Usually this is the day when their frenzy crosses all limits with merry drummers, firecrackers and colossal cutouts. But this year, thousands of Vijay fans attached to thousands of units across the state will settle for something simpler – a moderate bash like Master opens in theaters on Wednesdays.
Instead of the usual euphoria, there will be muted festivities since the COVID-19 protocol is in place. Also the first film to hit theaters in Kerala after a long hiatus due to the pandemic, the Vijay-star is expected to hit screens in April 2020.
“We couldn’t plan anything except a motorcycle rally and this is the first time that we are skipping the exit festivities. But we don’t want to spread the virus either, ”says Mr. Manoj of Palakkad Thalapathis.
No midnight show
While many fans are not happy to break their ritual of Day One, First Show, they have no options due to the limited shows and reduced seating capacity. For many fans, the biggest disappointment is the lack of early morning shows which typically start at midnight.
“Now the first show starts at 9 am and the movie is not shown in some malls. If it was almost 10 screens last year, this year we only have two screens in the city of Kollam. We have over 10,000 registered members in Kollam Town 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-foot cutout of their idol before the release of Sarkar, but this time the members go for a scaled-down celebration. While fan associations have secured tickets for their members on release day in previous years, it will be an impossible task now.
“Usually we buy 2,000 tickets for the first show in Kollam town, but this year it’s down to around 500 due to unavailability of seats.”
Lack of time
Vijay fans are also complaining that they had little time to prepare for the release as the decision to open theaters came at the eleventh hour. “Some of us had planned to go to Tamil Nadu, but then decided to stay behind,” said one fan.
They are also concerned about the possibility of technical issues that could affect screening. “Some theaters have reported problems with the sound and the projection system. Even late in the evening, the monitoring is ongoing and we are worried, ”says Sreeraj from the Thiruvananthapurm unit.