Neither rain nor the early morning chill could dent the spirit of Rajinikanth fans who came in large numbers to watch the superstar's latest "Kaala" first day first show in Mumbai.
As the admirers celebrated the release of the much-awaited film by dancing to the beat of the drums, the skies too opened up to match the footsteps of Rajini lovers.
Rajini loyalists started streaming into one of the suburban multiplexes in Mumbai as early as 12 am, holding their special "fans only" tickets with a poster of "Kaala" imprinted on them.
Most distributors in Karnataka, however, played safe and didn't screen the movie in their theatres.
On Wednesday, the Karnataka High Court refused to entertain a plea seeking to restrain the film's screening. A vacation bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan refused to entertain a plea by KS Rajashekaran, a film producer, who has claimed that the story of the film and songs and scenes of the movie were his work.
The release of the movie 'Kaala', produced by Rajinikanth's son-in-law actor Dhanush under the banner of Wonderbar Films Pvt Ltd and directed by Pa Ranjith, was postponed earlier.
In Mumbai, By 5 am as many as 1,000 fans started thronging the multiplex.
Three police jeeps and a police van were stationed outside the venue for security reasons.
Mumbai rains tried to put a dampener on what could inarguably be called a festival, but failed to match the frenzy of ardent Thalaivar fans. Men were dressed in suits, blazers and traditional lungi, and the women draped in saris with 'gajra'-adorned hair.
"Rajini sir is not a star, he is our God. He is a culture in himself. I inherited my love for him from my parents. They will be proud of me," said a 20-year-old fan from the Tamil stronghold of Dharavi who arrived at midnight to catch the first show at 6 am At the theatre with his friends.
More than 50 women, dressed in traditional south Indian yellow sari, walked from a temple to the theatre to show their devotion for the actor.
Fans, with Rajinikanth's portrait painted on their chests and some even replicating his "Kaala" look - black shirt, black lungi and a white beard - gathered near the 67 feet poster of the actor, which was garlanded, signalling the beginning of the day and the film's first show.
"The poster is 67 feet because Rajini is 67 years old. We were coordinating over this since months and the auspicious day is finally here. We have prayed for him, danced for him, now we, will cheer for him," Santosh, a member of Rajini fan club, said.
When pointed out that the collection of his last few films have not matched to the stardom the actor enjoys, the fan replied, "Can anything ever hurt God? Nothing. His films are our blessings and we are here to take it."
(With agency inputs)