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Article
Media Reports on Sivaji Movie Craze
(Thursday, 21st June 2007)

Indian Film attracting record crowds (Gulf News)

An Indian film is proving so popular in Bahrain that it is the only movie being shown at two theatres and tickets are selling on the black market. Sivaji - The Boss stars Rajinikanth, one of the highest paid actors in India, along with Vivek, Suman and Shreya. The Tamil movie was first released at Al Hamra Cinema on Friday, but proved so popular that screenings started at Awal Cinema, said Bahrain Cinema Company marketing and public relations head Sunil Balan.

All four shows in each theatre saw 100 per cent occupancy, with almost 90pc of seats booked on Wednesday.

"This movie has made a historic mark in Bahrain because it is the first time that more than one theatre is showing only one movie over and over," said Mr Balan.

"Previously, a movie would be shown at Al Hamra and Awal on the same days, but not for all the shows.

"This is also the first time we have experienced 100pc occupancy in our theatres for any movie just an hour after the release.

"The seats for all the shows at both theatres are 90pc booked already for the next week - a record.

"We have never experienced anything like this before and our decision seems right."

Mr Balan added the movie was expected to run in Bahrain for at least a month and nearly 5,000 people saw it on Friday alone.

He admitted hearing that tickets for the movie were being sold on the black market, but wouldn't comment further.

 

Sivaji- its cool da! - A hit throughout the world - Deccan Herald

R G Vijayasarathy studies the aspects that have gone into making Shankar-directed, Rajnikant-starrer Sivaji the greatest hit of all times.

The verdict is out. The first week's response to the year's much awaited film Sivaji starring  Super Star Rajnikant and directed by Shankar has been stupendous and unprecedented throughout the length and breadth of the countries that the film has been released in.

And in India, the trade pundits down south are not surprised over the way the film is creating a feverish hysteria among film fans. But the mad rush and  the serpentine queue in front of the theatres releasing the film in many metros and urban centres of the country has really surprised many who had thought that only Bollywood represented the ethos of the  Indian film industry.

And the reactions of fans, particularly many of whom may not understand Tamil but are still enjoying the film, may well give jitters to Bollywood film makers. They are already worried about the poor response to the multi star film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom which fell flat in front of Sivaji. 

Coming to the reactions of the large number of people who have watched Sivaji, there are two distinctive features of the film that every one is talking about. Every fan is going  gaga over the Mottai Sivaji and the White Sivaji.

And  people connected to the film industry have also been curious to know how the ageing actor of dark complexion was made to look totally different in the Oru Kudai song sequence. Fans also want to know who conceived the idea of the Mottai Sivaji, the second attraction of the film.  

According to Anand, who has worked behind the camera for this film, this attempt may well go as the first of its kind in the history of world cinema. He says that the film unit tried skin grafting, which was a unique experiment in the field of cinema.

K V Anand, whose awesome work in Sivaji has come in for special praise, credits the film's director Shankar for this innovative method which was used for the song shot for nearly 16 days in the Billbas museum in Spain.

Director Shankar who is known for many technical novelties in the film had not even informed the film's producers M S Guhan and Sharavanan about it till it took a final shape. The song is a rap number  with its theme as 'style' and the lyrics of the song hailed the Super Star's different patterns of style.  

 The technical work took almost one year to complete and 25 technicians worked to accomplish this creative work. Even to get the first perfect shot it nearly took six months, says creative director V S M Mohan, who was assigned the job of enhancing the technical content of the film.

Directed Shankar who mooted this idea in the beginning managed to make it a reality by getting the assistance of a techno firm The Indian Arts. An English girl was also used in this experiment.

About the new looks, Shankar says that they tried many experiments and only selected the best. "Rajni Sir looks dashing and debonair, as he plays a middle aged man in his late 30s. For that, I needed a different look.

"So before the shoot, I thought like an ordinary filmgoer in Tamil Nadu, the way they want me to project the superstar. I went through hundreds of his photos from his previous movies and selected two pictures for the new look, and then decided on the wigs that suited him.

