Thalaivar takes on Thala this Pongal

Rajinikanth's Petta and Ajith's Viswasam will hit theatres on January 10, five days ahead of the harvest festival.

Pongal, the harvest festival celebrated by Tamils across the globe, will arrive five days early for the diehard fans of superstar Rajinikanth and another popular actor Ajith Kumar.

For the first time, Thalaivar, as Rajinikanth is known, and Thala, Ajith’s moniker among his fans, will clash at the box office as both the stars would storm more than 2,000 theatres across the world on January 10 with their films Petta and Viswasam.

Pongal will be celebrated on January 15 as Tamils usher in the new month of Thai. Usually movies are released on Pongal day, but this time around, they will open five days early on January 10.  

This is the first time in five years that movies of two hugely popular actors are releasing on the same day — the last was when Jilla by Vijay and Veeram by Ajith opened during 2014 Pongal.

Excitement is already in Chennai’s air and there is an intense fight between the fans of the stars on who gets the best opening on Thursday.

Almost all tickets for the first two days in screens in and around Chennai for both Petta and Viswasam have been booked, reinforcing the actors’ sway over fans. However, the release of the movies on the same day has not gone down well with many theatre owners, who were expecting different release dates.

“There is immense fan following for both the actors and their films could rake in more money if they released on different dates. We will now have to choose between Rajini and Ajith, which is not a right thing to do. And in rural areas, the screening of both films — two shows each — won’t work well,” a theatre owner in nearby Tiruvallur district told DH.

Ajith seems to have won the pre-release round as Viswasam is likely to open in 515 screens as against Petta’s 490. Viswasam’s trailer also pipped Petta’s by registering 22.28 lakh views as against the latter’s 19.5 lakh at the last count.

However, to prove that Rajinikanth has no match in the industry, his fans are gearing up for early morning shows — possibly at 4 am on Thursday in a few screens in Chennai and suburbs. Theatres screening Viswasam have no such plans.

Performing poojas to giant cutouts and watching early morning shows of Rajinikanth films is almost a ritual for his fans. The celebrations expected to begin Wednesday night would peak early Thursday with the screening of Petta.

There is greater excitement over Petta since the trailer hints at the ingredients of a trademark Rajinikanth movie — a stylish Rajini, punch dialogues and the love scenes — unlike his previous ventures Kabali and Kaala which were critically-acclaimed but did not perform well at the box office.

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Thalaivar takes on Thala this Pongal

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