Chennai | Avid Rajinikanth fans celebrated the release of the superstar's 'Jailer' across Tamil Nadu on Thursday, marking the actor's return to the silver screen as 'Tiger' Muthuvel Pandian in a hugely anticipated action flick that appears to have opened to good reviews.
Ahead of the film's release, a debate ensued over the 'Superstar' title, generally considered to be the 72-year-old star's exclusive domain, over his ability to rake in the moolah at the box office. His last few films are said to have received lukewarm response.
However, fans and even some film critics opined on Thursday that the Nelson Dilipkumar-directed 'Jailer' seals the argument effectively in favour of Rajinikanth, who became a trendsetter in Tamil cinema with his stylish antics that included lighting a cigarette and the flick of the hair.
Movie theatres across the state, said to be booked full house through the week, wore a festive look as fans cheered and danced while gathering for the first day, first show.
The flick had hyped up expectations as the teaser, promising action-packed entertainment, was received well. Going by various social media responses, the film seemed to have opened to good reviews.
Among the early audience here was a Japanese couple that had travelled all the way to the southern city to catch a glimpse of the actor's latest film.
"Hukum-Tiger ka Hukum (Tiger's order)...to see Jailer movie, we have come from Japan to Chennai," Yasuda Hidetoshi, Rajinikanth fan club leader in Japan, told PTI.
'Inga naan thaan kingu...," Hidetoshi reeled a dialogue from the movie. It means "I am the king here," a one-liner billed as the actor's subtle reply to the 'Superstar' debate.
Hidetoshi also said he had been watching Rajinikanth movies for over 20 years, starting with 'Muthu.' The actor has a good fan following in Japan.
Tirupur Subramaniam, film distributor and head of Tamil Nadu's Theatre Owners' Association, had told PTI earlier: "It is a Rajinikanth film. Of course, it will be ushered in with celebrations. We don't have fan shows any more like before, but that is not dampening the spirit of the fans. The movie is being shown in 900 screens across Tamil Nadu and all of them wear a festive look." Gautam Dutta, Co-CEO, PVR INOX Limited, said the movie was attracting diversified audiences.
"We have received unprecedented response to the opening day release of the multi-lingual and multi-starrer Jailer with over 2 lac (sic) tickets booked in more than 2,000 shows running across more than 550 screens in PVR INOX theatres," he said.
The movie is attracting diversified audiences considering it is being released beyond the native language in Tamil with dubbed versions in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi, Dutta added.
Fans in Tamil Nadu held prayers for the success of the film, slated to have been made on a big budget.
'Jailer' also stars Mohanlal and Jackie Shroff, although the roles that they are playing have been kept out of the limelight so far. The ensemble cast includes Ramya Krishnan, Tamannah, Vinayakan and comedian Yogi Babu. It has music by Anirudh Ravichander.
Sun Pictures has produced the film.