NILGIRIS: Over 400 Ajith and Vijay fans from Gudalur travelled over 45 km to Sultan Bathery in Wayanad in Kerala to watch the first day first show of Varisu and Thunivu on Wednesday due to lack of theatres in the area. While some fans hired cabs, others travelled on two-wheelers to catch their favourite actors in action.
U Nowsad, a resident of SS Nagar in Gudalur, told TNIE, "For the past 15 years, I have been watching the first day first shows of movies of both Vijay and Ajith by taking a day off from my job and travelling to Sultan Bathery where two theatres screen Tamil movies. Not only that, I go to watch other Tamil movies in Sultan Bathery on Saturdays and Sundays as there are no halls in our district."
Nowsad, a fish trader, said, "Sultan Bathery is 45 km away from here, and Ooty is 50 km away. But we prefer to go to Sultan Bathery to watch movies as the sound quality is better in theatres there than in Ooty."
R Prabhu Anand, a 32-year-old Ajith fan from Gudalur said, "It takes around four hours to reach Sultan Bathery and return, so we take the whole day off from work to watch a movie. I had to close my saloon to watch the movie, due to which I lost Rs 1,000. We could save time if theatres open in Gudalur."
Velu Rajendran (56), a news reader in a local television and literary enthusiast, said, "The Narthagi theatre used to function on the Gudalur -Calicut road till 1988. It was turned into a marriage hall due to poor patronage. Likewise, another theatre, Thangamani was closed five years before Narthagi, as a result of which people are forced to go to Kerala to watch movies. People prefer going to Ooty to avoid the hilly terrain. The state government should take steps to ensure a theatre in Gudalur not just for the sake of the locals, but for the tourists visiting the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve as well."