MUMBAI, India – India’s $78-million movie “2.0,” the most expensive film ever made in the South Asian country, was released on Thursday amid rave reviews for the sci-fi thriller in which cellphones turn on humans.
The much-awaited film, which stars Tamil actor Rajinikanth in the lead role, was released at some 10,500 screens across the world.
The multilingual film also features Hindi star Akshay Kumar as a cell-phone-hating monster and Amy Jackson, British actor and model, who has previously featured in many Indian films.
The film has been pitched as one of the biggest releases in the India’s entertainment industry, which has had numerous disappointments box office releases this year, although it has had a healthy annual growth over 10 percent in the last 15 years.
“2.0” has also been one of the most-awaited releases in India this year for Rajinikanth, a south Indian actor, who is usually referred to as one of the biggest Indian movie stars, with a huge fanbase in the country and with Indians living abroad.
Fans gathered outside theatres in Mumbai to catch the first-day first-show of the film directed by Shankar, which was in production for almost three years between 2015-2018.
Dozens of Rajinikanth fans broke into spontaneous celebrations, dancing outside a cinema hall in Mumbai minutes before the screening.
Akshay Kumar, the villain of the movie, features as a monster who is half-human and half-bird with his wings made out of cellphones. He vows to get rid of mobiles from the face of the earth.
“Every person who owns a cellphone is a murderer,” he growls in a trailer released earlier this month.
This has angered many in India’s telecom sector with some companies writing to the country’s film certification division that the movie should not be allowed to be screened because it promotes an unscientific mind-set.
But the censorship board, which clears movies for any offensive or derogatory content before they are screened, has ignored the complaints.