Stage set for a grand release of Rajinikanth’s Kabali

The Madras High Court has dismissed a petition seeking to stall the release of Rajinikanth’s upcoming film Kabali.

The development gave a big relief not only for the producers, but also the actor’s fans, corporate houses and some of the leading brands who have booked tickets in bulk for tomorrow’s shows. Industry sources said the tickets are going as high as Rs 9,000.

Amar Abrol, CEO AirAsia India and Ramadorai of AirAsia will be flying down to Chennai along with the Rajini fans from Bengaluru to watch the movie at Chennai.

While the movie will be released around 10,000 screens across the world tomorrow, some scenes from Kabali reportedly have leaked online on Wednesday night.

Movie’s producer Kalaipullai S Thanu said “Watching #Thalaivar entry on phone or computer won’t give you goosebumps. Say thank you to pirates, let’s watch it in theaters from Friday :)” he tweeted.

Reports stated that pujas were performed and Rajini’s idol was given a royal bath by his fans.

At Nasscom’s HR summit too, the movie was mentioned. Nasscom’s President jokingly in its initial remark at the inaugural session thanked the speakers for being at the event despite the Kabali release and fever is catching up across the city.

One of the top 3 IT companies receipt for Rs 1 lakh towards Kabali tickets is one of the largest shared picture in WhatsApp from Wednesday night. The one was a letter issued by Secretary of Tamil Nadu Government asking for 10 tickets.

Many IT, real estate and other companies have blocked screens for their customers and employees.

These are the few examples on how the hype regarding the movie is reaching high pitch.

The movie has raked in around Rs 220 crore through sales of distribution rights and tickets for the first weekend of the movie were sold in hours with corporates joining the queue for bulk booking, according to sources.

In North India alone, it will be released in around 1,000 screens, which is one of the highest for a Tamil movie. It is getting released in India, US, Canada and Malaysia, among others, this week. The versions other than in Tamil would be released later.

While several corporates have been queueing up for brand tie up with the movie till last week, this week many have started joining the queue, at least in Chennai, to book tickets in bulk for their employees. For instance, the city-based start up Freshdesk is in talks with a major multiplex to book 700 tickets for July 23, Saturday.

Girish Mathrubhootham, founder of the company is a hardcore fan of Rajinikanth. In December 2014, when Rajinikanth’s previous movie Lingaa was released, the company had around 200 employees and Freshdesk booked tickets for all of them and their families.

This time, with around 700 employees (it has raised around $94 million in total from private equity funds and has made five acquisitions within an year), the company found it difficult to book ticket for all the employees and their family members in a single location and will be restricting the bookings to the workers alone, said company spokesperson.

Another leading Chennai-based IT firm is planning to distribute around 100 tickets, to 50 employees, through its employee engagement programmes during the week.

While in Chennai, the ticket prices are kept under a cap of Rs 120 a seat, cities like Bengaluru are also seeing the ticket prices at several multiples of this, according to sources. However, some screens in Chennai also are trying to cash on it by charging additional amount such as an extra Rs 100 per seat as “reclination charges”, without which the online booking is not possible, according to movie buffs.

Sources said that one of the distributors for Karnataka is organising special screenings in hotels including JW Marriott, Royal Orchid and Crowne Plaza, and the tickets are going at a rate of around Rs 1,300.

The movie would also be one of the first to see the size of brand partnership in a movie, especially a Tamil movie.

The producers has tied up with around eight national and international companies for brand promotion, including Mondelez International, Air Asia, Bharti Airtel, Emami, Muthoot Fincorp, Amazon, PVR Cinemas and VS Hospitals.

D Paranthaman, CEO of V Creations has said that the brand promotion value of the tie ups put together would be more than Rs 50 crore. For instance, Muthoot Fincorp alone has announced an investment of around Rs 20 crore into sales of Kabali silver coins with the face of Rajinikanth. It has already sold 20 kgs of silver in the first four days after it started booking. The silver coins of 5 gms (Rs 350), 10 gms (Rs 700), 20 gms (Rs 1400) and 10 gms pendent (Rs 700) will be distributed from the date of release of the movie, said company officials.

Cadbury was initially planning to have the promotion for a month, but has extended for another two more weeks.

The merchandise is sold through Amazon, which is an effort to fight the unbranded Kabali merchandise which took a toll on the brand Kabali and Rajinikanth.

The Rajini fans have already started the celebrations to welcome their favourite actors’ latest flick, but many of them follows a different style. Fans associations have contributed to orphanages and cut Kabali cakes with the poor children.

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Stage set for a grand release of Rajinikanth’s Kabali

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