"Along with Bhanu the wig and hair designer and cameraman K V Anand I decided on the look and style. Rajni Sir co-operated by doing a make-up test. Which superstar in India will patiently sit through trying out a new look? He is a genuinely humble and simple man; I have never met a star like him. Later the measurements were sent to New York, where they made the wigs that were used in the film.

"As far as the look and colour tone of the film is concerned, I have given it a colourful look as it is a family entertainer with comedy, romance, songs, sentiment and action," said Shankar in an interview before the release of the film.

For Rajni fans, his presence in the film is the key factor that motivates them to see the film again and again.

The movie boasts of a high level of technical accomplishment in the creation of grand sets (like the music shop set created by country's top art director Thota Tharaani)  and many other big sets in the song sequences.

For the Sahana song written by Vairamuththu, Thota has created a Swarovski style glittering glass dome set depicting four seasons. The song was shot in Ramoji Studio in Hyderabad.  Another major highlight of the film is the pulsating stunt sequences choreographed by Peter Heynes.

The last 20 minutes of Sivaji is certainly being spoken about by most of the fans and also critics   where Rajni appears in a different look.

Though Rajni's biggest style statement is his hair and his hair style has been copied by millions of his fans around the world, there are few sequences in Sivaji  where he appears bald.

But the fact is Rajni looks more stylish in these sequences. Rajni shaved off his head many years after he did for the film Raghavendra directed by S P Muththuraman.

Rajnikant is a great devotee of Lord Raghavendra and he did the film with a sense of dedication and commitment.

His desire to go natural and shave his head did get critical acclaim, but the film didn't meet the expectations of his fans who always want to see Rajni as Style Mannan.

But in Sivaji, the Mottai Rajni is all of styles and the actor has adopted a totally different pattern of dialogue delivery in these critical sequences of the film. 

The music of  the film India's Mozart A R Rahman is also attracting huge audience to the theatres. Though the initial reaction to the music composition at the time of the release was not outstanding, the response to each of the song in the theatre speaks volumes about Rahman's creativity.

Rahman worked for the film despite his busy international schedules and gave perfect tunes. The melody in the Sahana Song, and the fast beat numbers are well appreciated. Rahman did the entire background score of the film in Prague.

The film's high technical standards will definitely be spoken about for many years to come and it may well lead to further more innovations on the screen.

Already Kamal Hassan's next film Dasaavathaaram directed by K S Ravikumar which is all set to release in a few months is already being spoken as another technical wizardry with its new type of make up innovation that is being used for the first time in the world of cinema. In this film, Kamal Hassan appears in ten different roles. 

DIRECTOR SPEAK
In the words of Shankar...

Shankar is away in Germany to see the international response to his new film ever since Sivaji was released. However, he has given some media interviews before the release of the film which gives insight into the making of the film.

Shankar is considered as India's most technically-accomplished director who makes films with socially-relevant issues.

In Sivaji, he has taken the issue of social and financial evils like black money and corruption. Sivaji collections may well surpass his earlier block busters like Kamal Hassan's Indian, Vikram starrer Anniyan, Kadalan and Gentleman. 

"Sivaji has taken nearly 22 months of my hard work and dedication to make it as a final product.   From the day the story idea was born and for it to be conceptualised into a full length feature film, a lot of efforts have gone into the making of this film. The film has given me immense satisfaction, and I think it is my best work," says Shankar.

"It was difficult for me to blend Rajni Sir's larger-than-life image to my style of film making. It was a tough act to follow.

"I was very particular that the image of the superstar should not overtake the character of Sivaji, a NRI having great dreams of starting a University to help the poor people. I really needed a strong story which can well blend with his image", he adds.  

http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Jun242007/enter200706239046.asp

 

 

Madurai Box office result of Sivaji - The Hindu

People carried milk pots on their heads piously… Some pierced their tongues and cheeks with spears. Another group pulled a car hooked on to their skin… Crazy attempts for setting a record? Or a part of some temple festival? Neither. These were die-hard fans of matinee idol Rajni Kant wishing him success, in their style, for his latest flick, 'Sivaji'.

