The director, who made his debut with Dheena in 2002, had narrated several scripts to Rajini since then and finally convinced him to act in Darbar. Being a true Rajini fan himself, Murugadoss not only delivers a racy action entertainer tailor-made for him, but also celebrates ‘Rajinism’ to the fullest.
Though the film has a lot of logical loopholes, Darbar is undoubtedly one of the best-looking Rajini films — thanks to cinematographer Santosh Sivan. The film begins with the display of newspaper articles that read ‘Aditya Arunachalam is a mad cop’ and that he is on a killing spree. The director makes it clear in the very first scene that the audience are set to witness the story of a cop in Mumbai who is in search of dreaded criminals.
Aditya Arunachalam (Rajinikanth), a top cop from Tirunelveli district, gets appointed as the Police Commissioner of Mumbai, to save the city from the rising drug menace and human trafficking. He shifts his base to the city with his daughter Valli (Nivetha Thomas), who spends most of her time with him. In a bid to clean up the city, Aditya goes on a rampage and kills many gangsters. In the process, he meets Ajay Chopra (Prateik Babbar), who is also involved in drug abuse and abduction of minor girls from the city. He kills him too. Just when he thinks that Ajay’s death would help them reduce the growing problem of drug addiction in the city, Aditya faces a personal loss. Within a few minutes, he understands that Hari Chopra (Suniel Shetty), a dreaded criminal who was responsible for the deaths of many police officials in Mumbai 30 years ago, is the sole reason for his personal loss. What follows is a typical revenge drama.
Darbar is more of a Rajini film and less of Murugadoss’. The actor’s infectious energy makes it enjoyable from the start till the end. There is also a scene where he shows off his muscles and the crowd goes berserk. Like one of the dialogues in the film, ‘Age is just a number’, Rajini continues to prove that he can do wonders even in his 70s. Darbar gives his fans multitude of moments to celebrate their idol. Unlike ARM’s previous film, the romantic portions involving Nayanthara and Rajini are not out of place and are quite engaging. However, Nayanthara’s screen time is very less and she doesn’t have much of a scope to perform. Nivetha Thomas and Rajini share great chemistry on screen as father and daughter. Nivetha’s performance is impressive and we couldn’t think of anyone else who could pull off the role with such grace. Yogi Babu’s one-liners kept the audience’s ribs tickled and his character got along well with the story. Anirudh’s background score, which was more like a compilation of Rajinikanth’s hit BGM tracks, worked to a great extent. In fact, it is the film’s biggest plus. The only drawback is that ARM could have concentrated on the intensity of the script too. If it had the clarity and depth that Ramanaa had, this film would be celebrated for years.