CHENNAI: There’s no official merchandise in sight a month ahead of the superstar Rajinikanth’s Kabali release. But local e-tailers have already begun cashing in on the craze with fans. Just type the words Kabali T-shirt on Google and a host of websites pop up including Fully Filmy, Innation, My Dream Store and Fresh Monk. Believe it or not, there’s even a ‘Rise of the Kabali T-shirt’ review on YouTube (which has over a thousand views) that is four minutes long between ripping open packaging and trying it on.
Even Murali Anand, who has a background in advertising and no existing clientele base for clothing products, was shocked when he put out a post on social media about paying tribute to Rajinikanth with fan-made Kabali tees. “I didn’t even have to post pictures of how it looked like and all of a sudden I was getting Facebook messages requesting bulk orders for the entire family and extended relatives. It was crazy!” he recalls.
Priced anywhere between `350 and `600, the primary sales pitch reads ‘limited edition’ — although this appears quite to the contrary with the high demand rolling in. Money making gimmicks aside though, when was the last time you saw merchandise to promote a Kollywood film?
With franchises in the West raking in millions over Star Wars light sabres and Angry Birds stuffed toys, perhaps it’s time producers sat up and looked at possibilities beyond houseful theatres. Also, for once it isn’t small time retailers manufacturing ‘copies’ of what is trending in branded stores. Instead Kabali T-shirts seem to be picking up at a steady pace via the modest independent rung of players on the Internet in cities like Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. You won’t find these on Flipkart or Snapdeal just yet. But just wait, it looks like a ‘Superstar storm’ is on the horizon.