By: Settu Shankar
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Superstar Rajini's Shivaji has become a new phenomenon in Indian Cinema. It is the first ever regional language film which has rocked the global market. Soon the film will be dubbed into other languages like Malay, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. People all over the world are delighted over its release and many celebrated its release in a big way.
According to sources from AVM, more than 300 prints have been sent for overseas distribution through 5 distributors including Ayngaran. Nearly 340 theaters have been allotted to exhibit the film in 25 countries besides India. Shivaji is the only Indian film being released with this record number of prints and theaters for overseas distribution. Shahrukh Khan's blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge was released overs with 60 prints in the nineties. In Tamil no other film has reached even the half way mark of DDLJ excluding Rajini's Chandramukhi. A couple of years ago, Chandramukhi was released overseas with 90 prints. It was a record number at that time.
UK: Shivaji has received tremendous opening all over the world, and sources say that it will be included in the UK top ten film for the first time ever, though the rating is yet to be out. This most expensive film of Indian Cinema has been screened in more than 15 centers in the UK including Scotland and it rocked the theaters. In London alone, it was released in 5 theaters and the response has been great right from the first day. Initially, the exhibitor was planning to show the film only for a week but it has been extended to 28th of this month on witnessing the huge crowd. It is the first Tamil film being released in Scotland (Glasgow). It is pulling huge crowds in places like Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Liverpool, Stockport, Bolden and Crawley.
USA: The Tamil version of Shivaji was released in 46 theaters in USA on 14 th June. Usually, releasing Indians films in US is a weekend affair and there is no place for any such movies in the working days. But in most of the theaters, Shivaji is still running as regular shows even after a week. In few theaters the exhibitor had extended the shows for few more days after requests from Indian fans. It is the only Indian film which being screened at the IMAX Theater in Indianapolis. There was only one show screened in IMAX in the city on 17 th June. But it is considered as a big honour to an Indian movie in the US. People from Florida, California and other neighbouring states have gathered at the Indiana State Museum IMAX Theater to enjoy the experience of watching their 'Thalaivar' movie in the big screen.
It is the first time in the history of Washington DC, that both Tamil and Telugu versions of the film are running simultaneously for 1 week and tickets being sold out for the weekend. Going by the response, the movie might be extended or released again in a couple of weeks in the Capital .
In the Bay Area, Shivaji was screened in 2 theaters and a record number of tickets (5000 for Tamil only) were sold out on the opening day of bookings. Lot of non-Tamilians and whites turned up to watch the movie in spite of language barrier. There was amazing response for the first show of the movie at Columbus. Hundreds of the people watched the movie standing in the doorsteps of the hall.
Vani Mohan, one of the exhibitors for this film in the US said, "Shivaji seems to be the new mantra for young Rajini fans. The response for all the shows was extra ordinary. In many theaters, large number of Whites also turned up to watch the movie and even tried to mingle with the die hard Rajini fans. After seen the increasing demand for more shows, we have decided to release the film again in some of the areas. As an exhibitor of Shivaji, I have earned 200 percent profit through the screening. Rajini is not only the superstar but also the trend-setter."
In Canada, Shivaji was screened in 6 theaters in Toronto and two each in Ontario and Vancouver. As of now, it is running in 5 theaters in the City with packed house. The Tamil Association of Canada arranged special shows in other Canadian cities like Edmonton. In Ontario and Vancouver too, the response was great. One of the movie portals in Canada even rated the film as the number one film of the week, with the help of the viewers comment and ratings. Most of the viewers gave 9.7 marks out of 10.
It also witnessed a record opening in Malaysia and Singapore. It was released in 40 theatres in Malaysia alone. However, the Malaysian exhibitor requested the production house to send 20 more prints to cater to the demand of the crowd. As of now, it is running in more than 60 theaters in Malaysia with full house shows. It is doing the same in Singapore too.
Germany: Releasing Tamil films in Germany is a very rare affair. But Shivaji was released in more than 25 centers including the capital city Berlin and other important city Bonn. It was screened at the 25th annual film exhibitions at Munich for two days. Most of the German fans danced to the song "Athiradithan".
In Ireland, the film was released in Dublin at 2 theaters with 6 shows. Since, Shivaji is the first movie being released in the Country, the craze to watch it was high amongst the people. All the shows were big success for the exhibitor.
In other European countries like Switzerland (20 shows at 5 centers including Geneva and Bern), France (daily 4 shows at Espace Cinema, Paris till 25 th June), Norway (one show in Oslo), Poland (2 shows in Varsa), Netherlands (8 centers with single show in each), Denmark (10 centers) and Italy (one show each at Rome and Venice), film lovers turned up in large numbers to watch the film.
It was also screened in Australia, which has the highest population of Tamils next to the USA. It was released with 25 prints for the first time. In New Zealand it was released with 9 prints.
Middle East: The viewers' response on Shivaji in Dubai, Sharjah, Qatar, Bahrain and Abudhabi is overwhelming and the exhibitors of these centers have decided to continue the shows till August with regular shows!
In Srilanka, it was released in 9 centers with 14 prints. The overall response is the same as in Chennai and all the theaters have been booked by the exhibitor for the next three months to screen Shivaji!