Local fans of the Tamil superstar turn out in force to catch his latest film
You could spot them from a mile away in their similar black-and-white T-shirts, all of which had the face of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth emblazoned on the front.
The group of 30 friends deliberately wore the matching shirts to attend the premiere of the actor's new movie, Kabali, at Rex Cinema at Golden Mile last night.
They jostled with over 1,000 fans, all of whom had pre-bought tickets for the premiere, which was sold out in both Rex Cinema halls at Golden Mile Tower and Mackenzie Road.
Mr Siraj Masuthu, 32, who organised the outing for the group of over 30 childhood friends aged between 25 and 34, told The New Paper: "We bought the tickets and ordered the shirts online from India about a month ago."
Among the party of friends was Ms Renu Ananthan, 31, who is eight months pregnant.
Ms Renu said: "I'm quite worried about standing in the crowd, but I didn't want to miss the excitement."
Thirty minutes before the movie started, a long queue had already snaked from the cinema entrance to the lift at the opposite end of the third storey of Golden Mile Tower.
UNITED: A large multi-generational family of cousins, nieces and nephews made the premiere a family outing. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
Eager fans pushed and jostled to get into the lift to go up to the third storey, which was where the movie was showing.
On the third storey, security guards struggled to get the crowd to queue and not swarm into the hall.
This was not unexpected - the global mania surrounding Rajinikanth's Kabali is typical for all his new movie releases.
After his 40 years in the industry and over 100 films later, it is obvious the 65-year-old actor has not lost his appeal.
A Facebook feud between fans erupted on the Rex Cinema page yesterday, when premiere tickets sold out shortly after the online link was posted.
Some offices in Chennai and Bangalore, India, had anticipated their employees will skive off work to catch the movie's official release and have declared today a holiday.
Rajinikanth's last movie, Lingaa, in 2014, attracted similar crowds and tickets sold out quickly.
Action movie Kabali is his first film after a two-year hiatus.
In it, Rajinikanth stars as Kabaliswaran, a gangster who tries to fight for the justice of Indian labourers in South-east Asia. The movie was partially filmed in Malaysia.
At Golden Mile last night, Ms Violet Valarmathi, 53, was with her multi-generational group of 20 cousins, nieces and nephews.
"We're here for the fun and the hype," she told TNP.
Her cousin, Ms Geetha S, 43, said: "We were disappointed that we could not bring our young children because the movie is rated NC16. I had to leave my three children behind, otherwise our group would have been bigger."
A couple said they received the premiere tickets from a friend as a belated wedding gift.
GREAT GIFT: Die-hard Rajinikanth fan Rajiv PS and his wife, Ms Janane Elangkovan, received the premiere tickets as a belated wedding gift from a friend. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
They started queuing to enter the cinema hall an hour before the premiere started.
Mr Rajiv PS, 30, said: "I've been waiting for the movie for a whole year since the poster first came out. I have watched all Rajinikanth's movies more than once. I watch Lingaa (his last movie) quarterly."
Mr Praveen Subramaniam, 26, was with his friends to buy tickets for the 4.15am show today.
The special 4.15am screening was introduced to accommodate the overwhelming crowds.
WORTH IT: Mr Praveen Subramaniam, 26, bought tickets for the 4.30am show last night despite having to be at work at 8am. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
Mr Praveen revealed he had to start work at 8am, just an hour after the 2½-hour long movie ends.
But the rush would be worth it, he said.
"I want to watch it first before I see spoilers on Facebook," he said.