Chennai: Actor-director Kamal Haasan's 'Vishwaroopam' has opened to great response in Tamil Nadu with people packing shows as early as 5 AM on Thursday and tickets all over the state are sold out till February 13.
Several factors have helped the film greatly despite being hit by the delay in its release in the state - positive word of mouth, mostly positive reviews, the Kamal Haasan fan factor, anticipation and largely the failure of its two big competitors 'Kadal' and 'David'.
Theatre owners allotted extra screens for 'Vishwaroopam' after Mani Ratnam's 'Kadal' and Bejoy Nambiar's 'David' bombed, reported CNN-IBN correspondent Meenakshi Mahadevan from Chennai. The film was initially supposed to open in 524 theatres but finally made it to 600 theatres across the state.
Last evening, Haasan held a special premiere for actors at the Satyam Cinemas in Chennai, attended by Khushbu, Radhika, Mumtaj, Yuvan Sankar Raja, Karthik, AP Sreedhar and Suhasini among others.
Actor Rajinikanth saw the film with his family at his own residence during a special screening.
It was a jamboree of sorts as elated fans danced to drum beat and burst crackers as they thronged the cinema-houses since early morning, some pouring milk over the cutouts of the 58-year-old actor.
Haasan's fans said the technically advanced film could match up to any Hollywood production. "It is like a Hollywood movie," said a fan outside a
theatre. "Hats off to Kamal. He has taken Indian cinema to a new height," said another.
The film, originally scheduled for January 25 release, started screening in some theatres as early as 5 AM. Its release was delayed in the wake of protests by some Muslim outfits who found certain scenes 'offensive' to the community, prompting the Tamil Nadu government to ban it for two weeks.
The movie was cleared for release after the makers agreed to cut seven scenes following a meeting between Haasan and the Muslim outfits, which was brokered by the state government.
The state ban on the spy-thriller centring around terror, triggered a nationwide condemnation and support for Haasan, who had threatened to go on a self-imposed exile following the politics over his film. The actor had pledged his house to make the Rs 100 crore movie.
The Hindi and Telugu versions were released without much ado and Tamil also in Kerala and Karnataka. Haasan had also taken the battle to the court. Prior to the protests by Muslim outfits, the film had faced problems with the tech-savvy actor insisting on release on the DTH platform before showing it in theatres. The theatre owners' opposition had forced him to delay the release.
"I have Vishwaroopam fever. You have to see it to believe it. Don't miss it. It takes one Kamal to overtake the other Kamal. Director takes over the actor," Khushbu tweeted.
Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh said 'Vishwaroop', the Hindi version of the film made a total of Rs 9.96 cr (Mon - 1.19 crore, Tue - 1.11 crore).
The audience response of the film has so far been great as evident from film critic Sudhish Kamath's tweet. "Halfway through Vishwaroopam. Already got my money's worth," Kamath said. "Finally a solid spy thriller out of India. Surprising amount of restraint even in the climax! Didn't expect it to be so good," he said.
Independent film critic Sreedhar Pillai said: "Vishwaroopam again in Auro 6 Degrees. Lot of K.wood celebs like Karthi, Gautham Menon & many others."
Musician Yuvanshankar Raja tweeted: "Just watched Vishwaroopam. Amazing effort by Kamal sir and team. Really happy for him. Good luck to the whole team of Vishwaroopam."
Adarsh said the Tamil film is faring exceptionally well in the USA and UK, despite new releases.
Tamil Nadu's date with 'Vishwaroopam' finally arrived. Ending the 10-day-long wait, Haasan's Rs 95 crore film finally hit the screens on Thursday in Tamil Nadu. The Madras High Court had on Monday closed all petitions filed by the actor against the prohibitory orders invoked by the state administration to prevent its screening.
Haasan on Monday withdrew his petition before the Madras High Court challenging the ban, a move that could see the early release of his mega-budget movie. Justice S Rajeswaran, before whom the matter came up, allowed the actor and government to withdraw pleas after they expressed their desire to do so following a compromise between Haasan and Muslim outfits, which had opposed it claiming some scenes offended their sentiments.
District Collectors revoked prohibitory orders under which the release was banned on January 23 after the outfits came out strongly against the Rs 100 crore movie.