Chennai: It was nothing short of a carnival. Rajnikanth fans were waiting for this moment for almost three years after the release of his "Sivaji: The Boss" in 2007. Garlanding giant cut-outs of the superstar, pouring milk oblations, chanting his name, bursting fire crackers, beating of drums and traffic jams in front of cinema halls… that was the massive welcome for his "Endhiran".
Quite contrary to the gloomy atmosphere in the city roads Thursday evening, when the verdict on Ayodhya was given, Friday saw frantic activity on the roads leading to the theatres. With all the theatres screening the most awaited film of the year, the entire city witnessed a festival-like atmosphere.
Almost all theatres in Chennai looked as if a temple festival was on. The halls were brimming with crowds chanting his name, dancing and singing in euphoria. Shouting "Thalaivaa (Oh, Leader!)", "Superstar vaazhga (long live)", and "Intha padai Pothumaa? (isn`t this crowd enough?)", could be heard everywhere.
V. Raghavan, marketing executive in a private bank, was elated that some of the milk oblation also landed on his head. He was "fortunate" enough to stand near a gigantic cut out of Rajnikanth inside Anna Theatre, located on Mount Road. Milk poured on the cut out of "Thalaivar" spilled over his head and made him feel like a deity. Some enthusiastic fans even poured Pepsi on their idol.
Ramarajan, 23, from Egmore was among those who had stood for five hours last Saturday to book tickets in Albart Theatre, located near Egmore Railway Station. His friends were smart enough to contact the fan clubs to get the first glimpse of the superstar at a premium price. Ramarajan succeeded in getting the ticket but he could not put the garland he brought with him as he was caught amidst the frantic crowd.
Finally, he decided to place the garland on the star`s cut-out.
Forty-nine theatres are screening this mega budget movie directed by Shankar and produced by Sun Pictures. Most of the theatres had special shows right from the morning. The first show took place in many suburban theatres around 5.30 in the morning.
The fans thronged the theatres like Kasi, in the suburb, and AGS Royal in Vilivakkam from midnight. The shows in many theatres started only after conducting pooja of the print box and `paal abhishekam` (milk oblation) of the huge cut-out outside the theatre.
Sathyam multiplex, regarded as a complex for elite audience, too was not an exception to this festival atmosphere with fans doing the `paal abhishekam` to the beating of the drums in front of the hall.
R.S. Karthik, a freelance journalist in Chennai, could not wait for the press show to see his favourite star. He managed to get a ticket in a suburb hall for the early morning show (5.30 a.m.). What is his verdict? "Awesome!"
However, there were some viewers who felt the movie has an overdose of technical aspect. "The movie does entertain and Rajni rocks. But the script could have been tighter and shorter," opined M. Harikrishnan, a software professional.
But the overall mood and the responses were quite different from what Harikrishnan felt. G. Devaraj, a graphic designer, could not believe his eyes as he has got more than twenty SMSs from friends praising the movie.
The euphoria is set to continue just as the traffic jam in front of the theatres.