Hundreds throng LFS Cinema for Terengganu's first Indian movie screening


KUALA TERENGGANU: After a long absence, Terengganu’s first Indian movie hit the silver screen at the LFS Cinema at the Paya Bunga Sentral, last night.

The romantic ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ (Breezy Expanse) Tamil film screened to a full house at its 9pm and 11pm screenings, as it was simultaneously released worldwide in the telugu language as Cheliyaa.

The two hours 27 minutes romantic, thriller movie is produced, directed and written by Mani Ratnam.

A photo-grab of the Tamil movie ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ which opened for screening at the Paya Bunga Square in Kuala Terengganu.

It starred Karthik Sivakumar and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead roles, with K.P.A.C Lalitha, Rukmini Vijaykumar, Delhi Ganesh and R.J. Balaji as supporting artistes.

Gunaa Sivanathan, 35, proprietor of Restoran Tanjung KTT in Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin, said the movie’s screening was a welcome relief and long overdue.

“We have been waiting for an Indian movie in Kuala Terengganu, especially a Tamil one, for such a long time.

“The minute we heard of the LFS Cinema opening, we were overjoyed, knowing well that it was only a matter of time for a Tamil movie to be screened here,” said Gunaa, who was among the hundreds who thronged the cinema.

Joining Gunna to catch the movie was Muhammad Fazzree Wan Pauzi, who operates the Manhattan Fish Market at Ladang Tok Pelam, adjacent to the TSG Terengganu Pro-Asia Cycling Team and Chicken Cottage outlets.

“I was very surprised to see the large turnout at the cinema, as I joined my Indian friends there.

“I guess the advent of social media, not to mention online news, helped propagate sufficient publicity for the people here,” said Fazzree.

UCSI University undergraduates N. Girija and K. Punitha were full of praise for the state government and PMINT (Perbadanan Memajukan Iktisad Negeri Terengganu) for collaborating with LFS Cinemas to bring Indian movies to Kuala Terengganu.

“We are starving for this sort of entertainment and it’s just wonderful to have this here.

“I and my university colleagues were all too excited upon learning of the movie tonight and rushed to buy tickets,” said Girija, who joined undergraduates from a host of other universities in the east coast peninsula city.

LFS Cinemas opened in Kuala Terengganu last month, the first outlet after 22 years. It was part of an initiative by the Barisan Nasional (BN)-led state government, after the previous Pas administration shut down cinemas in the state following their general election victory in 1995.

Famed music composer A.R. Rahman and cinematographer Ravi Varman helped give ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ its star-class production.

The movie revolves around Indian Air Force Squadron Leader Varun Chakrapani aka VC (Karthik Sivakumar) recovering from a truck accident at at Srinagar hospital in Kashmir.

There, he is smitten with Dr Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari) but as love blossoms and as VC recovers from his injuries, duty calls.

On a flight mission over the tensed Indo-Paki border town of Kargil in 1999, AC’s fighter jet is shot down and he is captured by the Pakistani army.

He is tortured and imprisoned in a Rawalpindi prison as a prisoner-of-war.

The LFS Group has cinemas in the Klang Valley, Sitiawan, Ipoh and Butterworth, through a joint-venture with BIG Cinemas, a member of India’s Reliance Group, owned by billionaire Anil Dhirubhai Ambani.

LFT Cinemas has been the main distributor of Tamil and Hindi films in the country for almost two decades.