Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Film attracting record crowds

AN Indian film is proving so popular in Bahrain that it is the only movie being shown at two theatres and tickets are selling on the black market. Sivaji - The Boss stars Rajinikanth, one of the highest paid actors in India, along with Vivek, Suman and Shreya. The Tamil movie was first released at Al Hamra Cinema on Friday, but proved so popular that screenings started at Awal Cinema, said Bahrain Cinema Company marketing and public relations head Sunil Balan.
All four shows in each theatre saw 100 per cent occupancy, with almost 90pc of seats booked on Wednesday.
"This movie has made a historic mark in Bahrain because it is the first time that more than one theatre is showing only one movie over and over," said Mr Balan.
"Previously, a movie would be shown at Al Hamra and Awal on the same days, but not for all the shows.
"This is also the first time we have experienced 100pc occupancy in our theatres for any movie just an hour after the release.
"The seats for all the shows at both theatres are 90pc booked already for the next week - a record.
"We have never experienced anything like this before and our decision seems right."
Mr Balan added the movie was expected to run in Bahrain for at least a month and nearly 5,000 people saw it on Friday alone.
He admitted hearing that tickets for the movie were being sold on the black market, but wouldn't comment further.
"I've heard that tickets for the movie are being sold on the black market," he said.
"We don't want it to happen and are thinking of putting a check on it."
Accountant Vijay Kumar, who saw the debut show, told the GDN that the long wait was worth it.
"The long wait is not a waste; the hype is not a facade," he said.
"The hullabaloo is not hogwash - Rajinikanth has proved himself.
"The movie is simply stunning, splendid and superb.
"It surpasses all expectations and wins over all hearts.
"It is fantastic, wonderful and admirable. Passions soar. Spirits run high. Breathtaking moments flash every now and then - words indeed cannot describe the movie and it's the effect on you.
"Sivaji is Rajini's best."
Construction worker R Palanisami who also saw the movie on Friday said he doesn't regret paying BD5 for a ticket on the black market.
"Some of us had to pay BD5 for a ticket to watch the movie because we are die-hard fans of Rajinikanth," he said.
"We only get an off day on Friday and paid a taxifare to get to Manama from Durrat Al Bahrain.
"We have also conducted prayers at the temple for Sivaji to be a great hit and our prayers have been answered.
"This film is titled Sivaji to commemorate the memory of late actor Sivaji Ganesan.
"Another interesting point is the real name of Rajini is Sivaji Rao."
A company supervisor P Ashok, who does not understand the language well, said he could understand the hype.
"I was apprehensive to be honest because I am not a Rajini fan and could never understand the frenzy that he whips up every time his movie is released," said Mr Ashok.
"But catching Sivaji on the first day, I could understand why after I saw it. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly despite the language barrier.
"Several people, despite not having tickets, were present just to partake in the fun."
Some of the biggest icons of the Indian film industry came together for the movie, including director Shankar, music director A R Rahman and AVM Productions.
In the movie, which runs for three hours and six minutes, Rajinikanth plays Sivaji, the one-man demolition squad against black money.
It is the most expensive film ever made in the history of Indian cinema, costing Rs950 million (BD9m), and was released at an estimated 900 screens worldwide.
In every country it was released, tickets sold out for the first two weeks.
The film took 19 months to be completed and missed its original screening date of May 31.

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