Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Boss rules Delhi - The Hindu

Superstar Rajnikanth's "Sivaji, The Boss" is smashing all records on the cinema circuit in Delhi too, reports ZIYA US SALAM
Photo: V.V. Krishnan

On popular demand Rajnikanth's "Sivaji, The Boss" plays to houseful shows in New Delhi
A little piece of history has just been created on the cinema circuit of Delhi. For the first time ever, a non-Hindi, non-English film is running at 20 screens across the city. The film in question is the much, much-talked about Sivaji, The Boss Rajnikanth's blockbuster that estimates reveal is set to garner Rs.250 crores from the box office earnings over the next few weeks. And in the process shame the collections of many Hindi films – and even Bhojpuri films which ha ve never made it to a multiplex in Delhi– in the Hindi-speaking areas.
Says K.V. Anand, film's cinematographer, "This was my first opportunity to work with Rajnikanth. When we made the film we never imagined that the film will be such a phenomenal success in non-Tamil speaking areas. We thought it would do very well in Tamil Nadu, in Kerala, parts of Bangalore and Mysore which have a sizable population of Tamil speaking people. And the dubbed Telugu version in Andhra Pradesh. But we never thought that the film will do so well in Delhi and other areas."
Incidentally, the film opened with barely two prints in the first week, enabling the local distributor to play it at four halls with some smart time juggling. Now, the film is playing with six traditional prints to go with five digital prints.
Non-Tamil audience
Again some time management and shuttling means the film is running at every multiplex in and around Delhi. Meanwhile, it has opened in Kolkata too and doing roaring business worldwide.
"There are lots of Tamil-speaking people, both Indian and Sri Lankan across the world, they have made it a hit," says Anand.
The point is reiterated by Nanbirajan, North India distributor of Sivaji, "We expected positive response but not this kind of craze. Not just in Delhi but in Mumbai, Poona, Kolkata and even Chandigarh multiplexes are playing Sivaji to houseful shows."
The film's local distributor, Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts, says, "Most of the audience for Delhi-UP is non-Tamils. It is going to break all records in the territory. I expect the film to go on the lines of Jurassic Park. When I released Jurassic Park in dubbed version, people doubted the wisdom but it collected more than one crore rupee. This time, I have got the film on a sharing basis. We have demand for more prints. We are also trying to show the film at single-screen theatres. This is an open week and the exhibitors have responded well to the film."
Incidentally, reveals Anand, 12 extra prints of Sivaji… were printed earlier this week to cater to the rising and unexpected demand. "In the past, films like Chandramukhi were shown in Delhi in one or two shows and other Tamil films only on Sunday mornings. When Chandramukhi had run for about 50-70 days we got some prints back from the rural areas which were sent to Mumbai-Delhi-Kolkata. This kind of demand for a Tamil film cannot b e imagined."
No publicity
The film notched a neat 100 per cent at the box office in the first week in Delhi.
Even as multiplex restaurants are trying to add South Indian food items like rasam, sambhar and uthappam to the menu, Ghai smiles, "There is craze for Rajnikanth everywhere. We are only showing the Tamil version with no subtitles or anything. People love him, know him. They love his gimmicks, his mannerism. They understand the music. The film is running on its own. We need no publicity, no stars to come and address the media. The product is selling by itself."
He adds, "Why all the fuss about playing a Tamil film? People go to see Spiderman and other films without understanding English. Here they at least relate to the culture. You don't need an interpreter to enjoy Sivaji The Boss."
Meanwhile, efforts are afoot to come up with the dubbed Hindi version of the film. "We have written to the producers. It will be dubbed in to Hindi," assures Nanbirajan.
The Boss shall continue to rule the box office.

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