Rajinikanth to miss his milk bath this time

May 08, 2014, 13:32 IST | Bharati Dubey

While his film, 'Kochadaiiyaan', has been pushed again, his fan clubs in Mumbai are not really planning the regular ritual that precedes his releases...

Mumbai may not witness the frenzy that usually marks the release of a Rajnikanth’s film. And while his latest film, Kochadaiiyaan, has been postponed yet again — the 3D computer animated film will now hit movie screens on May 23 instead of May 9 — it is interesting to note that the film’s release has failed to create the mass hysteria often associated with a Rajini film. From anointing his posters to getting theatres whitewashed, his releases have been characterised by frenetic fan activity but things have been mellow this time.

Even as Kochadaiiyaan gears up for release this month, Rajini fever is yet to catch on

Says a source, “People want to see Rajnikanth doing all his antics, but this time he is an animated character so the audience is wondering how much of him will be present in the film.”

Nambi Rajan, owner of Aurora cinema in Mumbai, says, “It was going to be a regular release. One of the reasons for
it could be the fact that people want to see Rajinikanth in flesh and blood and this is an animated film.”

Rajini fan madness is yet to gain momentum as was evident from the scene outside Aurora theatre at Matunga on Wednesday, two days before his film, Kochadaiiyaan, was scheduled to release. Pics/Suresh K K

Preparations for the release of a Rajinikanth film usually start around 10 to 15 days in advance, with fans working round the clock as they plan celebrations surrounding the release. Before the release of such a film, a cutout of the legendary actor is kept ready. Early in the morning on the day of the release, the film print is taken to Matunga temple where a pooja is done and it is then brought back in a Rajini mannequin to the cinema hall. Mario Mascarenhas, one of the organisers of a Rajinikanth fan club, points out that the timing of this film’s release is causing problems. “Most people have gone to their hometown because this is vacation time. Rajinikanth’s films have never released during the summer holidays.”

Around 70 to 80 banners from various Rajini fan associations would make their way to Aurora theatre before his film’s release but this time, not one such banner could be spotted yet at the cinema hall.

Before the 2010 film, Endhiran (Robot) released in Aurora theatre, Rajinikanth’s poster was given a milk bath by his fans

Star power
Before the 2010 film, Endhiran (Robot), released in Aurora, Rajini fans held paal kudam (bowls full of milk) on their heads and lead a procession to a neighbouring temple seeking God’s blessings for the star. When the legendary actor faced health issues in 2011, his fans prayed fervently at temples, mosques and churches. Some fans also shaved their heads in penance.

To mark the US release of his film, Kuselan, 25ft tall and 14ft wide cutouts were shipped from Chennai to be displayed outside theatres. Rajini special M&Ms were given to candy lovers.

Rajinikanth’s fans sought blessings for the film reel at a neighbouring temple before the movie screening. Pics/Sameer Markande

Why the delay?

Sources state that a lot of work is left to be done on the 3D version of the film. The film’s director, Rajinikanth’s daughter Soundarya, who was in Mumbai, had to rush back to Chennai on Wednesday evening.

>> Producer Sunil Lulla of Eros International says, “The film had be postponed due to technical issues.” The last-minute postponement of the film has also caught film exhibitors off guard.

>> Trade analyst Amod Mehra says, “First, the film was slated to release on May 1. Then its release was pushed to May 9. Now when shows have been booked and some theatres had also started advance booking, the film’s release has been pushed ahead yet again. It is a jolt to film exhibitors and it also sends wrong signals to Rajnikanth’s fans as if something somewhere is wrong.”

>> Vishal Anand of Fun Cinemas says, “Since Kochadaiiyaan’s release has now been postponed to May 23, its shows in our chain of cinemas are now being allocated to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Hawaa Hawaai, besides some regional films.”

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