This sounds like one straight out a book of Rajinikanth-is-god jokes. There was only one thing that stood between the remake of the Superstar’s Thillu Mullu and total box office domination on Friday — Superman aka The Man of Steel. As trade pundits forecasted that Thillu Mullu, remade 32 years after K Balachander’s original, would make a killing, the distributors of Man of Steel in Tamil Nadu have gone ahead and released it on a whopping 145 screens. A representative of Thenandal Films reportedly said that they were confident that the Superman-magic would work in down centres and the city’s outskirts, which is why the film has been released on 125 screens in Tamil. Considering Thillu Mullu has released on 375-odd screens worldwide, this is one of the largest releases for an English film in the state.
Meanwhile, there was very little fanfare surrounding the release of Thillu Mullu, which was surprising considering the fact that fans of Rajinikanth are known to support any film that has even a little bit to do with the Superstar.
“It is true. We did not do any pujas or abhishekhams for the films success like we do for Thalaivar’s films, but we did go to his house and sought to meet him before we went to watch the film first day first show,” said Vinodh K, the secretary of a Rajini fan forum online. A few other young fans from his association — mostly IT and BPO employees — took time off from work and watched the film on Friday, he said.
This wasn’t the case with many of the older, more die-hard fans who grew up watching Rajinikanth films. Despite Thillu Mullu being booked out in most multiplexes for the rest of the weekend, many of them said that they would not watch the film because it didn’t “feel right.” Said S Ravi Kumar, who claims to have been a rasigar mandram member in Vandalur area for over three decades, “There is only one Thillu Mullu and that is the one that Superstar showed us how to do a comedy film in. I watched it immediately after I got married and I have watched it at least 10 times afterward. I will not watch this film because no one can replace the Superstar or remake a film without him.” Quite a few other frenetic fan club members from Tiruvallur, Polur, Arni and even Kancheepuram said that they had no plans of watching the remake. “I have only one movie plan in mind - Kochadaiyaan. Everything else is nothing,” said Raghuraman, who owns a petty hotel in Arni and has been a die-hard Rajini fan since 1976.
One major turn-off for most fans is that the makers have been branding Shiva as the Agila Ulaga (Universal) Superstar — as far as they’re concerned, there’s only one Superstar and everyone knows who that is — he’s the man whose film was remade after 32 years and still gave Superman a run-for-his-money.