Bengaluru: As if scripted by superstar Rajinikanth, his latest blockbuster Kabali took the city by storm on Friday, as thousands of his frenzied fans flocked to theatres and multiplexes to watch it on first day if not in the first show.
Though tickets for upper classes and special enclosures in about 60 cinema halls were sold out for all shows till Sunday, there was a scramble for tickets for lower classes, as hundreds of fans queued up at their counters hours before they opened.
Even as those who were lucky to watch the movie in the first three-four shows stepped out of theatres and multiplexes, cheering and shouting the film's catch-phrase Kabali da, many more were restive for their turn to watch it in which Rajini plays the role of a Malaysian don.
And those unlucky to get a ticket even in black were unfazed and hanged around to dance and make merry outside theatres and around multiplexes.
Many fans were also seen re-enacting Rajini's famous style of walking, shuffling his hands, combing his hair and repeating his dialogues from "Kabali" and his other films.
As in Chennai and elsewhere, huge cut-outs, posters and banners sporting Rajini were cynosure of all eyes at all theatres and multiplexes. A few fans even climbed up from behind to worship their demi-god by pouring milk on his bearded face, garland it and light incense before it.
While many fans preferred to watch the movie in Tamil for their Thalaivar's dialogues in original language, others settled for its versions in Hindi and Telugu but not in Kannada, as local laws do not allow dubbing of other language films into Kannada.
A few Kannada activists, led by former lawmaker Vatal Nagaraj of a regional Kannada Chakluvali Vatal Paksha protested against the hype and euphoria created by Rajini's fans, distributors, theatres, multiplexes, media and corporates by declaring holiday for their employees to watch the movie.
When an effigy of Rajini was burnt outside Nataraja theatre in the city centre, police rushed to the spot to control the situation and prevent the activists from going berserk.
"We are not against showing films of other languages in the state or in Bengaluru, the most cosmopolitan city in the country. But they cannot be shown at the cost of Kannada films, which are seen by the majority of the people across the state, who are Kannidagas and prefer to see Kannada movies," Nagaraj told reporters.