"I am watching the film today for the unmatchable energy in the hall. It feels like the roof will fall in. I will come back and watch it with my family again to focus on the story, acting and dialogue. I usually watch his films 10 times."
This is what 30-year-old software engineer Balaji Ram said of his matinee idol, according to a report in the Washington Post.
We all know that Rajinikanth has a crazy fan following but this time with Kabali, the excitement and buzz have created an unmatched hysteria that has not been seen in recent times.
Not only across India but in Singapore, Malaysia, and even US, people have been swarming to the cinema halls in numbers to catch the movie.
The report says that enthusiastic fans in Chennai, blaring out the song ‚ÄėNeruppu da‚Äô from their car speakers, flocked to the theatres to watch the movie ‚Äėfirst day first show‚Äô but were left dejected as the tickets had been sold out for the next two weeks.
‚ÄúIf I don‚Äôt get to watch my favorite star‚Äôs new movie on the ‚Äėfirst day, first show,‚Äô there will be a big black hole in my life. After my parents, it is superstar Rajinikanth who is most important to me,‚ÄĚ said Sundar Vaidyanathan, 27, in tears.
This is the kind of emotional connect that Rajinikanth has with his fans. The report goes on to add that Rajinikanth is the biggest star of the Indian film industry, which is the largest in the world, with more than 1600 new films being produced each year in more than 20 local languages.
And even though in real life, he is no hunk with a balding scalp and devoid of an impressive physique, he still attracts moviegoers by the hordes, says the report.
The man with over 3 million Twitter followers inspires such awe, that some companies gave holidays to their employees so that they would not call in sick that day, in anticipation of the movie, which was his first in two years.
Among the unusual things accompanying the movie‚Äôs release, entire cinemas had been booked well in advance and 180 ardent fans were flown to Chennai by Air Asia in a special plane with his image painted on it.
But then with Thalaivar, anything is possible.
Considering the sheer scale of the movie that is being shown in more than 12,000 screens in India alone and has already made $30 million in pre-release rights sales, to call it a blockbuster is an understatement, said a BBC report.
Private companies declared a holiday and parents kept children out of school as an air of celebration swept southern India reported the New York Times.
Everyone wants a piece of ‚ÄúSuperstar‚ÄĚ Rajinikanth ‚Äď a cultural icon and larger-than-life actor from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu reported Forbes.
‚ÄúEven in a land where films, and superstar actors, play larger-than-life roles in social, cultural and .‚ÄČ.‚ÄČ. political life, there has been nothing to compare with the Rajinikanth phenomenon. The star‚Äôs ‚Äúpanache, style and iconic one-liners fire up his fans and immediately become part of popular culture and lingo,‚ÄĚ said N. Ram, chairman of the Hindu group speaking to the Washington Post.
The stark contrast between the star‚Äôs on-screen swagger and real-life humility is the principal reason why fans love him, added Ram.
The teaser itself of the movie had created quite a stir with more than 25 million views on YouTube.
Rajinikanth plays an ageing don in the movie who fights for the rights of Tamils living in Malaysia.
‚ÄúIt is a different kind of hysteria this time, because they are seeing Rajinikanth play a role that is his real age,‚ÄĚ said Pa. Ranjith, the movie‚Äôs director speaking to Washington Post.