Kabali Mania Grips the Nation

July 22, 2016- For many, this date would be a “self” declared national holiday. ‘Cause it’s the day when their very own Super Star, from the south of the Vindhyas, has a movie release- Kabali

If you think you have experienced fanaticism, wait until you have seen a “First Day First Show” of a Rajini movie. Not long ago, in a popular theatre in Egmore in Chennai, I experienced this unique fanaticism. As early as 4.00 am in the morning fans gathered around the life sized cut out of the actor to perform “paal abhisekam” (a holy bath with milk). It is a tradition that has been there for years now, for every new movie of Rajini Kanth. As fans hooted inside the movie hall in a feverish pitch, I noticed the currency notes and coins that were flung into the air- a few landing on me. The frenzied fans danced, clapped and shed tears as their “Thaliava” rendered punch lines after punch lines on the big screen in front of them. He was their living god! In a country obsessed with films, no other actor enjoys this kind of fan following. His appeal reaches far and wide, touching both the masses and the elite.

But what makes Rajini Kanth the phenomena that he is?


When a humble Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, took to acting way back in the seventies little did he (or the world) know that he would become one of the biggest stars of South Indian Cinema. Having worked in over 150 films under the stage name of Rajini Kanth, his commercial stardom has been unmatched. His style, idiosyncrasies on screen, and punch line dialogues gripped the psyche of the people. His movies carried tailor made dialogues, with a message for every common man. No wonder, despite a couple of commercial setbacks, even at the age of 65 years, Rajini Kanth movies still garner enthusiasm, making him a phenomenon of sorts.

In his latest movie Kabali, set to release this Friday, Rajinikanth plays the role of an ageing don based in Malaysia. His fans understandably are excited to see what the film brings.

And cashing in on this Kabali Mania, are Big Brands, groups and corporates with Kabali merchandise and special screenings. From key chains, coffee mugs and phone covers; to silver coins and credit cards embossed with the image of the actor, the merchandise are flying off the shelves. Recently a fan in Malaysia took his Lamborghini Gallardo that sported Kabali posters, for a spin.

On a bigger scale, the official airline partner for Kabali, Air Asia unveiled an aircraft with images of the star and the movie. The airline has also planned a special flight from Bengaluru to Chennai for fans to watch the first-day-first-show of the movie.

For many of Rajini’s fans, it is a sort of obligation, to watch his movie first day first show. And this is the sort of magic Rajini weaves for his viewers.

*Featured Image Source: Air Asia

  1. Haha..yes, I can never understand the frenzy around stars and their movies. I was witness to a Rajni movie screening at Chennai too, though, not a first day, first show. This man indeed creates some magic I fail to fathom. It’s amusing to simply watch the spectacle, so to speak.

  2. I am a Rajni fan but sadly couldn’t make it to a private screening of the movie! Idolizing an actor is amazing to see. I just love the energy of the audience when they see their “deity” 🙂 And of course, Rajni is a phenomenon! So humble too.

  3. I never could really understand the immense craze for him. The kind of extent his fans can go to, like the paal abhishekam that you mentioned, drives all sense out of me. But I would definitely give him credit for being able to touch masses like no other could. His humility and simple living, not to mention the punch dialogues, are admirable. Looking at how the crowds worship him, I cannot help but feel a tinge of pride sometimes. Its a mixed feeling.

  4. I can never understand the craze for actors. Rajani or others. Things that you mention seem too much and even in my office in Bangalore, some have taken a day off to go watch the movie. I know of a guy who watched the previous Rajani’s movie some 39 times in a week. Imagine!

  5. I love reading about pop stars in other countries. I would love to know your personal experience though! What are your memories? Is Rajani important to you too? Why?

    1. “Rajinikanth” his fans are made him God and why not? He being high paid actor ensure his fans are cherished well. I am not that movie freak, still I admire him, though I will not fit into his “Fan” list. I heard he live a normal life, catching up with his old friends who are not rich, eating food at roadside, helping people in need. Not discriminating rich and poor.

      It will not be wrong if I say “Rajinikanth is important to all, because of his down to earth nature towards all people.

      1. Lata, It is his fans who have made him an icon of sorts. Agree he is a humble soul and his idiosyncrasies on screen bring a smile on to one’s face. Yet the fandom and craze is something I can seldon fathom.

  6. I agree. The level of hype this time is unprecedented at so many levels. The plane thing itself is unbelievable. Now companies have officially announced leave as well. Man, does this movie have a lot of expectations 🙂

  7. I love the flavor you bring to the first half of this essay – one doesn’t have to understand or feel the fervor to observe it, and you did a great job conveying that sort of hectic energy.

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