"Six-kku appuram sevenda, Sivaji-kku appuram aevanda… Pinneetteenga, thalaiva," a 58-year-old fan cried out a punch dialogue from the movie in full throat, vying with relatively younger fans to gain entry into a theatre to watch the film for the third time in succession.

Age is no bar when it comes to superstar Rajni Kant's fan following. Charisma of the hero pervades the society cutting across age, gender. Attraction is uncontrolled and unabating so much so that ticket sales for Sivaji have touched a new high crashing all previous records. And of course, along with that the ticket rates too have increased prohibitively. But who cares when you idolise Rajni Kant.

The film has been released in more than 500 theatres across Tamil Nadu.

In smaller cities like Madurai, other films are normally released in three or four theatres. But in this case, 'Sivaji' was released in nine theatres in the city alone.

What is it that makes this movie distinctly different from Rajni Kant's earlier films? Or what calls for such hype?

Unlike his earlier films, 'Sivaji' is big in every aspect. The AVM banner under which it has been produced, its production value, star director in Shankar, award-winning cinematographer and music director in K.V. Anand and A.R. Rahman, respectively, well supported by a strong technical team.

L.Ramachandran, a pharmaceutical distributor in the city, is thrilled every time he sees Rajni Kant on screen. "The title itself spells magic. His movements and dialogue delivery has the power to attract anybody. Once I am inside the theatre, I get fully immersed and involved and don't bother about anything else."

This, in fact, happens with many of Rajni's fans. During the first few days, much of the action takes place in the seating area than on the screen. For die-hard fans it is an occasion to show how loyal and dedicated they are to their matinee icon.
The day the film was released, fans in some theatres in the city liberally distributed chocolates and sweets to share their uninhibited joy.

Each fan tested the strength of his vocal chord while whistles were loud enough to puncture eardrums.

D. Samuel Lawrence, a retired English professor, came hard on such practices and went on to say it "is a step that takes people back to primitive stage".

"It is ridiculous and very difficult to understand. Even Rajni Kant will not have expect such adulation. In fact, he will not like his fans to react to his film in this way. Such an exaggerated importance will take us nowhere."

Brushing aside any negative remark, Bala. Thamburaj, one of the members of Rajni Kant Welfare Association city unit, says: "Our star enjoys a demi-god status here. It is two years since, the release of 'Chandramukhi', our 'thalaivar' has acted in movies. Even now the film is running successfully in a theatre in Chennai crossing 800 days. Our prime job now is to make 'Sivaji' a mega hit. Judging by the overwhelming response of fans and the public, we are confident of breaking all records."

It is not just the uneducated school dropouts perpetuating such adulation. Rajni Kant's fans are omnipresent. There are reports of medical students standing in long queues to reserve a ticket for the show in Delhi. A big IT company, in order to facilitate its employees enjoy a hassle-free viewing of the film, booked the entire theatre for an exclusive show for its staff.

With tickets reportedly booked till August, those who have been lucky enough to watch it in the first week say the movie is "Tamil but filmed in purely Hollywood style". Many have drawn parallels with Chhatrapati Shivaji, the 17th century ruler of Marathas. "If the Maratha icon was the terror for Mughal juggernauts, our idol is the terror for all black money launderers in the movie. It is not only an entertainer but also has a strong message for the people," says S. Vellaichamy, an ardent fan and a member of the Alwarpuram Rajni Welfare Association.

People may see effective marketing strategy behind the film's release that has made it the talk of the town.

