'Vishwaroopam' fever catches on, fans celebrate release

Chennai, Feb 7 (IANS) Queuing up outside theatres from as early as 5.30 a.m. to offering garland to Kamal Haasan's cut-outs, fans went berserk when "Vishwaroopam" hit about 600 theatres Thursday after approximately two weeks' delay.

Written, produced and directed by Kamal Haasan, the film got an overwhelming response when it hit some 600 theatres across the state. The word of mouth from those who saw it in other states persuaded the audience to flock theatres from as early as 5.30 a.m.

"We sold about 450-500 tickets for our first show at 8.00 a.m. Since today being Thursday, we had about 85-90 percent occupancy, but we're sure it will increase during the course of the day, especially later in the evening," a spokesperson of Rakki Cinemas told IANS.

"Recent releases such as 'David' and 'Kadal' have been replaced with 'Vishwaroopam' in all four screens. We're screening five shows a day", he added.

The tickets are moderately priced at Rs.80 to Rs.100 in single screens and Rs.120 in multiplexes.

According to a multiplex representative, there was so much rush to watch the thriller that online bookings "suffered traffic congestion for a few hours since bookings opened".

"We had to shut it down for some time and open extra window for tickers to be sold over the counter. The tickets for the next five days are sold out," he added.

Theatres are screening as many shows as possible to attract as many footfalls as possible. The first show starts as early as 6.a.m. and the last screening is at 10.30 p.m.

One of the leading multiplexes is screening more than 80 shows across multiple screens.

In Woodland theatre, celebrations started around 6 a.m. Fans celebrated by putting garlands on the large posters of the actor, poured milk on the life-size cut-outs and even danced to songs from Kamal Haasan's films.

"Fans have been patronising since Tuesday evening, making arrangements for the grand release. They erected large cut-outs of the actor and even printed T-shirts with his picture. We had to open the gates as early as 6 a.m. since by then they had already gathered around the theatre," a Woodlands theatre representative said.

Kamal arranged a special premier of the film for close family and friends in the industry Wednesday.

" 'Vishwaroopam' takes Tamil cinema to all new level. It's a visually brilliant film made on par with Hollywood standards. I didn't find a single scene objectionable as it's a fictional story set in Afghanistan," G. Dhananjayan of Disney-UTV said.

The film was banned after Muslim outfits sasid they found some scenes portraying their community in bad light. It was allowed to be released after Kamal agreed to edit a few scenes as pointed out by members of Muslim organisations.

"No such scene in the film hurts anybody's sentiment. Some scenes where terrorists were shown reciting verses from the Qoran before execution were muted. I saw the film in Hindi as well as Tamil, and I didn't find any cuts per se," said Vinay Kumar, who watched the film.

The film is expected to have a grand opening.

"Only actors such as Rajinikanth and Ajith Kumar are known for blockbuster openings, but from the initial responses from people, it's very likely that the film will have a great opening. Trade pundits are expecting anywhere between Rs.7 to Rs.10 crore on the opening day," trade analyst Trinath said.

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