South Indian Companies Declare Holiday to Let Staff See Superstar Rajnikanth's New Film

Rajnikanth - Getty H 2016
Courtesy of Getty Images

The iconic star's latest release 'Kabali' opens Friday, with some businesses even paying for groups of employees to see the film.

Talk about your bosses being so generous that they give you a day off to watch a movie!

South Indian workers will not have to cook up any excuses to skip work to see Tamil language superstar Rajnikanth's much-awaited film Kabali, which opens Friday. According to reports, businesses in south India are giving the day off to employees to catch the film's opening.

One report in The Times of India said that Bangalore-based start-up Opus said in an official notice that it was declaring July 22 a holiday to “avoid sick leaves, mobile switch-offs and mass bunks.” Another company in Chennai also declared a holiday since it didn't want “a pile of leave applications,” according to an executive. In fact, some companies are even paying for group shows for employees.

The massive hysteria around Kabali reflects the iconic 65-year-old actor's enduring appeal since the 1970s when he first burst upon the scene. Rajnikanth's following extends beyond his massive regional south Indian fanbase, and his credits also include projects in mainstream Hindi-language Bollywood.

His filmography includes major box-office hits, such as 2010 title Enthiran, a sci-fi film that saw him play an android, which is estimated to have grossed $26.7 million (1.79 billion rupees).

Known for his unique onscreen swagger and dialog delivery, Rajnikanth has crafted his own distinct style over the decades. In Kabali, he plays the titular character of an aging gangster who protects his family and business from his enemies. Directed by Pa. Ranjith, the film's action-packed trailer has received over 26 million views on YouTube since it went live in April after it garnered five million views on its first day alone.

The cult of adulation surrounding Rajnikanth was recently captured in a documentary entitled For the Love of a Man, directed by Rinku Kalsy, which follows some of his fans who share why they are obsessed with the star. “The film remains an entertaining, sometimes jaw-dropping, intro to the extremes of actor-worship,” THR said in its review during the 2015 Venice festival where the film screened.

Kabali will also get a wide release overseas to cater to diaspora audiences in the U.S., U.K., Australia and other territories such as Malaysia, where it was largely filmed.