Ticket prices of Rajinikanth's upcoming movie Kabali soar in Tamil Nadu

Rajinikanth's upcoming movie film Kabali has created a sensation in cinema theatres across Tamil Nadu. But, his fans are blaming the theatre owners for charging exorbitant rates.

Ticket prices of Rajinikanth

There is an unprecedented demand for tickets for Rajinikanth's upcoming movie Kabali, which is scheduled for a world wide release on Friday. Most theatres in Tamil Nadu have been selling the tickets at around Rs 600, much to the disappointment of Rajinikanth's ardent fans. Sources, say this is despite the Tamil Nadu government putting a cap of Rs 120 on movie tickets. However, most theatre owners are selling the tickets five times more than the actual prices, allege Rajinikanth fans.

Santhosh Kumar, a college student said, earlier he used to pay Rs 120 for movie tickets, however, now prices change according to the show timings. Early morning shows charge as high as Rs 500-600 for a ticket, but prices start decreasing after the after noon show. He termed the sudden rise in ticket price as unfair. Some fans are seething over unavailability of tickets because they were allegedly sold in bulk to corporates.

"We don't have issues with the ticket prices. It's once in two or three years, you get a Thalaivar (Rajinikanth's) film. If you can't shell out Rs 1,000 for your matinee idol, then what kind of a fan are you," asks Muralikrishna, a chartered accountant.

Although most theatres give preference to fan club members, this year they seem to have favoured companies. "Across major multiplexes, tickets on the first day were booked by corporates. Some of these companies booked in bulk even before the online booking started. I somehow managed to get a ticket through a friend. But when I tried to book five tickets for my family just minutes after online bookings opened, it didn't even go through," said Muralikrishna.

A theatre owner, on condition of anonymity, said the tickets were being sold at such high prices because of the high investment involved."The Chengalpet area rights of 'Kabali' were bought for a whopping Rs 18 crore. In order to make profits, the film should collect over Rs 30 crore. If the tickets are sold at Rs 120, it's impossible to recover the investment in the first few days," he said, and added that the opening weekend is very crucial for big-ticket films.

"The opening weekend is very important to recover as much as investment as possible. In the case of a Rajinikanth-starrer, only when you sell tickets at Rs 400-500, will you be able to see profits, provided the film opens to positive word-of-mouth.

"Despite taking in over Rs 100 crore, his Linga turned out to be a dud because of the high investment involved," he explained. Directed by Pa. Ranjith, "Kabali" also stars Radhika Apte, Dinesh, Dhansikaa, Kalaiarasan, Kishore, John Vijay, Ritwika and Winston Chao, among others.

In the US, tickets for "Kabali" premiere on Thursday are priced at $25, as opposed to $14 or $15 for regular releases. "As an Indian, when I start converting the ticket price into Indian money, it gives me a heart attack. But you don't get to see two or three Rajinikanth releases in a year. I think it's worth it for the euphoria his films bring," Madhusudhan, who has been living in New York for over a decade, said.