Chennai: Dancing to drum beats, bursting firecrackers, cutting cakes and pouring milk over their hero's banner is how fans of actor Rajinikanth in Tamil Nadu celebrated the release of his much awaited film "Kaala" on Thursday.
Additional security was provided by the police at all the several hundred movie theatres where the film was screened in the state.
Large crowds were seen outside all the theatres since early in the day.
"I am a fan of Rajinikanth. I am from Karnataka and came here to see the movie," a person told the media outside a theatre here.
"Today is Diwali for me. I have waited for a long time for this movie," another fan told journalists in Coimbatore. "This not Rajinikanth movie but movie director Pa. Ranjith movie."
This is the first movie of Rajinikanth since he announced his political foray.
"Kaala" has been facing opposition in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Several Tamil activists and political parties voiced their opposition to Rajinikanth's views on the violence in Thuthookudi.
Visiting the violence-hit town where 13 persons were killed on May 22 in police action amid anti-Sterlite Copper smelter plant protests, Rajinikanth had blamed anti-social elements for the violence.
In Karnataka, the film's release was opposed by some organisations after the southern superstar said the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) on the sharing of river water between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry has to be set up.
However, theatre owners and others are keeping their fingers crossed about the movie's success and raking in money.
"Movie halls will be packed with Rajini fans during the first four days. General public will come only after that. While the hall is full for the first four days, there is no major demand for tickets post Monday," a theatre owner told IANS preferring anonymity.
According to him, the story line is nothing new - rich versus poor - an age old theme and reminds the viewers of Kamal Haasan starrer "Naayagan".
Queried about the hype for Rajinikanth's earlier movie "Kabali" as compared with "Kaala", he said the former was produced by a seasoned movie producer who knew how to create a hype and market the product.
He said one of the issues with "Kaala" was that the movie should not have been released in so many screens as the supply had been increased instead of creating a demand by restricting the number of screens.