Missed the first day, first show? Experience it here.

First day first show How Kabali madness played out at 4am in Kasi Theatre
news Kabali Friday, July 22, 2016 - 07:51

There he was.

With that moment, months of anticipation, several days of excitement, the desperate efforts to get a ticket and the hours of waiting outside the theatre amidst sweat and noise was all worth it. There he was. As Rajinikanth appeared on the screen close to 4:20am at Chennai’s Kasi Theatre, during the first show on the first day of the movie’s release, the crowd went crazy.

There is no madness like Rajini-madness.

The festivities, however, had been going on since 3am. The silent Chennai night burst out with Rajini-mania in the wee hours of July 22. Firecrackers were burst and huge posters were erected, some of which were later taken down by the police for being traffic hazards.

Selfies were taken with giant cutouts, and fans screamed for hours together just to keep the excitement going. The police were having a tough time controlling the crowd. Some were drunk, while the rest were just high on Thalaivar.

Watch the video here

Kasi theatre has only 700 seats, but far more had arrived there, hoping against reason that they could somehow land a ticket.

Some of them were indeed lucky. Take for instance 27-year-old Sundar, who was outside the theatre even after the movie had started because he did not have a ticket. Five minutes in, he almost had an emotional breakdown. “I have never missed a first day, first show of Thalaivar. I want to cry,” he says. Just a few minutes later, a man from inside the theatre comes out and hands him an extra ticket. Sundar walks-in with disbelief.

Not everyone was there to watch the movie. Some had just turned up for the legendary atmosphere of Kasi Theatre.

Shashi, Hari, Ashwin and their foreigner-friend Justin had come all the way from Bengaluru. They had tickets for the movie at Albert theatre later in the day, but they had woken up early in the morning just to witness the Kasi theatre insanity. They had travelled Executive Class on the Shatabdi from Bengaluru on July 21, booked themselves at a service apartment in Poes Garden and landed up at Kasi – all for the love of Thalaivar.

But the travel from Bengaluru seems dull when you meet Hidetoshi Yasuda, a Rajini fan who has come all the way from Japan. He could get tickets for the movie only on Sunday, but he was there to pay obeisance to Lord Rajini at the cinema temple of Kasi. This is his tenth trip to India for a Rajini movie.

The media was in full attendance too, from the Washington Post reporter who wanted to explain the Superstar to Americans, to the Times Now reporter who was there to let the nation know how Chennai was going crazy. Tamil TV news cameramen pushed and shoved through the crowds to make sure they captured every single moment of excitement.

When the gates were thrown open, a sea of humanity swept in. The ticket-checkers weren’t able to handle their crowd, so there was a two-tier checking, first at the main entrance and then at the doors of the theatre.

Inside the theatre, it was ‘Rajinipocalypse’. Fans had taken over the establishment. They were standing in front of the screen, shouting, dancing and clicking selfies. They were up on the seats, posing for the cameras with their Kabali t-shirts.

For nearly 15 minutes, there were empty celebrations inside without anything being played on the screen.

As the screen came to life, the crowd burst out again. A film promo played, and it was pitifully ignored. Then Kabali’s censor certificate popped up, and the crowd went berserk. The moment was nearing.

And then, Rajinikanth’s trademark title played out, with “Superstar” written in blue dots, and “Rajni” in yellow – a permanent feature of every Rajini movie.

The movie began, and in a few minutes in, Rajinikanth walked to life on the silver screen, this time as Kabali.

There he was. 

Watch the full fan frenzy here: 

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