But the number of Rajni Kant fans seems to be only swelling after every release. Leave alone the debate whether it is good or bad for the society.
What no one can deny is that his movies are thorough entertainers.

http://www.hindu.com/mp/2007/06/23/stories/2007062350010100.htm


Rajini reigns, Sivaji rules BO - CNN IBN

Chennai: A week after the release of Sivaji there are still no tickets available at a theatre in Chennai. As the board outside declares, tickets are sold out till June 26.

This, despite the fact the Rajinikanth-starrer has released in a record 18 screens in the city.

"Tickets are not available but we'll try to get it somehow and watch it," said a Rajini fan in Chennai, Mahesh.

"You have to wait for at least three hours to get hold of a ticket and you have to book it at least two days in advance," said another fan, Christopher.

Sivaji opened at over 850 screens and so the expectations from the producers are already high.

The producer's strategy to release a large number of prints so as to rake in revenues within the first few weeks of release seems to have paid off.

"Our role-model here is not to run for a long time to take revenues the way Kollywood or Bollywood is doing today. So we want to change the perception and say if you run it for so many days it doesn't make a difference-but it's how the revenue comes back to the distributors and exhibitors," said the producer of Sivaji M S Guhan.

It's a week after the movie hit the theatres and it's still running to packed houses even now.

And by the looks of it, the film is sure in to break some records at the box office.


THE SIVAJI PHENOMENON

Sivaji opened with a record 600-plus prints in Tamil alone.

A 160 prints were distributed in the US, the UK, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

Over 320 prints have been released in Telugu for Andhra Pradesh.

According to reports Sivaji has become the first-ever Tamil film to find a place in the UK Top 10 at No 9.

Filmed at a budget of Rs 85-90 crore, the revenue figures projected for Sivaji from Tamil Nadu alone is Rs 60-70 crore and is estimated to have grossed over 25 crores over the last one week in the state.

Overall, the film could be expected to gross over Rs 150 crore from ticket sales alone.

http://www.ibnlive.com/news/showbiz/06_2007/rajini-reigns-sivaji-rules-bo-43417.html

 

Singapore Media Reports on Sivaji

But hysteria over the film has yet to abate.

Tickets for the film - which stars Tamil cinema's 57-year-old megastar, Rajinikanth cost a hefty $15 each. But they're still selling like hotcakes at GVYishun and the Plaza Theatre in Jalan Sultan.

Sivaji was released on 14 Jun and is being shown on an estimated 750 screens from Singapore to the US.

Local distributor Ayngaran International could not provide the figures for Sivaji's takings for the opening weekend.

In Malaysia, the film has to date collected RM1.5 million ($672,000) at the box office.

Mr Boban Balakrishnan of Pyramid Saimira Group, the Malaysian distributor, told The New Straits Times: 'The movie has surpassed viewers' expectations. We are looking at collecting up to RM15m in another five or six weeks time.'

In India, fans booked tickets for the movie two weeks in advance.

And it's all due to Rajinimania.

The star, whose real name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, has charmed millions of fans by playing the street-smart anti-hero and rabble rouser. The former bus conductor is also the highest paid actor in India with a salary of 160 million rupees.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan earns between 70 and 80 million rupees according to trade sources, cited The Hindustan Times.

In Sivaji, Rajinikanth plays a rich Indian from the US who wants to do something good for the poor and the downtrodden.

With three hours to fill, there will be the usual potboiler devices of a romance, plenty of songs composed by maestro ARRahman and dances in multiple locations around the world.

There is also a villain who will put obstacles in his way and plenty of fight scenes (with the necessary dishum-dishum soundtrack).


FANTASTIC MAKEUP

Local fan Raj Narayan, 38, a director in a software company, told The New Paper he has watched the film three times so far and is planning another trip to the cinema.

He said: 'It's fabulous entertainment. He is 57 years old, but he looks like he is in his 30s in the film. The makeup was fantastic.'

According to the Indian newspaper Business Standard, French hairstylist Sandrine Verrier Seth was tasked to come up with different hairstyles to make Rajnikanth look younger in the film.

