Frenzied reception for Rajinikanth in north Bengal hills

Siliguri, June 6 (IANS) A frenzied, thousand strong crowd wildly cheered and called out his name as Tamil superstar Rajinikanth stepped out of the airport terminal at Bagdogra near here on Wednesday on his first shooting assignment in the northern West Bengal hills.

Sporting a white linen kurta, the actor, who enjoys a demigod status in large parts of south India, had a tough time boarding the steel grey Fortuna car a few metres away, amid the thunderous cries and frantic bids to capture his movements on mobile camera.

Rajinikanth seemed bowled over by the reception.

“This is my first visit to northern West Bengal. I am sure, I will fall in love with the hills,” he said before leaving for Kurseong where he would stay for 37 days to shoot an as yet unnamed movie directed by popular Chennai based director Karthik Subbaraj.

Part of the shooting would be done in the internationally famous Himalayan tourist town Darjeeling, where Mount Hermon School and St. Pauls College would be among the locations.

In the hill town of Kurseong, the shooting site would be Christian Forest Rangers College.

Already, 700 technicians have reached Darjeeling, of whom 140 are busy building the sets, with the rest working untiringly to get all the logistics in place.

According to the director’s team, the shooting would begin from Thursday, and continue till June 15 in Kurseong.

Darjeeling would be the venue from June 17 to July 6, following which the shooting party is again slated to move to Kurseong and stay there till July 12.

“Though shooting is scheduled to be completed in 37 days, we have kept three extra days keeping in mind the probability of inclement weather,” said Paras Chettri, a manager of the film unit.

“This is the biggest-ticket film shoot in the Darjeeling hills,” he added.

Heavy security arrangements have been made for the shooting. Apart from Rajinikanth’s own security team, local police are present in strength to prevent any untoward incidents and keep the crowd at bay.

A thick security blanket has also been thrown around the luxurious Alita Resort in Kurseong, where Rajnikanth would put up.

The picturesque Darjeeling hills have in the past been the location for the shooting of films like Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen starrer “Main Hoon Na”, and “Barfi” that had Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in the lead.

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