Overcoming a fortnight-long suspense and drama, Kamal Haasan's Tamil move Vishwaroopam finally hit the screens across Tamil Nadu to packed houses, amid celebrations by delirious fans.
It was a jamboree of sorts as elated fans danced to drum beat and burst crackers as they thronged the cinema-houses since early morning, some pouring milk over the cutouts of the 58-year-old actor.
"We are very happy with the response and shows have been booked till Monday. Kamal has done a brilliant job," a theatre owner said.
Haasan's fans said the technically advanced film could match up to any Hollywood production.
"It is like a Hollywood movie," said a fan outside a theatre.
"Hats off to Kamal. He has taken Indian cinema to a new height," said another.
The film, originally scheduled for January 25 release, started screening in some theatres as early as 6AM.
Its release was delayed in the wake of protests by some Muslim outfits who found certain scenes 'offensive' to the community, prompting the Tamil Nadu government to ban it for two weeks.
The movie was cleared for release after the makers agreed to cut seven scenes following a meeting between Haasan and the Muslim outfits, which was brokered by the state government.
The state ban on the spy-thriller centring around terror, triggered a nationwide condemnation and support for Haasan, who had threatened to go on a self-imposed exile following the politics over his film. The actor had pledged his house to make the Rs 100 crore movie.
The Hindi and Telugu versions were released without much ado and Tamil also in Kerala and Karnataka.
Haasan had also taken the battle to the court.
Prior to the protests by Muslim outfits, the film had faced problems with the tech-savvy actor insisting on release on the DTH platform before showing it in theatres. The theatre owners' opposition had forced him to delay the release.