The Thalaiva fever is highly contagious. As Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s latest film Kabali was released on Friday, social media exploded with memes, commentary and celebrations, with #KabaliFDFS – Kabali first day first show – becoming a top trending hashtag on Twitter.

The film, which marks the return of the icon to the silver screen after two years, is set to break all kinds of box office records. Expectations have been running high since its first-look teaser was released on April 30.

Set in the 1980s in Malaysia, Kabali tells the story of an honourable mob boss, played by Rajinikanth, and his wife, a role essayed by Radhika Apte.

On Friday, fans began lining up at theatres in Chennai for the Pa Ranjith-directed film at 4 am. The movie opened in 3,000-4,000 screens across India, besides 400-500 screens overseas.

On social media too, people embraced the legend whose stardom is perhaps matched in India only by Salman Khan.

What day is it? #Kabali da-y 😀

A photo posted by Alicia Souza (@aliciasouza) on

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS AND BUCKLE UP FOR A WILD RIDE.... @coveritup #kabali #oneandonly #r35 #thalaivar #peace

A photo posted by அக்ரம் மாலிக்🐍 (@akrammalik8888) on

The world was divided into people who managed to catch the precious first day, first show and who didn’t. Those who made the sacrilegious admission of not knowing about Kabali were publicly admonished.

Even the subtitles of the film were being discussed.

Rajinikanth’s fame is spread far and wide. A few glimpses of his worldwide phenomenon.

Social media couldn't stop raving about the release.