Director A R Murugadoss, whose latest release "Darbar" will see superstar Rajinikanth play the role of a cop after 26 years, says message-oriented films with big stars can bring about an awareness in the society.
Rajinikanth had last don khaki in 1992 Tamil film "Pandian". In "Darbar", he plays the commissioner of police, Mumbai.
According to industry grapevine, "Darbar" deals with the subject of sex crimes, and that it features an incident very similar to the recent Hyderabad gangrape and murder case of a veterinarian.
"I am a father myself; therefore, when the Hyderabad cops killed the rapists in an encounter, I felt happy. When cops give exemplary and instant justice, the public admires them. Just as the Hyderabad cops killed the rapists at the spot where the crime took place, something similar is shown in 'Darbar'," Murugadoss, 45, told PTI.
"There are two types of cops - those who are puppets in the hands of the powerful, and those who have integrity and individuality. Those with integrity are lionised in our society and films. You'll see Rajini sir as an aggressive cop and his actions will be justified," he added.
The director, known for films like "Ghajini", "Thhupakki" and "Kaththi", said the team had shot the scene months before the Hyderabad incident.
"We had shot the episode months before the incident took place in Hyderabad. Rajini sir called me and talked about that scene after the encounters in Hyderabad," he added.
Asked if he sees cinema as a medium to deliver socially-relevant stories, Murugadoss said there a movie should have both entertainment and message.
"It shouldn't be just about fun. Change doesn't take place overnight. But message-oriented films starring big stars can create a sense of awareness. People will feel guilty about indulging in misdeeds. 'Darbar' is in that zone." It took him 15 years to work with Rajinikanth and the director calls it a dream come true.
"Rajini sir called me for the first time after the release of 'Ghajini', and congratulated me on my work. He reached out to me again after the release of his film 'Sivaji'. This time he expressed an interest in working with me. It was around the same time I went to Bollywood to make 'Ghajini', and therefore our plan to collaborate got delayed," he said.
Having finally worked with the 70-year-old superstar, Murugadoss is impressed with the actor's vitality.
"I've been amazed by his personality since my childhood. When an offer came to work with him, I didn't want to lose the opportunity at any cost. This project was important not just for me but for my family and friends as well," he said.
Murugadoss also said working with Rajinikanth, who plays a character called Aaditya Arunasalam in "Darbar", was a learning experience.
"We shot the film realistically. For instance, a scene was shot in real rain and Rajini sir had no qualms to step into the rain and shoot. He advised me to focus on work and not pay heed to negativity and competition," he said.
"Darbar", which has been produced by Lyca Productions, also stars Suniel Shetty, Nayanthara and Nivetha Thomas in crucial roles. The film released on Thursday.