Kabali reaches fever pitch in fan-crazed Chennai

Fans set off firecrackers, gave out sweets and poured milk over giant postersĀ 

Fans of superstar Rajinikanth queued overnight for a 4 am screening of his new movie Kabali on Friday in Chennai, where many companies abandoned hope of staff coming to work and closed for the day.

Tickets for Kabali, which stars Rajinikanth as an ageing gangster, sold out well before the release and were changing hands on the black market for up to Rs 5,000.

It is quite apparent that the 65-year-old actor inspires an almost god-like adulation in Tamil Nadu and beyond. Fans in the state, however, refer to him simply as ‘The Superstar’ or Thalaivar.

To celebrate Rajinikanth’s new film, fans adopted the signature hairstyle of Rajinikanth’s character from the movie. Some even had his face tattooed on their arms as they awaited the release.

In Chennai, fans set off firecrackers, gave out sweets and poured milk over giant posters advertising the movie, a tradition that derives from the ritual of bathing Hindu idols in milk.

Rajinikanth famously worked as a bus conductor in Bengaluru before heading to Chennai in 1973 to pursue a career in acting.

His last major film, science fiction epic Enthiran, was one of India’s most profitable releases ever, making a record-breaking $ 13.8 million globally on its opening weekend in 2011 – including $ 4.4 million in the United States alone. In 2014, Rajinikanth also starred in Lingaa.