Darbar (2020)

Lyca productions is behind this big budget ARM + Rajinikanth film that has Nayantara playing the female lead. Rajinikanth’s comeback as a cop has set the expectation meter soaring and the trailer had ticked the right boxes for a commercial caper. It took fanboy director Karthik Subburaj to put Rajinikanth back on the superhighway with “Petta” after Pa.Ranjith’s largely confusing “Kabali” and “Kaala”. Now ARM (another diehard fan) looks to push the envelope much further promising much more than the fans expectations. With ARM’s “Spider” and “Sarkar” not matching prospects and talks of ARM losing his touch, a lot is riding for ARM with this film.

Police stories have been told dime a dozen in Indian Cinema and DARBAR again offers nothing new with a dated plot that is formulaic and facetious. But with Rajinkanth playing the cop Murgadoss has the liberty of bamboozling the viewer with an indulgent screenplay helped by the hero’s charismatic presence and definitive mass appeal. ARM’s films are generally populist but he does manage to camouflage it with his signature style of “the end justifies the means”. It works here again and yet he sticks to the faithful commercial tag of the film banking heavily on Rajinikanth’s screen presence. The first half is typical masala with the “routine” consuming most of it. It’s in the second half that the movie gets going with some intensity and drama. The light hearted romance is OK.

Rajinikanth swishes, swashes, charms, dances and bullies as the cop. His fans will lap every moment of it. Nayantara knows her pace and place very well and works to a T. Suneil Shetty as the antagonist is impressive. Prateek Babbar in a short role does good. Nivetha Thomas is decent.Yogi Babu provides the comic relief

Cinematography by veteran Santosh Sivan is brilliant. Anirudh scores a scorching background score and the songs though not in the same league as his earlier “Petta” works on screen. Editing by Sreekar Prasad could have been tighter in terms of duration of the film. Dialogues are good and direction is standard.

70, is an age when most sit and look back at their journey thus far, moments of pride and regret, while this phenomenon at 70 in his super success voyage continues to entertain unabatedly. A testimony to factors beyond just luck….

Rajini Darbar Reigns!!





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