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'Thalaivar' back on screen, and fans can't stop celebrating

Friday, June 08, 2018

Chennai/Mumbai: There are many festivals in India and then there is the festival of Rajinikanth, complete with its own rituals, not the least of which is frenzied fans appearing for the first day, first show screening, come summer, winter, rain or hail -- or even a pre-dawn start. And so it was today with the release of "Kaala", the superstar's latest film, being heralded by fans forming serpentine queues outside theatres not just in Tamil Nadu but also in Mumbai as early as 4 am, armed with drums and large cutouts of the man they have come to worship as god. In accordance with time-honoured tradition, the cutouts were garlanded and bathed with milk, fans showed up with his face literally painted on their bare bodies and some women visited a temple before heading for the theatre. That the film received lukewarm reviews didn't seem to matter much for the many 'devotees' of the 67-year-old, known as "Thalaivar", the supreme boss. The Rajini phenomenon is not just limited to the South. His fans come from places such  as Japan (where he is known as Baba and has a cult following) and Sri Lanka. Amongst those whistling and clapping as "Kaala" appeared on screen in Chennai was Michael Sathish, a 25-year-old Sri Lankan, who said he watches all Rajini films.

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