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Sivaji gold rush sweeps the globe
Rediff Entertainment Bureau | June 22, 2007 13:06 IST
Here is a look at what happened around the world during the release of the star's 100th Tamil movie.
From the United States to Britain, from the Gulf countries to the South Asian countries, Sivaji has ruled, with the South Indian Diaspora lapping up the film. An online booking site claimed that the opening shows across the United States were sold out within 24 hours.
'Nothing like this has ever been witnessed before. Shows in New Jersey, Chicago, Minneapolis and Virginia are experiencing unheard of sales. One of the biggest centres in the nation, San Jose/Fremont, will be opening up shortly. There is no doubt this centre will have sold out crowds in a matter of hours,' the site said.
In Chicago, for instance, the film was booked for the first 12 weekends even before its release, with fans paying up to $25 for a ticket. When Spider-Man 3 opened, the tickets were priced at $18.
The Chicago Tribune reported : 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.
One expatriate fan bought popcorn for $50 and distributed it to the audience in a hall in the US. Generous? No, crazy is the word, for the popcorn was to substitute confetti and used whenever Rajni appeared on screen!
'There was this guy in the theatre who wore a Sivaji-style wig, and entertained people even before the movie started. There was another guy, who spent around $50 on popcorn and distributed it to everyone so people could throw it in the air when Rajni filled the screen. Another gang brought camphor and pumpkins to show to a Rajni poster. They started dancing and yelling way before the film started,' a fan wrote in.
A theatre in Singapore, struggling to keep up with overflowing fans, is reported to have screened 15 shows in a day.
'Every film I will not miss and I see them at least one time -- minimum one time, and maximum up to 10 or 20 times. He is my very favourite actor. He is a very good inspiration for me. I love him,' the report quoted a fan as saying.
Sivaji, which is being shown only in 12 screens in Britain, has fetched one of the biggest starting collections ever on the island and has put to shame the much hyped Yash Raj film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, which has only collected nearly Rs 23 million despite being shown in 47 screens,' the report said.
Movie halls in Abu Dhabi did not fail to cash in on Sivaji mania either. They hiked ticket prices and sure enough, the fans didn't mind.
'I have watched the movie four times and I will watch a few more times. Price hike does not make a difference because such movies deserve it,' said the Khaleej Times quoted a caterer named Gopinath as saying.
While Gopinath would have burned a hole in his pocket, about a thousand labourers in Dubai were in luck. The Rajni World Welfare Trust, an NGO, will distribute tickets free of costs to the workers, including housemaids.
'There are many hard-working labourers in Dubai who wish to watch the movie but cannot afford it. That's why we decided to buy tickets for them,' an organiser said.
In Malaysia, like everywhere else, it broke the box office records, collecting Rs 60 lakhs on its opening day.
Earlier, fans had gone berserk when the movie's screening was delayed, causing losses running into lakhs.
'Movie fans turned violent causing thousands of dollars worth of damage in Malaysia when the screening of a new South Indian flick was delayed or cancelled,' a report said.
'In the central Selangor state, northern Perak and Penang states, police were needed to stop Friday's violence, the New Straits Times newspaper said. At the Sri Intan theatre in Klang, west of the capital Kuala Lumpur, fans destroyed speakers, tore the screen and curtains and broke chairs after the movie came to an abrupt stop midway due to a technical problem,' the report added.
And finally, fans in Japan -- where the star has an inexplicably huge following -- will get to see the movie by the end of June.
The movie will also be released in South Africa sometime around the end of June for which 50 prints are in the making.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi