Usually it’s the day their frenzy crosses all limits with merry drummers, firecrackers and colossal cut-outs. But this year lakhs of Vijay fans attached to thousands of units across the State will be settling for something simpler – a moderate bash as Master opens in theatres on Wednesday.
Instead of the regular euphoria, there will be toned-down festivities since the COVID-19 protocol is in place. Also the first film to get a theatrical release in Kerala after a long break due to the pandemic, the Vijay-starrer was expected to hit the screens in April 2020.
“We couldn’t plan anything except a bike rally and it’s for the first time we are skipping the release-related revelries. But we also don’t want to spread the virus,” says M. Manoj of Palakkad Thalapathis.
No midnight show
Though many fans are not happy about breaking their first-day-first-show ritual, they have no options due to limited shows and reduced seat capacity. For many fans the biggest disappointment is the absence of early morning shows that usually start at midnight.
“Now the first show begins at 9 a.m. and the film is not screening in some malls. If it was nearly 10 screens last year, this year we have only two screens in Kollam city. We have more than 10,000 registered members in Kollam city alone and many of us will have to wait,” says Murali Ganesh of Kollam Nanbans, one of the largest units in Kerala.
The unit had installed a 175-feet cut-out of their idol prior to the release of Sarkar, but this time the members are going for a scaled-down celebration. While the fan associations ensured tickets for their members on the release day during previous years, it will be an impossible task now.
“Usually we buy 2,000 tickets for the first show in Kollam city, but this year it has come down around 500 due to unavailability of seats.”
Lack of time
Vijay fans also complain that they hardly got any time to prepare for the release as the decision to open theatres came at the eleventh hour. “Some of us were planning to go to Tamil Nadu, but then decided to stay back,” a fan said.
They are also worried over the possibility of technical glitches that may affect the screening. “Some theatres have reported issues with sound and projector system. Even late in the evening the checking is going on and it we are worried,” says Sreeraj from Thiruvananthapurm unit.