Mr Raj, who also runs a Rajinikanth website with some fans called Rajinifans.com, estimates that there are about 200 Singapore fans registered on the site with another 12,000 around the world.

Sivaji, made on a 650 million-rupee ($25m) budget, is considered to be the most expensive Indian film, beating Shah Rukh Khan's 2002 film Devdas, which cost 500 million rupees.

Business Standard reported that Rajinikanth is using the hysteria around Sivaji to promote his next film, Sultan The Warrior, a 3D animated feature produced by Adlabs and his daughter Soundarya's company, Ocher Studios.

It will be made in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and English.

http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/show/story/0,4136,133792,00.html

 

Sivaji takes Sri Lanka by storm

The Rajnikanth mania has gripped Sri Lanka too. His blockbuster Sivaji:The boss is on show 41 times a day in seven theatres across the island, with all shows running to full houses, Hindustan Times learns.

"People forget the war and queue up for tickets at the Monohara theatre. It's booked for a week now," said K Nathan, a resident of Jaffna, in north Sri Lanka. The film transports the viewer to a world of fantasy, a far cry from the grim reality of Jaffna where disappearances and killings carried out with impunity by unidentified warlords are the order of the day. 

The film is running to full houses in Trincomalee in the East and also in the plantation areas in Central Sri Lanka, which is home to lakhs of Tamil labourers of Indian origin.

"It's house fill. No tickets for another week," said the manager of Midland cinema in Nawalapitya in Central Sri Lanka, when asked if tickets were available.

Colombo, of course, is seeing the biggest draw, because 40% of its population is Tamil-speaking, and it has four theatres showing the film four times a day, simultaneously. The Cine City multiplex in downtown Maradana has 20 shows a day.

"Except for the 10.30 am show on weekdays, all the other three shows are booked for the next two weeks," an official of Concorde theatre in south Colombo said.

Serpentine queues form outside the theatres hours before a show. "Disappointed fans who fail to get tickets extensively damage the cut outs and the police barricades. Police were sometimes compelled to baton charge the unruly fans," The Island daily said in a front page story with a picture on June 19.     

The demand is so high that the Cine City management has raised ticket prices to LKR.250 and 300, reports Virakesari  a Tamil daily with the largest circulation in the island.

"There is such an anxiety about getting a seat that crowds rush into the hall even before patrons of the previous show had filed out. All seats get refilled even before the end of a show!" the paper reports.

"I am eager to see the film, but it will be a month before I can hope to get a ticket," said Tamil film buff, Minna Ahmad.

"It can't get bigger than this - Rajnikanth, the superstar and style king, and Shankar the showman of Tamil cinema, are coming together for the first time in Sivaji. The good news is that this awesome combo is able to whip up an entertainment extravaganza that is deliciously good to savour," says Daily Mirror in its review.

"The comedy in the first half is rollicking. Go for it - its entertainment guaranteed," the reviewer urges.

But Rajni and his film have their detractors too. The Sri Lankan Tamil website www.tamilnatham.com has posted an appeal to Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils to boycott Sivaji on the grounds that Rajnikanth, a "Kannadiga" and a "Kannada fanatic", has been fooling the Tamils for many years.

While mesmerising the Tamil masses with his glamorous films, and earning crores in the process, he has consistently supported Karnataka in all its disputes with Tamil Nadu, the website charges.

If the Tamils of Tamil Nadu are turning a blind eye to the plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, it is because their attention has been diverted by people like Rajnikath, it says.

Sri Lankan Tamil ultras often say that the Tamil film industry will totter if the Sri Lankan Diaspora, angry with the industry for not projecting their grievances, boycott Tamil films. Much of the industry's earnings come from the overseas markets, they claim.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/

"I've heard that tickets for the movie are being sold on the black market," he said.

"We don't want it to happen and are thinking of putting a check on it."

Accountant Vijay Kumar, who saw the debut show, told the GDN that the long wait was worth it.

"The long wait is not a waste; the hype is not a facade," he said.

