CHENNAI: With just hours left for it to hit the screens in India, the Kabali mania has assumed a feverish pitch, smart operators have hit the social media with tickets for the film on Day 1 on Friday. Sale of movie tickets in 'black' through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has become rampant, with these sellers making a killing by offering these tickets for exorbitant prices.
Though the Tamil Nadu government has fixed Rs.120 as the maximum price of a movie ticket, the going rate for the opening show (popularly known as first day-first show or FDFS) was anywhere from Rs.500 to 1,500. The rate varied for subsequent shows depending on the thearte.
As almost all shows booked out till Monday and long queues in theatres for getting the tickets for shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, die hard fans of the 65-year-old matinee idol, Rajinikanth, are willing to pay whatever the sellers demanded. "It was mostly members in the Facebook fan pages who sold tickets online," said S Vishakan, a software professional.
There are two rival fan clubs in Chennai who had booked tickets in elite theatres on Monday when the online counters were opened and started reselling it on Thursday. One such post by a seller in
Facebook around seven in the evening reads, "Woodlands 22.07.2016 first day matinee show 8 tickets available call 98415*****" When Express contacted, the seller said the balcony ticket (original cost was Rs.100) was available for Rs.800.
That, however, may not be the final figure in some case. "Though the seller agreed to sell me six tickets at Rs.1,000 each over phone, he demanded Rs.1,200 when I went to collect it from him directly at T Nagar," said S Sadhish, a software professional. "Since several others ready to but them by paying more than the quoted price, I brought it."
When Express contacted these fan club members who sold tickets, many resorted to the claim that they had purchased the tickets to watch the movies with their friends, but were forced to sell it as they wouldn't be able to go for that show due to personal reasons.
"Corporate bulk booking even before the online ticket sale began was the main reason for the sudden spike in demand and the touts made maximum benefit out of it," said T Vinay, a Rajni fan. Several small theatres in the city not confirming the movie's release until Thursday evening also helped the sellers demand more, he added.
Some had purchased tickets from these sellers to watch the opening show at Chengalpattu, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram as several small theatres didn't confirm the release till Thursday evening.
Even direct ticket sale at theartes went unchecked. "We had purchased the film at a very high rate. What we collect within the first three days matters the most and it was almost impossible to breakeven if we don't charge Rs.20-30 extra," said a theatre owner requesting anonymity.
However, there are also FB pages that have managed to keep a check over these sellers. "We received complaints that the sellers tried to bargain more than what the government has fixed. In these cases we have blocked them," said V Varun, admin of Movie Ticket market, a FB page with more than 50,000 members.