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What happens when you watch Rajinikanth's film 'Lingaa' on the big screen: You don't just see the movie, you live it

What it's like to sit through a Rajinikanth film in a jam-packed movie hall in Pune.

Prajakta Hebbar | IBNLive.comimsopraj

Updated:December 18, 2014, 3:48 PM IST
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What happens when you watch Rajinikanth's film 'Lingaa' on the big screen: You don't just see the movie, you live it
What it's like to sit through a Rajinikanth film in a jam-packed movie hall in Pune.

Pune: Sometimes I feel like I don't know my own city -- the city I was born and raised in, the city that taught me the difference between being a Punekar and a being a Puneite.

As a features writer, I'm good with weird. Artwork that looks like it has been made by sticking together bread crumbs, hairballs and candies; famous actors who stick to the script even when not in front of the camera; or passionate 'indie' artistes (special attention to the 'e' in 'artiste') who dream of improving cinema, but end up as sidekicks in popular Bollywood films -- I usually am not surprised by anything.

But Rajinikanth changed all that.

Having grown up reading, watching and hearing about the veteran actor's larger-than-life persona, I had come to imagine his fan following as an exaggerated sort of fame -- somewhat like the Rajinikanth jokes that make rounds on social media. Little did I know that everything you hear about the actor is true -- especially about his fans.

That's why I was flabbergasted when I found out that an 8:30 am show for Rajinikanth's Tamil film 'Lingaa' was houseful in Pune.

When I reached the movie hall near University of Pune on that cold winter morning, I was astonished to see a bubbling crowd of eager fans, barely able to stand still. With huge smiles and ready cheers, they rushed to find their seats as soon as the gates to the movie hall opened.

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What happens inside a theatre where Rajinikanth movie is playing, is a totally different story. My education, work experience, my parents' sanskaars and the occasional fights with auto-drivers -- nothing had prepared me for this experience.

To begin with, there's incessant hooting in the movie hall -- like, all the time. People dance, throw pop-corn in the air, remove their jackets, tie their mufflers around their heads and dance in sheer ecstasy. Every time Ranjinikanth appears on screen, or even opens his mouth, the crowd bursts into frantic applause and wolf-whistles.

After a while, it gets difficult to hear the dialogues, but you are past such mortal unimportant details. All that matters is the moment -- and you participating in it.

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After holding back and trying to maintain my calm demeanour, I was shocked to see a violent screeching noise coming out of my mouth as Rajinikanth jumped from a hot air balloon to kick a ticking time bomb into the ocean, as he caught his lady love with one hand. A superhuman feat, you say? Just another day in the (on-screen) life of the Thalaivar.

So what I'm trying to say here today is this -- everything you've heard of Rajinikanth and his loyal fans is true. A passionate group of followers, they are as much a part of the star's film as is the story, actors, music etc. Moral of the story: Don't just watch a Rajinikanth film, experience it.

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