Director SS Rajamouli’s magum opus Baahubali 2: The Conclusion opened to a rousing reception in cinema halls in Telangana. As the craze for the film reached a crescendo in the run up to its release, the fans queued up outside the theatres right from the early hours on Friday.
“I came at 5 am. I got a ticket for the second show (that begins in the night). I wanted a ticket for matinee or first show. But I am happy that I got a ticket,” Anusha, a college student, said in Kukatpally area in the city.
Frenzied audiences stormed several theatres in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh screening Baahubali 2 on Friday morning, notwithstanding the announcements made by the theatre managements that all the tickets were sold out.
While 80% of the tickets were sold online, the remaining 20% tickets were to be sold through current booking, for which enthusiastic crowds stood in long queues since the early hours at several theatres. There were allegations that majority of the tickets that were supposed to have been sold online were actually bought by a select few who later sold them in black.
Unable to bear the surging crowds, managements of several theatres in Hyderabad locked the gates. Heavy police bandobust was witnessed at several theatres to avoid any law and order breakdown.
There have been tremendous pressure on the theatre managements from political leaders, right from local corporators to even the ministers, besides police authorities and other VIPs to reserve the tickets for them. “They are threatening us with dire consequences if they do not provide them with tickets and are not listening to our explanation that all the tickets were already sold online,” a theatre manager in Amberpet area lamented.
The RTC cross roads in the heart of Hyderabad, where there are as many as six theatres with a total seating capacity of 6,000 and all the theatres have been screening only Baahubali 2 since Friday morning. With thousands of people thronging the theatres, the busy junction has witnessed heavy traffic jams in the morning. The Chikkadpalli police made elaborate arrangements to prevent traffic snarls and prevent breakdown of law and order.
Notwithstanding the denial of permission for premier and special shows of Baahubali 2 by the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments, several theatres screened special shows on Thursday night itself for influential people and media, besides fans associations of leading characters Prabhas and Rana Daggubati.
This led to clashes at several places like Amalapuram and Rajole in East Godavari district, which are dominated by fans of Chiranjeevi. They damaged the cut-outs of Baahubali 2 and forced the theatres to call off special shows. Similar reports are arriving from other parts of Andhra Pradesh like Kurnool, Chittoor and Nellore.
“Finally, the secret is revealed as to why Kattappa killed Baahubali. I am lucky to be among the first to know the secret. By and large, it was a wonderful movie - excellent narration, fabulous photography and amazing visual effects, though the second half is a little dragging and boring,” commented Y Rambabu, who watched the premier show on Thursday night. Others who watched the film in the early morning shows have applauded its content and the extensive visual effects. Some of the fans even compared the film to Hollywood movies.
People have already starting sharing the secret on social media platform, thereby deflating the curiosity. “Please don’t reveal the story. Let it be a suspense for at least a couple of days, so that we can enjoy the film,” posted Kishore Kumar, a film enthusiast, who could not get the ticket.
The Telangana government has allowed five shows of the film to be screened following a request from the producers. The fans of Prabhas, who plays the lead role of Baahubali, put up huge cut outs of the popular star to celebrate the release of the film.
Meanwhile, in Chennai, Baahubali fans had a disappointing Friday as all early shows of the much-awaited film, were cancelled due to an ongoing dispute between distributors and theatre owners.
At one of the theatres in the city, Rohini, located at Poonamali Highway, a mild lathicharge was carried out to disperse angry crowds.
Excitement has been building up for the film which released on Friday across India in different languages and Tamil Nadu too is its grip.
Similar scenes were witness in Kerala too. For the first-day first-show, young Thiruvananthapuram techie Siddartha has been making preparations for last two days. He shelled out Rs 600 for a front-row seat and reached the theatre at 3 am, at least two hours before the first show began.
“It is a riveting finale. I turned emotional a couple of times. Stunning performances of Sathyaraj and Ramya Krishnan really moved me,” he said after coming out of the theatre. He had to take a leave for the day from work, but added that it was worth the pain.
“Finally the secret is out. It is hard to translate the experience of watching the movie. Narration is excellent and setting is superb,” said another fan.
The much-awaited movie Baahubali 2 released in 300 theatres across the state. At least 1000 shows are slated for the first day and box-office watchers say it is expected to cross all records. Despite many theatres putting up big housefull boards, frenzied fans mobbed many movie halls. Some of them alleged that online tickets were booked in bulk and later sold in the black market.
Baahubali 2 is the second and final part in the Baahubali franchise. It also stars Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah, Sathyaraj, Ramya Krishnan and Nasser in the key roles.
(With Srinivasa Rao Apparasu in Hyderabad, KV Lakshmana in Chennai ,Ramesh Babu in Thiruvananthapuram and PTI inputs)
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