Director: A.R. Murugudoss
Cast: Rajinikanth, Nayanthara, Nivetha Thomas, Suniel Shetty, Prateik Babbar and others
Whenever a Rajinikanth film releases, it creates a ‘Rajini mania’ and fans throng to see the star in action. Darbar, which hit the screens on Thursday, was no exception. The superstar plays a cop in the film directed by A.R. Murugadoss while Nayanthara is the female lead.
Aditya Arunasalam (Rajinikanth) is a top cop and encounter specialist. He never follows the rule book when it comes to hunting down criminals. He is deputed to Mumbai to control drug trafficking. The Deputy Chief Minister’s daughter is kidnapped and Aditya’s first task is to rescue her. He does so in style, and in the process, nabs Ajay Malhotra (Prateik Babbar), the son of a top businessman and the main supplier of drugs to Mumbai city. Ajay is eliminated amidst high drama. Enter Hari Chopra (Suniel Shetty), a dreaded gangster, who takes revenge on Arunasalam by killing his daughter Valli (Nivetha Thomas). Now, it’s Aditya’s turn to avenge Valli’s death. Why Hari Chopra killed Aditya’s daughter and how Aditya finally nabbed Hari Chopra forms the crux of the story.
Director Murugadoss always blends a social message into commercial ingredients. If you look at his films like Ramana, Stalin, Thuppaki and Kaththi, you will find something of relevance to society. In Darbar, drug trafficking is the main issue. Murugadoss uses the stardom and charisma of Rajinikanth to good effect and plays up Rajini-style mannerisms to enthral fans.
The love scenes between Rajinikanth and Nayanthara interspersed with the main plot look forced, and it is awkward to see the 70-year-old star romancing a woman half his age. The director must have been caught in a dilemma — whether to keep in mind the actor’s true age or focus on pleasing fans. But the father-daughter relationship is brought out very well and is definitely one of the highlights of the film.
The second half drags a bit, and the film could have been trimmed a lot.
When it comes to performance, it is Rajinikanth all the way, from beginning to end. He once again plays a larger-than-life character and proves that he can still give younger actors a run for their money.
Apart from the last action scene where computer graphics were used, the action scenes have been choreographed well and showcase the typical ‘Rajini style’.
Nayanthara plays a small role and appears only in a few scenes. Nivetha Thomas, as Rajinikanth’s daughter, has given a top-notch performance, especially in the second half.
Suniel Shetty didn’t have much of screen time and appears only here and there in the second half.
Whenever Rajinikanth appears in an action scene or a confrontation scene, the background score gives a boost to his mannerisms, much to the excitement of his fans.
All in all, Darbar is only for Rajinikanth fans. The director has made full use of his superstardom, but does a septuagenarian singlehandedly bashing up gangs of goons look good?
If you’re Rajini fan, you’ll enjoy the sight. If you’re not, you need to think before watching this movie.