"The hullabaloo is not hogwash - Rajinikanth has proved himself.

"The movie is simply stunning, splendid and superb.

"It surpasses all expectations and wins over all hearts.

"It is fantastic, wonderful and admirable. Passions soar. Spirits run high. Breathtaking moments flash every now and then - words indeed cannot describe the movie and it's the effect on you.

"Sivaji is Rajini's best."

Construction worker R Palanisami who also saw the movie on Friday said he doesn't regret paying BD5 for a ticket on the black market.

"Some of us had to pay BD5 for a ticket to watch the movie because we are die-hard fans of Rajinikanth," he said.

"We only get an off day on Friday and paid a taxifare to get to Manama from Durrat Al Bahrain.

"We have also conducted prayers at the temple for Sivaji to be a great hit and our prayers have been answered.

"This film is titled Sivaji to commemorate the memory of late actor Sivaji Ganesan.

"Another interesting point is the real name of Rajini is Sivaji Rao."

A company supervisor P Ashok, who does not understand the language well, said he could understand the hype.

"I was apprehensive to be honest because I am not a Rajini fan and could never understand the frenzy that he whips up every time his movie is released," said Mr Ashok.

"But catching Sivaji on the first day, I could understand why after I saw it. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly despite the language barrier.
"Several people, despite not having tickets, were present just to partake in the fun."

Some of the biggest icons of the Indian film industry came together for the movie, including director Shankar, music director A R Rahman and AVM Productions.

In the movie, which runs for three hours and six minutes, Rajinikanth plays Sivaji, the one-man demolition squad against black money.

It is the most expensive film ever made in the history of Indian cinema, costing Rs950 million (BD9m), and was released at an estimated 900 screens worldwide.

In every country it was released, tickets sold out for the first two weeks.

The film took 19 months to be completed and missed its original screening date of May 31.

http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=185443&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=30089

 

Chicago Tribune on Sivaji The Boss

As "The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," enjoyed a meteoric opening, singing, chanting and clapping patrons queued up outside the Bloomingdale Court Theater to see "The Boss." If the buzz continues, the film released worldwide Friday could become south India's version of a summer blockbuster.

Members of Chicago's Rajni Fan Club showed up wearing black shirts bearing a likeness of the film's star, Rajnikanth, who has appeared in more than 150 films.

After hoisting a watermelon with a flaming candle above their heads, club members smashed it to the ground as a gesture of celebration, eliciting cheers from the waiting crowd.

"This is like seeing a movie with Brad Pitt or watching something like 'Pirates of the Caribbean'," said Apoorva Anandan, 14, a freshman at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. "I got my tickets for this film a month ago, and I plan to see it a couple of times. I love films from my culture and American films as well."

About 3,500 to 4,000 families in the Chicago area speak Tamil, said Rajhu Raghuraman, a spokesman for Chicago Tamil Sangam, a non-profit south India cultural group.

"This is a huge event. The film's production costs were $15 [million] to $20 million, making it the most expensive film in India's history," he said.

In the film, Rajnikanth portrays a software architect who returns home from the U.S. intending to set up a charity medical college and hospital, but loses his seed money to an unscrupulous businessman.

Soma Subra, a marketing manager for film promotion company kollywoodusa.com, said the Bloomingdale theater's 12 weekend shows, each seating 300 people, were sold out. There also were U.S. openings in four other cities.

"We worked on arranging this [premiere] for about six months, and there are people from all over the country who are flying to Chicago to see this," Subra said. "We have 40 people from Seattle coming in, even though the movie is being shown in their city. They just want to be a part of the group here."

On Friday, patrons of all ages stood in line for the 10 p.m. show as hundreds poured out from the 7 p.m. viewing.

Karthik Mathan, 25, of Elk Grove said Rajnikanth's films are the second most popular in Asia.

