Film fans line up for 4 am show to see their god
N Venkateswaran & Bharati Dubey | TNN
Why would someone go to a theatre at 5 am to watch a Rajinikanth movie?
Because tickets were not available for the 4 am show. Chennai shut shop
early on Thursday over worries on which way the Ayodhya verdict would
swing, but now it seems it was only to queue up before daybreak for the
first day, first show of Enthiran (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 4 am, it was at 5.45 am at the AGS
Cinemas in Villivakkam and 6 am at Kasi Theatre. Even national
exhibitors like PVR cinemas and Inox began shows in Chennai around 8 am.
took a backseat in Mumbai, as thousands of Rajini worshippers lined up
outside Matunga’s Aurora theatre where prints of the film were finally
brought after being taken to a temple in a chariot. Aurora owner Nambi
Rajan has seen the frenzy before—the 68-year-old theatre has been
screening Rajni films forever. “But what shocked me was this 76-year-old
Iyer lady who turned up first day first show to watch her favourite
superstar,’’ says Rajan. “Women coming to watch the film on day one is
unheard of. To top that, I saw her again at the 6.30 pm show,’’ he adds.
“He’s simply the best,’’ beamed Laxmi Iyer.
Fans keen to celebrate the latest outing of their favourite Tamil actor were willing to go to any length.
“I woke up at 2.45 am to reach the theatre well in time for the 4 am
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.
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
At the Albert theatre, a group
of insurance surveyors, who call themselves the Robot Friends, arrived
sporting black and white Tshirts with a still of Rajni printed on them.
They burst long garlands of firecrackers before walking into the hall. Fans
pay 1,500 to watch their god
“We placed an order for these Tshirts two months ago,’’ said Baba APS, a member of the group.
most fans, the wait has been really long: Rajinikanth hasn’t had a
release since Kuselan tanked at the box office in 2008. Many of them
lined up outside the movie halls with pots of milk to perform
‘abhishekams’ for the highest paid actor in India, others came loaded
with firecrackers to burst, the rest settled for ‘aarti’. What price a
Rajini movie ticket? Fans would say priceless. Confirms A Anup, vice
president (operations) of Fun cinemas in Bangalore, “Cinema halls have
hiked ticket prices. Some single screens have increased the rate from Rs
70 to Rs 300, while multiplex ticket prices have jumped to Rs 500. Some
multiplexes also sold tickets in the range of Rs 800 to Rs 1,500. With
cent per cent collections across India, Enthiran (the Tamil version) is
ready to break all records.
(with inputs from Kamini Mathai)
MAN, ROBOT OR GOD? A huge cut-out of Rajinikanth in Chennai