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Sivaji mania grips south India

ibnlive.com
Jun 20, 2007 at 08:56am IST

New Delhi: A day before Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s new blockbuster opens in theatres across the nation and also in New York, fan frenzy has reached a crescendo across south India.

While Rajini’s fans will have to wait another day before they hit the beelines outside cinema hall to watch Sivaji, southern politicians were luckier.

A plethora of politicians lined up in Hyderabad to watch the comeback movie of the demigod of Tamil cinema on Thursday.

THE PHENOMENON: Sivaji hits theatres on Friday, but tickets have been sold out.

Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu was the first to watch the movie alongside Rajinikanth himself at a special screening of Shivaji. Rajini says he will invite Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Rajashekar Reddy to watch the film on Thursday evening. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha is also likely to see the movie on Thursday.

After Thursday morning’s special show, Rajinikanth showered all the praise on his director Shankar for turning the movie Shivaji into an epic of sorts.

“All credit goes to the director (Shankar). I have been trying to act in Shankar’s movie. I got an opportunity now,” Rajinikanth told journalists on Thursday after a premiere of the movie where.

“Telugu people have always supported me. I hope it becomes a hit,” Rajini said expectantly. He also held a palabhishekam(milk ceremony) before the screening of the movie.

“The palabhishekam goes to God, God works through me,” Rajini said.

Theatres in Chennai have already run out of tickets for the first week for Rajnikant's 100th film Sivaji: The Boss as tens of thousands of people mobbed the theatres since early this week for advance booking of tickets.

Sivaji is set for release in 18 halls across the capital June 15. A week ahead, the pictures of all other stars in the Tamil film industry had been wiped off the face of the city.

When bookings opened for the film on Sunday, thousands returned disappointed as, hall owners say, people lapped up all the tickets in no time. Most theatres were forced to post additional security, fearing fights.

There was a mad frenzy for tickets ever since the theatres started advance booking for the movie and most theatres had exhausted their tickets on Sunday itself.

Nothing perhaps better illustrates the Rajnikant phenomenon more than a huge hoarding at Gemini flyover, the busiest crossing in the heart of Chennai. It shows the iconic superstar wearing a corduroy jacket and with a strutting posture.

In bold letters, the hoarding says "Boss".

At 57, Rajnikant is literally the boss of southern cinema. And his 100th film, significantly, is titled Sivaji: The Boss.

Rajnikant's real name is Sivaji Rao Gaekwad and his character in the film, which shares his real name, has been created keeping him in mind.

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