More cops to control Lingaa crowd

Traffic alone will not be a headache, but handling fans at theatres

Chennai: The city police officials say that they will deploy more policemen on the roads near theatres and inside the premises where Rajinikanth-starrer Lingaa is being released.
“We will deploy additional strength according to the show timing as the crowd in front the theatres are certainly going to affect traffic flow. We do it whenever a big release happens,” a senior traffic police officer said.

“Some theatres are planning to begin their shows as early as 7 am. So, we will be there with our patrol vehicles and additional strength from 6 am onwards,” a police officer from Ashok Nagar range.“The fans will be in a celebratory mood. But that does not mean that celebration could overflow into the streets. For the initial few days, there will be more shows in the theatres which will naturally tend to bring in more people and vehicles. So, our duty will be to make sure smooth screening takes place inside the theatres,” a senior police officer said, adding that local police stations are free to use the strength as per requirements.

Regulating traffic will not be the only headache for the police. Handling fans at theatres during big releases, where they engage in activities ranging from pouring milk on actor’s banners to do pal abhishekam or bursting crackers (at times even inside the hall and on the road) will be also a challenge to the cops.“We may have to keep one man inside the screening hall to handle the crowd, which makes it a point to dance in front of the screen for the opening song in a movie,” said an officer.

Is the enthusiasm of fans dwindling?

Though the frenzy for a star release is still visible in the many theatres, old-timers say that the sheen to the celebrations has died of late, especially for a Rajini release.
One reason they attribute is that no new fan clubs have emerged after 1996. Also, the Raghavendra kalyana mandapam in Kodambakkam, which used to be the hub of fan activity, doesn’t entertain any now.

“All the existing fan clubs across the state function on their own now,” said a manager at the kalyana mandapam.Rajini fans are also expecting their favourite star to plunge into politics and his playing hide and seek on an announcement has been too much to take.“There are district secretaries of fan clubs who are as old as Thalaivar and have dedicated all their lives eagerly awaiting Rajini’s entry into politics,” says J.M. ’Rajni’ Shanmugam.

The 44-year-old auto driver-turned-real estate broker from T. Nagar was also once active in fan club activities. But, he mellowed down following the death of his two friends, S. Kuppusamy and R. Rajni Seenu, less than a year ago, due to natural causes.“They lived all their lives as diehard fans – veriyargal - he says. In spite of small-time jobs and our hand-to-mouth existence, all of us contributed for the welfare activities of the club and also ensured the preparations are taken care of.”

“We would have been happy if Thalaivar plunges into politics,” says Shanmugam, pointing to the many banners in Udhayam theatre, which highlight it. Only the diehard fans still follow the tradition says, M. Giri. The Triplicane area president has seen the number of clubs in his zone dwindling from 450 to a mere 150 now.

( Source : dc correspondent )
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