India’s most expensive movie). Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, ‘‘Sivaji made Rs 200 crore, Robot will cross that.’’
    A Anup, vice president (operations) of Fun Cinemas, Bangalore, confirmed: ‘“With 100% collections across India, Enthiran (Tamil version) is ready to break all records. The Hindi version has taken a slow start but should pick up through sheer word of mouth.’’
Fans throng halls for latest Rajini release
Chennai/Mumbai: Rajinikanth fans keen to celebrate the latest release ‘Endhiran (Robot)’ were willing to go to any length. ‘‘I woke up at 2.45am to reach the theatre well in time for the 4am show,’’ said Chennai’s K Surya Kumar, 27, comparing the experience to a pilgrimage. Others travelled even longer distances to catch the sci-fi extravaganza, billed as the most expensive film ever made in India.
    Arvind Akshay, 25, an acquisitions manager with Citibank in Bangalore, came in to watch it, in the land of Rajini at Chennai’s Albert theatre, which he claims is the ‘mecca’ of Rajini fans. Akshay is planning to watch the film 12 times in two days. Reports also came
in of Rajini fans flying down from Mumbai to Chennai to catch the film.
    Dr S Natarajan, one of Mumbai’s busiest eye surgeons, took a break from his schedule to watch the film. ‘‘I am a huge Rajinikanth fan and I always watch his films first day, first show at Aurora,’’ said the doctor, adding that both Rajini and his leading lady Aishwarya Rai have pledged their eyes.
    At Chennai’s Albert theatre, a group of insurance surveyors, who call themselves the Robot Friends, arrived sporting black and white T-shirts with a still of Rajini printed on them. They burst long garlands of firecrackers before walking into the hall. ‘‘We placed an order for these T-shirts two months ago,’’ said Baba APS, a member of the group.
(inputs from Kamini Mathai)

SCREEN DEITY: A devoted fan performs the customary aarti before a show in Chennai on Friday

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