Cast: Rajinikanth, Yogi Babu, Sunil Shetty, Nivetha Thomas, Nayanthara
There’s a thin line between nostalgia and outdated. While Darbar tried the former, it, unfortunately, falls on the latter! If there’s one thing to take away from Darbar, it’s this: if you bring in ‘Thalaivar Mass”, common sense is up for a toss.
Gangster and drug-bust being such a time-worn genre it’s very hard to make a fresh, original mob film. Darbar feels like a shopworn, clumsy mix of A.R Muragadas’s previous justice-served films like Kaththi, Thupakki, and Rajini’s gangster movies gone wrong.
Given drug lords’ tendency to outsmart the police, Mad Cop Aditya Arunachalam is the perfect man to be put in charge of an anti-drug task force in Mumbai city. He is someone who does not play by the rule. Soon, he’s got his nose to the pavement wiping the city clean, digging out every thug responsible for drugs and women-trafficking in Mumbai, within a day. Save the eye-rolling, there’s more. In the process of wanting to kill every bad guy in the city for a personal reason, Aditya defies the law, kills, threatens human rights commission, disobeys the government, puts the police force at risk all while still keeping his job as Mumbai City’s Police Commissioner. Nice! Follow the movie as it moves from mass to nag to irrelevant to boring with splashes of feeble old Rajini nostalgia – the walk, the glasses, the BGM – that will wake you up here and there, and oh! Yogi Babu’s comic humor too.
When something completely irrelevant and illogical is happening on the screen, Anirudh’s BGM rings in distracting the audience to focus on the big picture which is again “Thalaivar”.
After Rajini in the film, Yogi Babu shines the most. His performance and timely humour left us wishing for more of him in the film. Nivetha Thomas who plays Aditya’s daughter, Valli is charming and plays her part in the film well with decent screen time. Nayanthara, on the other hand, did not have any significant screen time or role. Looking back at the movie it’s hard to recollect her presence or why she was there. It’s really unfortunate because we are sure she can deliver so much more than just wearing elegant sarees with jhumkas and looking beautiful. Why should a movie have a heroine if it does not require one? When it comes to an antagonist what’s with Kollywood’s obsession with turning the North Indians as villains? It just doesn’t sit right! At least the villain should have an equal enigma and charisma to the hero or the balance is gone. Suniel Shetty enmity and fight with Rajini is just a weak brawl.
How many of these Rajini celebratory movies are we set to watch? Isn’t it time to put all that talent and fame and capacity into a few non-commercial, sensible movies that are uplifted by a strong storyline than just the “Thalaivar glory”?
verdict: An exhausted story line with a clumsy & disappointing climax!