It’s what the public has been waiting for – and it’s cause for celebration! This Friday, hardly anyone’s going to be working in South India. Nearly all private businesses have announced a holiday to pre-empt employees from calling in sick, or using any other pretext to take the day off.

The reason? The release of a new film starring Rajnikanth, the South Indian superstar who’s almost an ‘avatar’ for his fans, numbering in the millions.

Some 12,000 screens across the densely populated region will be screening the action-packed gangster drama ‘Kabali’ featuring the megastar. In addition to the holiday, many companies have also given free movie tickets to their employees to boost the ‘happiness factor’ that they believe will lead to more productivity.

Rajnikanth is one of Asia‘s highest-paid actors, and every one of his films is guaranteed to be a box-office success. The legendary 65-year-old has played the lead in over 170 films, most of them in Tamil, but so great is his popularity that most of his movies are dubbed in Hindi, Telugu and Malay due to overwhelming demand.

With two days to go, whether it’s Chennai or Bangalore, or any other South Indian city, town or village, everyone’s waiting with bated breath for ‘Kabali’.