"Jackie Chan is the biggest star, but Rajnikanth is No. 2," he said. "The films are usually action and comedy. Rajnikanth is known for his style and mannerisms. He flips his glasses around in a circle before putting them on, or turns a cigarette from front to back to front again before putting it in his mouth."

Mathan said Indian films "always last 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and have five or six songs in them" even if the movie is an action film.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/

 

All heads bow to The Boss - - Rajanikanth’s latest blockbuster is most-watched film at the plexes

Turn a blind eye to the garish get-up, turn a deaf ear to the Tamil dialogues and just bow to The Boss. Make no mistake, Sivaji-The Boss rules the city box office. Rajanikanth's latest blockbuster, which hit the halls here a week after its southern release, was the most-watched film at the plexes this weekend.

"Among all the films on our roster, Sivaji has recorded the maximum footfall at INOX (Forum and City Centre) and 89 Cinemas (Swabhumi)," says Saurabh Varma of INOX, which is distributing the film in the eastern region.

Over the weekend, Sivaji recorded an average occupancy of 70 per cent at the plexes, a first for a regional film and that, too, one with no subtitles. The Rajanikanth rage left in its wake other Friday releases — Bollywood's Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii and Hollywood's Premonition. Apart from Rahul Bose and Sandra Bullock, The Boss has beaten also-rans Amitabh Bachchan (Cheeni Kum) and George Clooney (Ocean's 13), Sanjay Dutt (Shootout at Lokhandwala) and Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean 3). While Bachchan and Dutt have been vocal in their admiration for "Rajani, the real superstar", Clooney and Depp's views on being thrashed at the box office by a balding, pot-bellied bus conductor (turned actor) are not known.

"The craze for Sivaji has been unprecedented, with Cheeni Kum a distant second at 50-55 per cent occupancy this weekend. The demand for the film seems to be increasing with each passing day," says Varma.

With Jhoom Barabar Jhoom a no-show at three of the four multiplexes in the city, Rajanikanth has enjoyed a dream run. And it's not just the south Indians in the city flocking to see their hero's first plex release. "The catcalls and clapping on Saturday evening at INOX (Forum) made it a phenomenal experience," says senior executive Bidyut Chatterjee, a Rajanikanth fan. Agrees entrepreneur Dilip Sen, who caught the first day, first show: "It was vintage Rajani stuff. I hope to catch the film again this weekend."

This enthusiasm, say exhibitors, should turn the tide for regional films at city plexes — all thanks to The Boss.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070626/asp/calcutta/story_7972573.asp

 

Despite Rains Boss pulls crowd in Pune - Times of India

PUNE: God proposes, Boss disposes. And so it was that even the rain gods in all their resplendence could not keep fans away from superstar Rajnikant's Sivaji, The Boss.

Released in the city on Friday, Sivaji opened to packed houses in all major theaters. A total of 20 shows are running in the city each day. And thanks to the hype, the first day was a huge draw.

"The first day audience had quite a good number of non-Tamil speakers," said Vijay Shetty, assistant manager at a multiplex. "Actually, a lot of fans had no idea that the film was in Tamil or that there would be no sub-titles."

Parking attendant Mukesh Shinde, an ardent Rajnikant fan, is dying to see the film. "But I heard from my friends that it is in Kannada (sic). They should have made a Hindi version too. Even so many English films these days are dubbed in Hindi."

Student Anurag Jha agrees. "I love Rajnikant's style and attitude, and language makes no difference there. But a lot of my friends would have come today if there was a Hindi dubbing or sub-titles. For now, they are planning to get their hands on a CD and watch the fun parts."

But despite the language barriers, Sivaji is probably the biggest non-Marathi draw in the city in the past few years. Said Rajeev Patni, regional director of a theatre group: "We do screen several good regional films. But this is the first time we are screening four shows everyday of a non-Marathi regional movie."

"We are showing the film at our screens with bigger capacity. Usually regional films are shown in smaller halls or have fewer shows. But the response for Sivaji has been tremendous," said Neerav Panchamiya of a city multiplex.

