Kaala release: The first show of superstar Rajinikanth's new film was at 4 am in Chennai.
Chennai: Frenzied fans flocked to theatres as early as 4 am to catch the first show of superstar-politician Rajinikanth's film "Kaala", which was released across the country today. In Karnataka -- where theatres did not screen the movie in view of the opposition from pro-Kannada activists -- fans were disappointed. Many said they would travel to Tamil Nadu to watch the movie. Pro-Kannada groups have been upset with Rajinikanth's remarks on the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had said the film should not be released in his state "in the present situation".
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The first show of "Kaala"was at 4 am at a theatre in Chennai, elsewhere it was around 7 am. In Mumbai, where the monsoon is expected to hit today, neither rain nor the early morning chill could deter fans.
Distributors in Karnataka played safe despite clearance from the high court and an order to the state government to ensure security at theatres that chose to screen the movie. Outside Bengaluru's Balaji theatre, fans gathered in the morning, demanding that the movie be released.
"Kaala" is facing the anger of pro-Kannada groups, who threatened to disrupt screenings if the movie was released despite a ban by a Karnataka film body. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was seen as backing the groups, when he said it was his "individual opinion" that it was better to delay the release.
The Supreme Court refused to defer the release of the movie. Dismissing a petition on Tuesday, the judges said, "Everybody is waiting for the film to be released. We don't want to interfere with its release".
Asked about the ban, director Pa. Rajith said, "Everybody has a space to speak out. There are several bad films that being released. So, banning a film like "Kaala" that talks about the problems of the people is sad. This situation should change."
Rajinikanth had appealed to Mr Kumaraswamy to facilitate the film's release by providing security at movie theatres. The actor, who is from Karnataka, said in Kannada: "I understand HD Kumaraswamy's situation. This is not good for Karnataka. When the film is released around the world, the ban would highlight the issue (Cauvery water dispute)."
Last month, after the Congress government of Siddaramaiah was voted out of power in Karnataka, Rajinikanth had reportedly said no matter which government takes over, Karnataka should release Cauvery waters for Tamil Nadu.
Mr Kumaraswamy urged Rajinikanth to visit the state and see the condition of farmers and the water level in the dams before commenting on the matter.
The 765-km Cauvery river, also called the Ganga of the south, is the lifeline for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Disputes over the distribution of its water between the two states have prevailed for decades.
This time, despite a ruling from the Supreme Court that clearly laid down the amount of water each state is entitled to, Karnataka has refused to release Tamil Nadu's share.