Darbar – My Flash Review

In a piece (read here) I wrote 2 weeks ago on the pre- release buzz around Darbar, I asked “Is Darrbar going to be a trademark Murugadoss film or once again a fan boy tribute to the Superstar? “  In this review, I will attempt to answer this question.

It was important to shut the mind to – one hand, the various bhakt reviews which have come of the film elevating the film and of course Rajinikanth to “vera level” and other hand of the professional reviewers’ views which have put the film in an average to above average category.

First up, this is an out and out Rajinikanth film. Murugadoss tries desperately to put his stamp in the screen play but gets consumed by the persona of the Superstar. Every scene shows this predicament.

This is a Rajini padam. So, it is naturally immune to the necessity of logic,… in the script. Rajini comes back as a cop on screen after a long while and you can see that he has total fun playing the role. I must have said the same for his earlier films like Kabali, Kaala and Petta. Here again, Rajini lifts a very ordinary, aradha pazhaya story line with his screen presence, energy and charisma. Replace Rajini with any actor and the same film will be consigned as total waste by film goers and critics alike. But Rajini’s presence in that elevates an ordinary script to a large extent. In that sense, 45 years after his debut, the Rajini magic still lasts and that’s enviable for any actor.

The story is set in Mumbai for no reason! Can’t understand the Tamil film makers’ fancy for a Mumbai backdrop. Hordes of characters speak in Hindi which for convenience and understanding is dubbed in Tamil. They could have saved of this trouble if the story was set in Chennai itself!

Apart from Rajini, his daughter character is cast well and in the role, the young Nivetha Thomas leaves a lasting impact. The scenes where Rajini and she come together are etched well and are some of the best moments in the film. Nayanthara looks stunning and seems she is there because opposite the Superstar it has to be the lady Superstar after all. She has nothing much to do except looking ravishingly beautiful in sarees. Yogi Babu continues to be an over rated comedian in this as well and I had to really try hard to manufacture a laugh at his lines!

Memorable Rajini films have memorable villains opposite him. This film has Suneil Shetty who is a damp squib. The climax incidentally the only scene when Rajini gets to meet Shetty is tepid.

In the whole film Rajini walks, walks in fast mo, walks in slow mo and repeats. If Rajinikanth has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, at least a Padma Shri must be awarded to his make up man and costume designer. Rajinikanth doesn’t look his age (70) at all and looks at least 30 years younger. Credit for the same must go to his make up man for sure.

Anirudh’s background song is energetic and foot tapping most of the time to suit Rajini’s energy. Songs are average. The song Summa Kizhi looked like a straight of ‘Annatha aaduraar othikko’ song from Aboorva Sagotharargal in most parts.

Santosh Sivan’s camera work is good but ARM gives less scope unlike Thuppaaki!
The film is watchable and like-able overall for Rajini. It is out and out masala entertainer if you are a Rajini fan. But may not endure to family audiences and may not end up in Rajini’s memorable film list.

It’s time Directors stop taking films as odes to the Superstar. And may be write the script first and cast Rajini if it suits the script rather than trying to write a script to pay tribute to the Rajinikanth of yore. Rajinikanth still has it in him and deserves a skilled script writer and a director without any baggage of a fan boy.

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