Darbar : A Rajinism filled movie... But that's about it

Folks!! Get ready! The first post on superstar Rajinikanth! After all, what is a movie website worth, if it doesn't have even one post about Thalaivar!!

Durbar is a Tamil film directed by A.R. Murugadoss of Kaththi and Thuppakki fame. It stars, Superstar Rajinikanth as a cop after 27 years. First, a Thalaivar movie, irrespective of the role played by him sends his fans to a frenzy each time a new movie is announced. This time the frenzy was only heightened as he was starring under the direction of A.R. Murugadoss, who had already proved his mettle in the thriller genre with hits like Ramana, Ghajini, Thuppakki and so on.

Add to that the reunion of Lady Superstar Nayanthara with the Superstar for the first time Since Chandramukhi (2005) after 15 years! Suniel Shetty from Bollywood playing the villain and Anirudh roped in for the second time as the Music Director after a brilliant Petta got the hype sky high - and rightly so.

Yet... Did all the hype with the cast and crew translate itself into the much-anticipated magic on the big screen? Before answering this question, I would like to take you, dear readers, on a short detour.

I am a Thalaivar fan. I wouldn't say die-hard as I have seen and heard what it means. However, staunch will not be too strong a word. The love for his mannerisms, style, dialogue delivery, the pronunciation of the word "santhosham", the love for his voice and his majestic on-screen presence is something that I share with every other Rajini fan in the world. For instance, when I watched Petta on the big screen, I literally watched him there with my mouth open. Each frame of the movie was by a Rajini fan, for a Rajini fan and it definitely served the purpose.

Let's get back to the question. I went on to watch Darbar with the same expectations. The expectations only rose higher, when I watched one of the director Murugadoss's videos where he said it is on old school Rajini film. I was excited. Did the excitement sustain throughout the film? Well, I got to give it to the director for the momentary highs where I had the gooseflesh moments of Thalaivar's Rajinisms. My favorite is the fight sequence at one of the Metro Rail stations in Mumbai where he bashes up a band of rowdies in front of his daughter (played brilliantly by Nivetha Thomas) with songs being sung by the trans community as the backdrop. But, that's about it.

The movie doesn't come across as a treat for even a Thalaivar fan. The screenplay is shoddy, the characters (except Adithya Arunachalam and Hari Chopra) lack backstories, the songs don't stick to the mind (except for "Thani Vazhi" and the Thalaivar theme that blends with the original Rajini theme composed by Deva) and disappointing underutilization of Suniel Shetty made it a drab of a watch.

When I said I am a Thalaivar fan, I am a fan not just of his mesmerizing persona on screen but also of his acting and the stories that he chooses. The movie Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai (1979) is one such example of his acting prowess. Kala (2018) showed Thalaivar in a story that could never have been thought of. Having watched such performances from him, when I watched Darbar I was disappointed.

In my opinion, Petta (2019) is the ultimate Rajinikanth treat to his fans after Baasha (1995) and Padaiyappa (1999). When slated as an "old-school-Rajini film" I expected something of that sort.

So, in my opinion, Darbar is a failed attempt at making a "Rajini" film with only moments of Rajinism in it. Darbar is available on Amazon Prime to watch.

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