"There are many who don't understand Tamil and are watching the film just out of curiosity. I'm one of them," said Panchamiya. And what does he think of it? "I totally enjoyed it."
Unlike hordes of Rajnikant fans, media professional Sharda Ganesan watched the movie primarily for the lead comedian Vivek. And now she is a believer. "I have become a Rajnikant fan."

"Even people who don't understand Tamil should watch the film for Rajnikant and his style. The entire audience, including me, was hooting and whistling throughout the film. I never thought a multiplex audience would behave like this, but it was fun," she said.

Art professional Virendra Shah plans to watch the film before he leaves for the US, even though he doesn't understand Tamil. "I am going to miss India and I am trying to take in everything about the country before I leave. I am eating Indian food, travelling and now I am going to watch Sivaji. The film is truly a representation of the country and its craze for films and film stars."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

 

Sivaji takes Sri Lanka by storm

The Rajnikanth mania has gripped Sri Lanka too. His blockbuster Sivaji:The boss is on show 41 times a day in seven theatres across the island, with all shows running to full houses, Hindustan Times learns.

"People forget the war and queue up for tickets at the Monohara theatre. It's booked for a week now," said K Nathan, a resident of Jaffna, in north Sri Lanka. The film transports the viewer to a world of fantasy, a far cry from the grim reality of Jaffna where disappearances and killings carried out with impunity by unidentified warlords are the order of the day. 

The film is running to full houses in Trincomalee in the East and also in the plantation areas in Central Sri Lanka, which is home to lakhs of Tamil labourers of Indian origin.

"It's house fill. No tickets for another week," said the manager of Midland cinema in Nawalapitya in Central Sri Lanka, when asked if tickets were available.

Colombo, of course, is seeing the biggest draw, because 40% of its population is Tamil-speaking, and it has four theatres showing the film four times a day, simultaneously. The Cine City multiplex in downtown Maradana has 20 shows a day.

"Except for the 10.30 am show on weekdays, all the other three shows are booked for the next two weeks," an official of Concorde theatre in south Colombo said.

Serpentine queues form outside the theatres hours before a show. "Disappointed fans who fail to get tickets extensively damage the cut outs and the police barricades. Police were sometimes compelled to baton charge the unruly fans," The Island daily said in a front page story with a picture on June 19.     

The demand is so high that the Cine City management has raised ticket prices to LKR.250 and 300, reports Virakesari  a Tamil daily with the largest circulation in the island.

"There is such an anxiety about getting a seat that crowds rush into the hall even before patrons of the previous show had filed out. All seats get refilled even before the end of a show!" the paper reports.

"I am eager to see the film, but it will be a month before I can hope to get a ticket," said Tamil film buff, Minna Ahmad.

"It can't get bigger than this - Rajnikanth, the superstar and style king, and Shankar the showman of Tamil cinema, are coming together for the first time in Sivaji. The good news is that this awesome combo is able to whip up an entertainment extravaganza that is deliciously good to savour," says Daily Mirror in its review.

"The comedy in the first half is rollicking. Go for it - its entertainment guaranteed," the reviewer urges.

But Rajni and his film have their detractors too. The Sri Lankan Tamil website www.tamilnatham.com has posted an appeal to Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils to boycott Sivaji on the grounds that Rajnikanth, a "Kannadiga" and a "Kannada fanatic", has been fooling the Tamils for many years.

While mesmerising the Tamil masses with his glamorous films, and earning crores in the process, he has consistently supported Karnataka in all its disputes with Tamil Nadu, the website charges.

If the Tamils of Tamil Nadu are turning a blind eye to the plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, it is because their attention has been diverted by people like Rajnikath, it says.

Sri Lankan Tamil ultras often say that the Tamil film industry will totter if the Sri Lankan Diaspora, angry with the industry for not projecting their grievances, boycott Tamil films. Much of the industry's earnings come from the overseas markets, they claim.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/

 

 






 
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