It is yet another indication of the growing Indian influence here that Rajnikant's Sivaji continues to top the box office here, more than a month after its release. Sivaji's success has come as a shock to most locals, since for them Indian cinema so far began and ended with Bollywood. Most people simply do not know that there are thriving film industries in other parts of India as well.
'Who's this guy?' was the common refrain about Rajnikant when Sivaji was first released. The upmarket multiplexes all refused to screen the film, since they thought its audience would be confined to working class South Indians. They must be rueing their decision now, since the run down, less classy theatres, which did accept Sivaji have all, made a killing.
It has been Rajni-mania across the Gulf for the past month. One group of Rajni fans in neighbouring Sharjah distributed tickets to Sivaji free to blue-collar workers in the vicinity, who they knew could not afford the price Dh 25 (Rs 275). Attendances in many workplaces dropped as employees played hookey during the day to watch Sivaji.
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