Kaala fever hits Chennai

Kaala fever hits Chennai

Actor Rajnikanth with crew members of his upcoming film 'Kaala'. PTI file photo

Suburbs of this bustling metropolis will come alive before the crack of dawn on Thursday morning as Tamil superstar Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala will storm into theatres as early as 4 am.

Though the usual hype and excitement around a Rajini film are largely missing, fans will queue up before theatres in the wee hours to catch a glimpse of their Thalaivar on the silver screen after a gap of two years.

The Pa. Ranjith-directed Kaala, believed to be the story of a gangster set in the slums of Dharavi in Mumbai, is being released in nearly 2,000 screens across the world on Thursday, with the Rajini fever slowly catching up. The cloud over release in Karnataka also passed off with the producers determined to ensure that the movie opens in at least 130 screens across the state, mostly in and around Bengaluru.

Even before the release, the producers are understood to have earned Rs 240 crore from the distribution, music and other rights.

Shows in Chennai suburbs will begin at 4 am, while in the city it will begin only after 7 am. All seats for the special 4 am shows in almost all theatres, mostly single screens, around Chennai have been sold out. Rajini fans would perform 'aarti' for the huge cut-outs of their Thalaivar and bathe his hoardings with milk.

Though very late, a few hotel chains came up with offers for Rajini fans. The Clarion Hotel President announced 50% for dine-in at all its food outlets for those possessing tickets for Kaala. Cadbury also came out with advertisements featuring Kaala for its 5 Star chocolate brand.

The frenzy that is quintessential for a Rajinikanth movie was missing in the beginning, but the momentum is slowly building up with tickets for the weekend also selling at a fast pace, though the speed cannot be compared with that of Kabali and Endhiran.

Though nearly 200 screens will release the film in Chennai, iconic Kamala Theatres, very famous among the middle-class for its medium pricing of tickets and snacks, and multiplex Udayam Cinemas backed out from opening the Rajinikanth movie blaming the producers for forcing them to sell tickets at high rates. Kamala will now screen Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

However, Wonderbar Films, which has produced Kaala, said the two theatres have not expressed their consent to the similar terms that's been agreed by other cinemas. “News going around saying huge demands put forth is absolutely false & baseless,” it said in a tweet.