It was 4 am in Mumbai, but the lane outside Sion’s PVR theatre already woke up to Rajinikanth’s latest film Annaatthe on Friday morning. Superstar Rajinikanth has given the perfect Diwali gift to his fans with the release of Annaatthe. The Tamil action-drama has been directed by Siva and also stars Nayanthara, Keerthy Suresh, Prakash Raj, Khushboo, and others.
The multiplex was bustling with all the excitement that it seemed it belonged to a completely different time zone. Not only adults but children who were as young as four years old were all decked up for the film’s screening.
While the first show of the film was officially scheduled for as early as 8.00 am, a special show was arranged for 5.00 am by Dr. Thalapathi SK Athimoolam, president, of the Maharashtra State Head Rajini Fans Welfare Association (MSHRFWA) – a leading fan club of Thalaiva in the city which is based out of Chembur. All the three screens at the multiplex were booked for the fans who were dressed in crisp white shirts and mundus eagerly waiting to watch the superstar’s latest release.
A giant cut-out of the Rajinikanth took centre stage as a priest performed a Satyanarayan puja for his long life.
Rajguru Prakash, a mechanic by profession, had been waiting for Rajinikanth’s film to release for the last two years. He was carrying a bag filled with flowers and garlands to be put on the posters of Thalaiva, “Rajinikanth is even bigger than God for me. I was very angry with Coronavirus as we couldn’t watch any of his new films. It’s really a big day as finally, Thalaiva’s film releases today.”
Prakash even got a whistle which he plans to use to cheer during the Superstar’s entry sequences. “I have been watching Thalaivar’s films since I was 5. In our hometown in Thanjavur, we’d walk up to five kilometers on the day of release with lots of milk to perform ‘abhishekam’ on our favourite hero’s posters. We used to do it here but now there are a lot of restrictions. I will still do my best to impress Rajini sir who is my world. I believe in more than my mother.”
The 41-year-old is such an ardent fan that he even got a tattoo of Rajinikanth when he was just eight years old. “My friend Siva and I had got this tattoo done together. We have watched countless Rajinikanth films together. No actor in the world can even come close to him. He is simply amazing. I will be watching the film at least thrice.”
Athimoolam, who organised the show, even printed a special ticket for the screening, “This is the lease that we can do for him. Anything that we do is going to be only less.”
Bala, who undoubtedly is a big fan of the actor, showed his disappointment over the delay of the release, “It was supposed to release in October last year. Later it was shifted to January on the occasion of Pongal but the second wave of coronavirus just pushed everything further. I am happy that finally, the film is releasing.”
“I never miss any films of Rajini sir. I don’t care about the story or the cast or director. It’s Rajini Sir who matter to me… Without watching Annaatthe, I know this film will be a huge hit,” says Rangeshwar Rao, a vegetable seller who belongs to Valapari, a village in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu.
Sagar Patil came along with his two friends to watch Rajinikanth perform some magic on the big screen. “We are non-Tamilians — I am a Maharashtrian but am still a die-hard Rajinikanth fan. Watching his film along with some die-hard fans is a different experience. It doesn’t become another movie. Rajini’s films are a festival in itself.
“We will not be able to hear his dialogues inside because people are just going to whistle, hoot, and dance but it’s going to be fun,” he adds with a big smile.
Sagar, like many others, feels Rajinikanth is the God of Indian cinema. “His style is unmatched. He can sleepwalk through any role and still give his best performance. In real life, he is such a humble human being and helps so many people. There cannot be a bigger superstar than Rajinikanth.”
Soon after the puja ended, the drums and banjo started performing and fans rushed inside the theatre before taking selfies with Rajinikanth’s cutouts.
As the movie began, the all-too-familiar music accompanying the words ‘Superstar Rajini’, flashed on the screen and the theatre erupted in joy.