The much awaited Rajinikanth starrer Kabali, which released on Friday, is expected to garner over R100 crore in the first three days. According to trade estimates, the movie has garnered about R30 crore on the first day of its release in India. Blue Ocean Film and Television Arts (BOFTA), Chennai, said the movie has garnered about R15-20 crore overseas, including $1.5 million in the US alone.
N Chandramouli, CEO of TRA Research, which tracks the entertainment industry, said, “Despite the movie getting poor reviews from a section of the media and others, the film will easily generate R200 crore in collection over the next week.” G Dhananjayan, a film producer and founder of BOFTA, said though the maximum price of a ticket in Tamil Nadu fixed at R120, the first day shows would have gone for an average of R200 a ticket. Tickets to the movie were sold between R400 and R800 per ticket at many multiplexes.
Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults, said, “Though the film has got mixed reviews, the fan club of the superstar will ensure that the film is a grand success. One has to wait till Sunday to get a clearer picture.”
Earlier in the day, frenzied fans poured thousands of litres of milk on huge cut outs of the megastar and sang and danced outside theatres at 4 am. Companies declared a holiday and parents kept children out of school.
Kabali is being released in more than 12,000 screens across India as well as in the UK, Malaysia and Singapore, where his followers are legion. It also premiered in 400 US theatres. Rajinikanth, who is holidaying in the US, and fans attended a special screening in San Francisco.
In some places, special prayers were held for the success of the film, a reminder that Rajinikanth’s popularity has been dented despite back-to-back flops in “Kochadaiyaan” and “Lingaa”. Some die-hard fans flew from Japan, where he has huge following, to witness the drama typical of a Rajinikanth release.
The Tamil drama, which has also been dubbed in Hindi and Telugu, ran to packed houses in metros like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and cities across Kerala.
In some places, fans complained of lack of availability of tickets as they were bulk-booked by individuals and companies well in advance though there was an overall mood of joy outside theatres that screened the multi-crore film. But whoever had the ticket did not complain.
“Naan vanthutennu sollu… Thirumbi vanthutaennu sollu… Kabali da (Tell them I have arrived. Tell them I am back. It’s Kabali)” was the favourite punchline fans repeated when asked what caught their attention.
Fans of the ‘Thalaivar’ celebrated the release of “Kabali” in different ways including on social media. A three- minute music video, brought out by a fan in Kochi, has gone viral online.
Sandhya Ramani, a graduate student at University of Colorado, Denver, said she had timed her vacation to be in Chennai for the film’s release. “It’s something that can’t be explained in words. It’s just Rajinikanth. He’s mind blowing,” Ramani said.