Posted On Thursday, Jul 21, 2016
Disclaimer (yes, were starting with one): This article is not necessarily about mutual funds and investing, we’re awaiting Kabali as much as anyone!
Welcome to India! (Special Kabali edition)
The scene: thirty-something Indian male born and raised in the U.S. moves across the world to Mumbai last Saturday to join Quantum, fully confident he can handle the culture shock. After all, he’s visited India a dozen times in the past. No sweat, right?
Enter Superstar Rajini.
I’ve seen movie manias before in the US– Star Wars releases, Batman Dark Knight releases, Avengers releases – in which legions of fans dress up in full cosplay to line up for midnight releases on a work night, totally prepared to sacrifice the next day’s productivity at the office in the name of being the first ones to see the flick. For the most part – and here’s the important thing – most people still plan on actually showing up to work the next day.
As this week has progressed leading up to the release of Kabali on Friday, I’ve watched what already was a euphoria morph into an outright mania, bordering on madness. Reports are pouring in that entire companies in Chennai and Bengaluru are shutting down and declaring holiday on Friday to avoid the barrage of leave requests. CEOs are renting out theaters for their employees to watch. Airlines are offering special Kabali packages from Bengaluru to Chennai, including a ticket to see the show, with that airline even painting the plane with the ad for the movie. Ticket servers have crashed, some theaters don’t have a single ticket till Monday, five star hotels in Bangalore have decided to screen it (a first), an Indian high court has actually issued an injunction to prevent piracy of this film, and last but not least, to combat a wave of citizens defecating in open spaces the Puducherry government has offered free tickets to anyone in Sellipet who builds a toilet in their home…and it’s working. I’ve only been in Mumbai for five days and even I am getting FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) over not being down South to witness this spectacle firsthand.
We see manias all the time in the markets, and as value investors invariably it becomes gut-wrenching to watch as stock prices get detached from fundamentals while we stick to our principles and don’t get to participate in the euphoric blow-off. Invariably, those manias end in disappointment as investors watch their sky-high expectations dashed as stock prices crumble back to earth.
However, as it has been said by at least one writer: Economics obeys the Laws of Rajinikanth, not the other way around. Perhaps there will be no crumbling with this mania? For once, we have no gut-wrenching to deal with and can sit back and enjoy one of the greatest spectacles on earth (and maybe even take part in it a little bit ourselves). Happy filmgoing, everyone.
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