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Monday, July 18, 2016

'Kabali' da ! ... hype behind the movie ~ pouring milk to cutouts !!!

Those who are  in middle ages, would remember the olden days scramble for milk in the morning. In the mid 1970s was the paradigm shift in the city of Chennai to pasteurized milk. Prior to that the localities depended entirely on the neighbourhood cowherds for milk. When the change occurred, initially it was arduous.  The milk van would come early in the morning, the attendant at the booth would unload and nap for a few more minutes. Around 0500 am, there would a big queue lined before each booth. Each had to carry either the empty bottle as replacement for the milk in bottle or carry a utensil, into which the milk from the bottle would be poured.  An year ago, I had posted about Aavin milk empty crates being stolen away.  Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers' Welfare Association stated that  the thieves took away  more than 50,000 crates over six months in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. 

On every media page, there is news about ‘Kabali’ – the movie starring Rajnikant. Indian Express reported that - ‘Kabali’ is getting unprecedented traction in the US as the film will hit 400 screens in the country on July 22. The 159th film of  Rajinikanth’s four-decade-long career is slated for  a global release. The actor will be seen as a don who fights for Tamils in Malaysia in ‘Kabali’, which will also dubbed and released in Hindi and Malay.

Not sure whether it was Annamalai or some other movie .. it was at Albert theatre in Egmore, which initially screened only Hindi films.  It was some paisa and was always crowded in mid 1980s.  As we walked nearer the theatre, one could see a short person climbing the huge cut-out and reaching the top, burnt camphor on his hand showing as ‘dhrushti’ for the actor ~ more fanaticism was to follow as he poured milk over the cut out even as the onlookers shouted in joy.

A Rajini film getting released is no ordinary thing for the fan.  The FDFS (first day first show) is a phenomenon that’s considered quite an experience much beyond the actual movie – an ordinary person cannot the enjoy the movie itself, while for the fan it is great fun of shouting and letting out his emotions.  Lot of things could get thrown at the screen; fans could break into  impromptu dancing; the villain would get shouted at and cursed for opposing Rajnikanth.

Though may be out of place, remember that there was so much hype surrounding the release of Baba which was talked in crores with reports adding that it  earned Rs 15 crore for its Telugu version and Rs 8 crore through distribution in Japan.  A couple of months ago, there was an injunction suit filed against Rajinikanth and his fans for wasting thousands of litres of milk when his films hit the screens. A petitioner named Dr IMS Manivanna approached the court to prevent Rajinikanth's fans from wasting milk, Hindustan Times reports. "The milk is the resource of our society and when we are saving the rain water for our next generations, so why shouldn't we save milk. How can we waste the milk when it is the resource of our own society?" Asian News International (ANI) quoted the petitioner as saying.  This practice is followed by fans of some other actors too and perhaps such acts occur in neighbouring Andhra /Telengana also.

Now read this report that appeared in The Hindu, Chennai edition : ‘ While milk abhishekams or milk baths on cut-outs and banners are a major part of any major Kollywood star’s movie release, the Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers’ Employees Welfare Association has voiced its concerns against the revelry. The association has called for a ban on the milkabhishekams ahead of the release of superstar Rajinikanth’s Kabali . The movie,  is set to release on July 22 and the last few days ahead of the release promise a lot of activities and fan frenzy from the various fan clubs that the actor has.

“During every release of a major Kollywood actor, many fans who want to indulge in such activities steal milk packets that are unloaded from trucks and kept outside the shops and booths of milk dealers early in the morning. This causes huge losses to dealers and we dread any major Tamil movie release since these celebrations go on for at least the first three days of a release,” alleged A. Ponnusamy, president of the association. Alleging that many litres of milk were stolen during a popular actor’s film release in April, Mr. Ponnusamy appealed to Mr. Rajinikanth to intervene and tell his fans not to indulge in such revelry. Office-bearers of the association handed over an appeal to a few representatives and coordinators of the fan clubs on Saturday. In the appeal, they further asked the actor to address his fans and ask them to conduct blood donation camps outside all theatres and engage in socially responsible activities during the release.

Representatives of the fan clubs responded that they would take a collective decision in consultation with Mr. Rajinikanth on whether the milk abhishekams should be stopped as a whole and would make an announcement regarding the same, closer to the date of the movie’s release. However, a member of a fan club said that over the years, many fans had taken to organising charity drives, awareness programmes and blood and organ donation camps in the actor’s name. “We do not restrict ourselves to celebrations on the first day alone and also try to coordinate and organise such initiatives before or even after a movie’s release,” he said.

It is after-all another movie, one tends to say !   the hype however appears unprecedented as it reportedly is to be screened  across 27 screens of SPI cinemas in Chennai -  and  within a few hours all the tickets for the 96 shows had been sold out for the first three days. it was similar experience elsewhere too, with tickets reportedly costing up to Rs. 600/-  Miles away in Malaysia, the tickets reportedly cost Rs.1600 approx.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th July 2016.


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