‘Paal Abhishekam’: ‘Fans stealing milk packets’ for film releases, Tamil Nadu dealers seek banhttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/tamil/paal-abhishekam-fans-stealing-milk-packets-for-film-releases-tn-dealers-seek-ban-5553129/

‘Paal Abhishekam’: ‘Fans stealing milk packets’ for film releases, Tamil Nadu dealers seek ban

With the thefts causing a huge loss to traders, the outfit representing milk dealers in the state has approached the police with three demands.

‘Paal Abhishekam’: ‘Fans stealing milk packets’ for film releases, TN dealers seek ban
Rajinikanth fans perform paal abhishekam in Chennai to celebrate the release of Kaala.

A day after Tamil actor Simbu appealed to his fans to generously pour milk on his cutouts ahead of the release of ‘Vandha Rajavathaan Varuven’, milk dealers in the state have approached the police, complaining of rampant theft of milk packets during superstar releases in Tamil Nadu.

With the thefts causing a huge loss to traders, the outfit representing milk dealers in the state has approached the police with three demands: a ban on ‘paal abishekam’ (pouring of milk) on cutouts and banners of actors, steps to prevent wastage of tonnes of milk, and protection to milk outlets in the early hours of the release dates. The Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Employees’ Welfare Association filed a complaint after they failed to resolve the issue with the help of superstars.

S A Ponnusamy, the association’s president, said they have been raising the demand for a ban on ‘paal abishekam’ since 2015. “It has become a menace now and the theft of milk packets is rampant. We have approached all top actors on whose cutouts this ritual is conducted. We tried to meet and sent requests in registered posts to Rajinikanth, Ajith, Vijay, and almost everyone. But none of them have done anything to resolve this,” Ponnusamy said.

“Usually, trucks carrying milk packets reach the city in the midnight. In the early hours, the supply to outlets begins. It is a usual practice that we keep milk packets in boxes outside shops. That is the time when fans steal these packets whenever there is a superstar movie release,” Ponnusamy said.

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He said that police often “refuse to probe or register a case saying that they could help only if the theft happens inside the shop. Since they (fans) steal milk boxes kept outside, they are helpless, it seems.”

He said Kamal Haasan and Sivakarthikeyan are the only actors to have responded to their complaints. “Haasan met us and his fans are doing better things like blood donation camps during film releases. Sivakarthikeyan fans also raise awareness on the need of helmets for bikers and distribute tree saplings on the day of his movie releases. Rajinikanth, Ajith and Vijay fans continue to trouble us,” he said.

In a video message to his followers, Simbu asked them to follow in the footsteps of his senior colleagues and their fan clubs, and appealed to them to erect as many flex boards ahead of the release of ‘Vandha Rajavathaan Varuven’ on February 1. “You do (erect) maximum flex boards, you may generously pour milk (on my cutouts), not from packets but from huge jars. Nobody will ask, do it in a ‘vere level’ (higher level). I am telling you this,” Simbu said in an unprecedented appeal by an actor to fans.

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Surprisingly, he had earlier posted a video message appealing to his fans to do good things for their parents instead of erecting flex boards or indulging in ‘paal abhishekam’. However, he later changed his plan following remarks from some corners that the actor was avoiding a grand celebration because he does not have as many fans as his rivals. He said he changed his opinion to display his fan following.