New Delhi: Jubilant fans of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth thronged over 1,000 cinema halls on Friday as his latest film Sivaji – The Boss hit theatres.
Delirious fans lined up outside halls before dawn to catch the first show of the film. According to reports tickets for the film, directed by Shankar and featuring music by A R Rahman, are sold out for the next three weeks at theatres in Chennai.
It is also the first Tamil movie to be simultaneously released in cities in northern India like Delhi and Gurgaon and outside the country.
Huge banners and hoardings were erected in front of halls where Sivaji was being screened with fans bursting crackers and breaking coconuts to ward off evil forces.
Reportedly shot for Rs 80 crore, Sivaji is about the protagonist's fight against black money in society, which Rajnikanth does in his own trademark style with a combination of punchy dialogue, comedy, romance, songs and colourful costumes.
A special screening of the film was arranged at AVM Studio in Chennai for AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, who watched the film with Shankar, producer A V M Saravanan and Rajnikanth, who started out as a bus conductor before deciding to join films.
The film, which finally has good triumphing over evil, enthralled fans who travelled to Tamil Nadu from as far as Dhaka and Kolkata to watch it.
"It is a superb film with all the ingredients expected of a Rajini-starrer. The special effects are stunning," an avid fan Prakash Dharur told PTI after watching the movie at Prasad's I-Max theatre in Hyderabad.
The Telugu rights of Sivaji, described as one of the most expensive films produced in India, were sold for Rs 14 crore, an indication of the huge expectations from the movie.
In Bangalore, Sivaji was released amidst tight security following threats by the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike to sabotage the screenings, however, police said that no untoward incidents were reported.
The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a pro-Kannada outfit, had threatened to stop the screenings as the shooting of two Kannada films in Tamil Nadu had been halted and also due to Rajinikanth's stand on the controversial Cauvery water-sharing issue.
Despite the threat, a fan walked into a theatre at 0330 hours IST to book a ticket. The hall was forced to open its counter at 0900 hours IST as nearly 1,000 fans were standing outside to buy tickets.
Rajinikanth's last movie Chandramukhi, which released in 2005, has been running continuously for over 800 days in Tamil Nadu, creating a record in south Indian film history.
Even in northern India, the response to the film was "remarkable", said theatre officials in Delhi. A subtitled version of Sivaji released in two multiplexes in Delhi and two in Gurgaon had attracted large audiences, they said.
"Being a regional film, we didn't expect it to do so well. It is doing remarkably well and is house-full till Wednesday," Head of Sales and Marketing, PVR Cinemas, Shalu Sabharwal told PTI.
The film took 19 months to be completed and is said to be the most expensive movie ever produced in India.
(With inputs from PTI)