CHENNAI: There Is no escaping ‘The Force’ in most parts of the world - from Star Wars branded apples in grocery stores in the US to fans demanding a Jedi temple be built in Turkey. In Chennai however, perhaps because of a delayed release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the hype surrounding this cult franchise is low, so much so that some fans like 20-something TT Sriram bashfully admit, “I almost forgot the movie is releasing on Friday!”
But hardcore fans in the city clearly do not need the ‘hype’.
“Advance bookings for tickets that opened at midnight on Tuesday, have been selling like hot cakes,” said a source, who works at a popular theatre chain in the city. He added, “We’ve sold about 50 per cent of our tickets for opening day of the film on Wednesday and expect to be sold out on Thursday.”
The 10-year-long wait since the last film in the franchise was released together with the Christmas holiday has contributed to Chennaiites looking forward to watching a world of Jedi Knights and lightsabers. Add to this the fact that ‘The Force Awakens’ is in continuance with ‘Return of the Jedi’, which was released over 30 years ago in 1983, hard core fans will be doing nothing less than wallowing in all its elements.
Having watched all the six previous movies in the series, Srikanth S tells us, “I was beside myself with excitement when I saw a life size installation of a TIE fighter (villainous fighters of The Empire) while at Changi Airport in Singapore recently. He goes on, “There was even an orchestra playing the Star Wars in a mall there!” So in contrast, the lack of a mood in Chennai may have dulled his anticipation just a little.
That apart, steering clear of the ‘dark side’ for most fans over the last week has meant avoiding social media like the plague. No spoilers, no plot revelations, no cast interviews till December 25. “I’ve been waiting for so long, I don’t want some stupid spoiler to steal my thunder,” rants Srikanth. We can only think of one classic response to this steely resolve: May the Force be with you.