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From flying all the way from London to Mumbai's Aurora theatre to giving free auto rides to those who want to watch Kabali on its release day, Rajinikanth's fans are yet again out to prove why the superstar's fandom is beyond comprehension.
As the release of Kabali nears, the buzz around the film is palpable. The 65-year-old actor's hardcore fans from different walks of life, are stoked about the first day first show (FDFS) experience.
Click on the slides below for more
From London To Mumbai
"For the premiere, I'm flying down to Mumbai from London and taking part in the early morning pooja and then the procession to the Aurora theatre in Matunga where a bunch of similar diehards will do the 'pal (milk) abhishekam' followed by the first day first show," Naman has said.
High Hopes For Kabali
Naman, the writer of independent film Brahman Naman, is excited about Kabali mainly because; "This is the first time in a long time that Thalaivar has entrusted a film to a new generation director (Pa. Ranjith). Madras (Ranjith's last Tamil film) was amazing so I have high hopes for Kabali."
Fans From USA
For Srinivasan Sankar, a Global Data Officer for an insurance company in the Greater Boston area, Kabali will be another "crowning glory" in Rajinikanth's career. "I've never missed Thalaivar FDFS as far as I remember from 'Velaikkaran', 'Rajadhi Raja' and 'Mappillai' days, he said.
A 10 Hour Drive
"After I migrated to the US in 1995, it continued with 'Muthu'. There's a nice story here. In the late 1990s, movies won't show up in Boston in the first or second week. So I drove 10 hrs to Washington DC to watch 'Arunachalam' FDFS," said Srinivasan.
First Show In Boston
"I'll watch the 11 AM show. That's the first show here in Boston which is also one of the first shows along with Atlanta, New York, etc in the US. Since it's a weekday, we plan to have the first day celebrations later in the evening during the prime-time shows," Srinivasan said.
'Kabali' Craze In Bangalore
Bangalore based techie-turned-film critic Uday Senan will be watching Kabali with random strangers he invited through a Facebook post. "The only common factor between all of us is our love for Rajinikanth. In an open post on Facebook, I've invited genuine Thalaivar fans whom I've never met, to join me to watch the film FDFS," said Uday.
Upsetting The Boss
"In 2007, a large group of us from school watched Sivaji. Seven of us from that group will be reuniting to watch Kabali. I've applied for leave from work and my boss is upset that I've motivated a few others to take leave too," Uday added.
All Roads Lead To Chennai..
Lalith, who works in a managerial position in Bangalore, will be flying to Chennai along with his friends to watch the first day first show. "His films come once in two years, so it's totally worth it," he has said.
FDFS in Chennai
"I've already blocked tickets for the FDFS in Chennai. My friends from Mumbai and Hyderabad are flying down to watch the film. It's good to be watching 'Kabali' at a place where it's celebrated the way it's supposed to be," Lalith added.
"Some people might think we are crazy, but they won't understand our love for Thalaivar. If you're not watching the first show of a Rajinikanth starrer on release day, you're breaking a tradition," says 43-year-old auto driver Annamalai.
On July 22, when Kabali will make its way into theatres worldwide, Annamalai will be watching the earliest show of the film in Chennai.
"It's usually at Kasi or Albert theatre. For nearly two decades now, I've been watching his films on release day. It has to be the first show in the city," Annamalai told IANS, adding that he will be watching the film with his friends.
Annamalai also plans to give free rides to anyone who wants to watch the movie, which is about a gangster's shot at redemption and how he fights for equal pay rights for Tamilians in Malaysia.
"All Rajini fans are like brothers. Our Thalaivar's films bring us together, under one roof, irrespective of our economic or social background. After I'm done watching the first show, I plan to give 20 free rides to those who want to watch the film," he said.
If you thought the craze for Rajinikanth only runs in the working class, then you're wrong.
Meet Naman Ramachandran, author and film critic, who is popular for his book 'Rajinikanth: The Definitive Biography'.
Continue reading the story in the slides above: