October 1, 2010 7:23:06 pm
WHAT would you call a theatre owner who shuts shop for renovation when Bollywoods biggest blockbuster Dabangg hits the single-screens?
Naive? No,A Rajinikant fan, replies Nambi Rajan,owner of Matungas Aurora cinema hall,as he supervises its makeover with his single-screen gearing up for the latest Rajinikant movie,Endhiran in Tamil and Telugu and Robot in Hindi.
The walls are being given a fresh coat of paint,the 1942 wooden interior artworks been polished,the torn seats stitched,water dents in the roof plastered and the sound acoustics replugged.
Rajinikant is nothing less than a festival, says Rajan,whose distribution network Ganesh Films has now bought the rights for the Tamil and Telugu titles for Northern India,meaning all states apart from the four in the South.
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All this is one last extravaganza before the southern cinema landmark gets demolished at the end of the year,making way for a multiplex if negotiations work. I have spent over Rs 5 lakh already. Some work will be pending,but overall the auditorium is going to thunder when Rajinikant appears, he says.
He is next to God, he describes his idol,but says that is only because Rajinikant is down-to-earth. In 2007,when Sivaji released,a family that had seen it in a multiplex turned up for a second viewing at Aurora and told him: Ange andha feel kadaykaley (we did not get that feel there). An IT company from Pune booked for the entire office,the manager yelling on the phone,We want to see Rajinikant inside Aurora.
Among the fans Rajan has seen over the years,some have slept outside the theatre days in advance,with no money for food but just enough for a ticket. Once a boy,disabled from the waist down,took ages to cross Matunga bus stop and reach the theatre. He would not go home because of the time it would take him to return the next day. We gave him a free ticket,put him in a taxi,and gave him enough money to return the next day. Fans make movies. We have given free tickets to many fans. It pinches,but I know how it is to be a Rajinikant fan, says Rajan,who advises women not to come the first day.
In the 1980s,when he got the rights for Dalapathi,the tickets at all the citys theatres were gone in 10 minutes. No other hero can make grown men behave that way. For one last time,I want to give Rajinikant fans that perfect ambience where they can worship him. Lets just say that any Tamilian who speaks Tamil is a Rajini fan and Rajini is their talaiwar (leader), he says.
For the rest,his style is enough. You never hear his dialogues anyway,as fans are jumping,screaming and sometimes tearing chairs.
*DHARAVIS MAHARASHTRA Rajinikant Fan Club Association (the only registered such club of over 100 in the state) is trying to get permissions to hoist a 100-foot Rajinikant poster,says Anand Raj,executive member.
*THE PLAN includes taking the film reels on a horse- drawn chariot to a Matunga temple before reaching the theatre,with over 100 men holding pal kudam on their heads leading the procession.
*WE WILL break a larger pumpkin and more coconuts this year when Rajinikant makes an appearance. It will ward off evil,says executive member Anand Raj.
*A PROPOSAL has been sent to the collectors office to introduce larger tickets with Rajinikant pictures on the rear side,to replicate the Tamil Nadu theatre culture.
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