Jul 1, 2007

Sivaji Thiruvizha at Tempe

Having been in the sleepy town of Tempe for close to two years, I have heard of a few carnivals, and event that have had record number of participants. I have seen classical music concerts that have attracted lot of Indian crows, say 200-250. I have seen movies like Vettaiyadu Vilayadu attracting a huge crowd to the theater in such number that, extra chairs had to be put behind the existing seat and I was sitting in the first row. The crowd was all calm and composed except when Kamal appeared on screen for the first time. But this time it was different and had to be different.

Rajinikanth, the hero of the masses and classes had his second release in two years and it meant the union of the celebrated director Shankar, music wizard ARR and this great actor. So there was no shortage of hype at all. Any movie-based site, news-based site had atleast one article on the movie everyday. The advance booking begun a while ago and the tickets for a month were sold out in India on the first day itself.

Here in Tempe, the movie was getting released on the same day as the rest of the world, except for the time difference. Dilip got the tickets for this one, almost four weeks in advance. And I saw that the tickects were all sold out 3-4 days before the movie itself, something that rarely happens here. I expected to see a big Indian, Tamil crowd at the theater.

What I saw was definitely a lot of Tamil people and a equal number of non-Tamil people. The name Rajini is just magic to attract people to the theater. The parking lot was full, at 8:15 pm itself, even though the movie begins at 9:30 pm. All the cars had their speakers blare out Athiradee, Ballelakka and other songs from the movie. The serpentine queue to get into the theater to catch the seats never seemed to get smaller. It was a reunion for a lot of friends who least expected to see their friends at this event. For a few of them, it was a reunion after a couple of years. A big crowd of people without the tickets went back home dissappointed.

The students group from Tucson, came in with special shirts for the occasion and took the first row of seats. The theater was full at 9 pm itself. Sivaji songs along with songs from Shankar's other movies were played. There were long trains of people that went around the theater hall. It was indeed fun to watch the same excitement as in any theater in India.

The trailer for 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' was played and none of us wanted to see it and all of us juse wanted to see Rajini. Next came the trailer of the animation film on Rajini 'Sultan', which was enough to stir us up. Next came the AVM logo and then Superstar Rajini logo, which was entirely new and drew whistles and claps in great numbers.

Flowers are not that widely available in Tempe, but that didn't prove to be a problem to the fans. Shredded bits of paper did the job, and it was only those bits of paper in the air for the first 10-15 minutes, and every time when Rajini had something really stylish to offer.

There was no dearth of whistles, claps, laughter throughout the movie. And that's entertainment too. The crowd onscreen was entertaining and the crowd offscreen was entertaining to the same extent too. It was indeed a fun filled outing. I doubt if this is going to happen again. It is something that happens once in a lifetime.... a lifetime of Rajini's film.

In short, it was a Thiruvizha with lots of people, flowers, praises etc. The only thing missing was a Rajini cut-out. Is that too much to ask for?


  1. This is the first time I am actually writing a comment for someone. I always thought blogging was a complete state of (If I could borrow your own words) 'vettiness'!! But I must say it is interesting to read your blogs and most importantly ,it keeps you in touch with writing (e-writing is also a form of writing!). Keep up the good work!!


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