In case you haven’t heard, Indian companies in Chennai and Bengaluru are declaring a holiday for the most anticipated movie of the year, Rajinikanth’s Kabali, which hits 5000 movie theatres across the globe — including Malaysia, Indonesia, the US and UK, China and more — on July 22.

From flash mobs, Rajini-themed bus rides in Mumbai, and sports cars pimped-out in Kabali wraps, to a jet literally powered by the OG, producers (and fans) are leaving no stone unturned ahead of the Rs 100 crore movie’s release this Friday. He may not be the highest paid actor in India, but Rajini fandom’s has evolved over the years, spanning generations. Here are six things that prove the Tamil superstar is definitely the most loved star in India.

Nine craziest things that have happened thanks to Rajini


His new movie rakes in over Rs 200 crores... before its release

Need more proof that Rajini is god? Months before its release, it was reported that the South Indian superstar’s new movie Kabali had already netted over Rs 200 crores; thanks to endorsement deals and clever merchandising. However, the massive pile of dough came from a Hong-kong based company that copped exclusive dubbing and release rights in China.

Rajinikanth air

Image: Twitter: @AirAsiaIn

An international airline powered by Kabali

Air Asia finally proved Rajinikanth can fly.

The South Indian superstar’s fandom reached new heights when he created history by becoming the first Indian to be promoted by a major international airline. Air Asia — the official airline partner for Kabali — unveiled its special rebranded Thalaviar aircraft last month.  The low-cost airline’s  ‘Fly Like A Superstar’ promotion will not only be dishing out special ‘Kabali biryanis’ through July, but will also be flying in hardcore OG fans from Bengaluru for the special premiere in Chennai on Thursday.


Image: Twitter: @rahulkanwal

Want to wrap your car in Rajini?

Only OG’s mojo will make a grown-ass man want to wrap his million dollar sports car in blazing red Thalaivar decals or drop a whole lot of cash for a customised Kabali licensed plate to pimp out his Audi.

Rajini fandom

Image: Facebook

Fan attempts suicide to donate kidney

When you’re one of the most adored movie stars in the world, with over 1.57 lakh fan clubs across the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when some of them go a bit overboard for attention. In 2011, as news of Rajinikanth’s trip to a Singapore hospital for dialysis got out, one fan — Rajniraja Arockiasamy of Sundarapuram in Kurichi — overdosed on sleeping pills in his desperate attempt to donate a kidney.


Image: Twitter

Free auto rides to watch his movie

As Kabali mania spreads, one overseas fan will be flying in from London to Mumbai’s Aurora theatre, one of the 5000 movie halls that are prepping for the movie’s big premiere, to make it in time for the movie’s first day-first show. Also, gearing up for the movie’s release is 43-year-old auto driver Annamalai, who’s offering free auto rides to fans watching the movie.


Image: Twitter: @LMKmoviemaniac and @jaqtard

OG's movie release calls for a day off

Start-up companies in Bengaluru and Chennai are declaring a holiday for the superstar’s movie release. That’s not all; HR even gave out free ‘First Day-First Show’ tickets to 300 lucky employees at this company. 


Man pawns his wife's jewellery to throw a Rajini street-party every year

Every year on December 12, S. Mani, a former Chennai gangster turned peanut seller pawns his wife Suganthi’s jewellery to throw a street party on Rajinikanth’s birthday. Mani, who also runs a fan club from his home in the slums of Chennai shares his story and cultish adulation in the award -winning documentary For the Love of a Man.

rajini 5

Also documented in For the Love of a Man was the story of N. Ravi. The Chennai shop-owner stopped eating and working after his idol Rajinikanth fell ill and was admitted to a Singapore hospital. Unable to fly to Singapore, due to lack of funds and poor health, fans donated money to send Ravi’s brother to the Lion City. Why? So he could send daily updates back to his brother from outside the hospital.


Image: Twitter: @dianadharna

Kabali number plate

Ahead of Rajini’s new movie, a fan registered his spanking new Audi in Karnataka, so his new registration number  KA 8 AL 1 would read KABALI.