Darbar: Strictly for Rajnikant fans only

Film: Darbar

Cast: Rajnikant, Nayanthara, Prateik Babbar,Suneil Shetty, Nivetha Thomas

Director: A. R. Murugadoss

Rating: **

This film plays out another variation of the saviour stereotype that every Rajni film has been plagued with of late. A top cop Aaditya Arunasalam (Rajnikant) is tasked with ending the drug menace in Mumbai, and to do this, he goes on a murderous rampage against the most feared and ruthless mafia lord. The story is typical of a genre film and attempts to whip up the requisite hysteria unfortunately, it doesn’t work.

Aaditya picks up one thorn after another before he can engage in a histrionic face-off with the ace villain. First Ajay Malhotra (Prateik Babbar), chief drug supplier in the city is eliminated – which prompts the return of dreaded Hari Chopra (Suniel Shetty). Hari, in turn, targets Aaditya and his daughter Valli (Nivetha Thomas) for his peculiar jollies.

Murugadoss’s narrative plays to his hero’s much loved antics. So there’s heavy melodrama, cheesy histrionics, stylised trickery and loads of toony action on display here. There’s too much confusion in the plotting, the grandstanding has become stale and mouldy and even the staple elements feel curdled and sour.

The actors can do little to rise above this wilful degeneration. Logic goes to sleep so often here that it all begins to feel totally unreal. Rajni hogs the show but there’s nothing new to him. The unnecessarily stretched out narrative, ungainly action choreography, pitiable face-offs, stagey theatrics and unexciting plotting makes this rather dull and unexciting fare.

This is yet another film made to appease the fans and they are the only ones likely to be enthused (if at all) by such random mediocrity.

Also Read: 'Message-oriented films with big stars create awareness': A R Murugadoss on Rajinikanth's 'Darbar'