Kabali. Probably the most talked about word in recent times, probably the most tweeted hashtag on twitter and definitely the best publicized movie this generation has seen. The movie, starring superstar Rajnikanth has managed to break records unlike any other movie ever released before, and the Kabali madness was not just in India, but the world over.
The movie was released on Friday, the 22nd of July, 2016 and naturally, this being a Rajnikanth starrer, the hype was all over the place, leading to a festive spirit at all the theatres across Bangalore and some waiting outside theatres early in the morning. While some put garlands on the statues of Rajnikanth, others poured milk on the statues and posters and some others danced, all reveling in the glory of being a Rajnikanth fan.
Air Asia launched special flights from Bangalore to Chennai just for Kabali, they even decked up their aircraft in special Kabali livery, an Audi in Bangalore had Kabali number plates on it(KA 8 AL 1) BMW’s, Swifts, Auto Rickshaws, Motorcycles were all found with Kabali stickering all over them. A Hyundai Dealership and Maruti Suzuki Dealership launched special edition Kabali Cars and a fan in Malaysia covered his entire Lamborghini up in Kabali Stickers. This is the kind of madness and hype that the movie had generated.
Would the same hype still be all over the place even after the weekend? Especially given the fact that the movie has received bad reviews and ratings, well, that is exactly what I set out to find on Tuesday, the 26th July. This would actually reveal the true colours of the fanfare around the movie.
Expecting a filled parking lot, I parked my motorcycle a few hundred metres away and walked to the famous theatre only to find 80% of the parking space empty and only a few people. Yes, that was the scene at one of the City’s oldest and most famous Cinema theatre.
The person behind the Ticket vending counter revealed that only half of the seats were filled, for the matinee show, and the public reaction was not all that great either. The few people that I spoke to, all had the same thing to say “Rajnikanth was excellent, but that Movie was just alright”.
There was a Traffic policeman waiting outside the theatre expecting heavy movement of vehicles, but one can see that it was pretty empty inside. Even the garland on the huge hoarding was all dried up.
The Rex Theatre, located at one of the most happening places in the city, Brigade road, was a lot more crowded than Cauvery Theatre, but the Security guard revealed that the movie was not selling very well and only about 70% of the seating capacity was filled.
The people coming out of the Theatre did not look as thrilled as the people who were shown in News Channels and Newspapers on Friday. Almost all people here said that the movie was average and when asked about the Hype, the answer was unanimous, saying that it was the ‘Rajni Effect’.
There was a policeman here too, and for good reason. This was at Brigade road and cars had formed a queue on Brigade road waiting to get inside the theatre.
Everest Theatre, located in Frazer town is one of the typical local theatres in terms of Ambience, cleanliness and comfort, compared to the multiplexes frequented by most movie-goers today. I arrived here too expecting a hooting and howling crowd, but found many bored faces and few smiling faces among those coming out after watching the evening show.
Well, it certainly looks like most of the ‘Kabali’ hype has died down over the weekend, especially after the movie was rated to be average and below average by most Movie review websites and columns. All the hoopla about the movie was created by Rajnikanth’s fans who were all just waiting for a chance to see their hero on the big screen. Most of the fans would have already watched the movie on the first day itself, and it is only the Rajni fans who want to watch the movie, hence explaining the half empty theatres during the weekdays. All the theatres reported that the seats would get more and more filled up as the day goes by, with most demand coming in for the Evening and Night shows. The morning and afternoon shows are running almost empty.
Kabali has therefore proved to be a great hit amongst Ranjkanth Fans, as does every movie of his, but for movie buffs, this one is a miss.