Indian superstar Rajinikanth has millions of adoring fans.

Celia Tholozan   28 July 2016 10:39 - For those who never heard of him before, the 65-year-old actor is a living legend in some parts of Asia and most of all his native India. In the world of Tamil cinema there has never been a bigger name.  

Rajinikanth’s popularity has reached such heights that calling him a superstar doesn’t come close to describing the status he holds among his fans. There have been attempted suicides at rumors of his death, there are ecstatic scenes at not just premieres but ordinary screens of any movie he is in. Even if the movie isn’t that great, Rajinikanth’s fans are still behind the man they call “thalaivar” — the boss.

The launch of Kabali, the latest movie starring the actor, was one of the best-orchestrated and most effective marketing events of all times. The movie actually made a profit through pre-booked tickets even before its official release in theaters over the weekend. Small pieces of information were released little by little; huge advertising campaigns were mounted all over India.

Kabali also benefited from the growing excitement of fans on social media. The official trailer has been watched almost 30 million times on YouTube, despite the many Indians without internet access. AirAsia had one of his aircraft painted in the colors of the film poster and offered a special deal for Rajinikanth fans.

Companies petitioned for an official public holiday for the day of the release and chose to give their workers a day off anyway since so many of them would be be calling in sick! No doubt that helped boost box office numbers.

Although maybe they didn’t need any help. Kabali beat all box-office records, including those set by Bollywood rivals like Salman Khan. In its first four days in made about 4 billion rupees or 60 million dollars. The response was so overwhelming the actor wrote a Thank You note to his fans.

Rajinikanth’s movies are almost like a pantomime, highly dramatic, funny and packed with action, with audiences cheering and booing each passing scene like a stage production, captivated by the man.

Kabali tells the story of Kabaleeshwaran, the godfather of the Tamil mafia in Malaysia. After spending 25 years in prison, the gangster is looking for revenge and the reunion with his enemy promises to be bloody. Kabali combines all the themes of the gangster and action films Rajinikanth became famous for.

There are also subtle political overtones from the director Pa Ranjith. The issue of caste, so prevalent in Indian society, is raised, as is the status of women. The lead character played by Rajinikanth also speaks for the rights of Tamil migrants all over the world.

If you want to judge by yourself and understand the incredible success of the movie, just make sure you book your tickets in advance!




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