Fear of coronavirus is nothing when compared to the love for their favourite stars. Large crowds gathered in and around multiple theatres in Chennai after tickets became available for Master, Vijay’s next release. The film will be releasing later this week on January 13, 2021.
The star has a massive fan following in the South, particularly young men. They came out in huge numbers to line up outside the theatres to book their advance tickets. Even though the pandemic is still raging, with newer strain striking fear among some, these crowds through all caution to the wind.
Crowds outside Rohini theatre for #mastertickets . Theatre owner had to call the police as they had limited staff to handle the lines with no physical distancing. pic.twitter.com/OXTVdzUnID— priyankathirumurthy (@priyankathiru) January 10, 2021
As seen in the pictures and videos uploaded by multiple people on Twitter, the mostly young male crowd followed none of the protocols associated with the pandemic. There was no social distancing, majority of the folks had uncovered faces i.e. they went maskless.
The government advisory in multiple states have made masks compulsory (a fineable offence) but the news hadn’t reached these ardent fans. Some media outlets that reached the spot asked the fans about this lack of caution, to which many responded that their masks were lost due to the crowd.
Some of the most popular theatres like Rohini in Koyambedu and Ganga theatre in Kolathur were so overcrowded that people can be seen pushing one another to simply stand.
Kolathur Ganga theatre Counter BookingAnother Thalapathy FortCorona va nenaicha dha #MasterPongal #MasterFilm #Master #மாஸ்டர் pic.twitter.com/6tPaQaoxu9— வாத்தி தளபதி (@ItzMasterGopi) January 10, 2021
The News Minute reported that some of these people had been waiting since 1 AM the previous night to grab their tickets. Others stood in line for whole day so that they could watch the movie first day, first show.
The crowds became so unmanageable that Rohini Theatre called the police. They later closed their booking counter and moved the entire process to only online bookings. Though some of those who had been waiting in line were allowed to buy the tickets before it got out of hand.
This is not the first time this film has caused concerns regarding the pandemic. Lead actor Vijay met with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to allow 100% occupancy for the film. Following the pandemic, movie theatres were allowed to open on the condition of 50% occupancy. But Vijay managed to convince the government to allow his film to go “house-full.”
This had caused many health officials to come out against this decision citing public safety. Following outcry and intervention from Madras High Court, the government decided to revert to the 50% occupancy rule. While it’s safer than a fully crowded theatre to some extent, many health experts are still against the idea of going to theatres or malls even a year into the pandemic. As closed areas like these use recycled air, and have little ventilation, it gives the virus a better chance at spreading.