Sivaji: India hails; Malaysian fans distraught


    MUMBAI: It was a sight one rarely gets to see at a Mumbai multiplex. Unlike single screen theatres, the multiplex is one place where one doesn’t get to hear hoots, whistles, claps not to mention slogan chants and worshipping crowds.


    But that’s exactly what one saw at a suburban Mumbai multiplex and no prizes for guessing that the star that demanded such adulation was none other than Ranjikanth on the eve of his latest film Sivaji: The Boss.


    A stupefied shopper approached this reporter and inquired what the hullabaloo was all about. The frenzy should have been seen to be believed. Fans gathered outside the multiplex screen prior to show’s screening and chanted slogans unanimously. The decibel levels were so high that sometimes it was difficult to fathom what they were exactly saying!


    The movie viewing experience for Sivaji: The Boss was surreal to say the least. The otherwise well-behaved and so called suave ‘multiplex going crowd’ turned into single screen frontbenchers. Moviegoers went into an uproar when their idol made an appearance on the silver screen. When he broke into a dance, the crowd hooted, clapped, danced and even threw confetti.


    When the bad guy in the movie passed derogatory remarks to the actor’s character, the crowd cursed and hissed in anger at the on-screen villain. When he performed his histrionics with the coin, sunglasses and even his bald pate, they cheered like there was no tomorrow. Complete silence prevailed when the actor fought with death in the film and cheers followed when he miraculously came back to life. If idle talk is to be believed, directors, as a rule, never let Rajni’s character die in their films for fear of his fans going berserk and ransacking theatres.


    And if you thought that only India could witness such frenzy… think again.< Page Break >


    According to reports, ethnic Indian fans wrecked at least 10 cinemas across Malaysia after a nationwide premiere of Sivaji: The Boss was either delayed or canceled due to technical glitches.


    What’s more, the police were called to control angry fans, many of whom asked for refunds and compensation for money they spent on fuel and toll charges to come to the theatres.


    According to a news report, the Sri Intan theater in Klang district near Kuala Lumpur was temporarily closed for repairs after a mob damaged the lobby, shattered lighting and sound equipment and setting fire to part of the cinema.


    Pyramid Saimira Theatre Chain, which is distributing the movie in southern India and Malaysia. The movie was to release across 52 screens in Malaysia. The Star quoted Pyramid Saimira Theatre Chain (M) Sdn Bhd chairman S. Vel Paari as saying that there had been technical problems including a shortage of prints supplied by the Chennai-based movie’s producer. Reports indicate that 11 prints of the movie were to be downloaded from the internet and there was a delay in receiving passwords for Internet downloads.


    Reuters quoted Paari as saying, “Rain and delay in getting the digital password from India for security reasons to beat piracy were the primary reasons for the delay and cancellations. Because of the rain, our delivery was affected and as a result, there was a delay in the screening of the movie.” 


    Sri Intan theatre manager N. Kalatharan was quoted in a news report as saying that the technical problem arose because the movie was screened using digital system for the first time.


    With all the antics in and around the movie, the fans are in for a visual treat and the producers are no doubt laughing all the way to the banks.