Fans of Indian superstar Rajinikanth beat drums and dance outside a cinema hall to celebrate the screening of “Kabali” in Hyderabad. Private companies declared a holiday and parents kept children out of school as an air of celebration swept southern India for the premiere of Rajinikanth’s latest film. Hundreds of thousands of Rajinikanth fans thronged cinemas across Tamil-language India and Malaysia to catch the pre-dawn showing of Kabali. At 65, Tamil cinema superstar and a grandfather in real life, Rajinikanth, packs a mean punch in his new film, an action-packed gangster drama. There are special effects and stunt doubles all right. But the ageing hero fishes a gun quicker than you can say Kabali; smashes furniture and sends villains flying across the air with lethal kicks, gives chase and hunts down the baddies with characteristic flair. The thalaivar (the boss, as his fans call him) shows no signs of slowing down. Rajinikanth’s achievement, as always, is that he manages to hold the audience in thrall even when the film threatens to flag – this despite the fact that he is only peddling time-worn tricks. The film has been dubbed in Telugu, Hindi, Malay and Mandarin.