Why 'Darbar' is better than 'Petta'

Why 'Darbar' and not 'Petta' is a fitting tribute to the Rajinikanth of old

Rajinikanth in Darbar. (Screen grab from YouTube)

Tamil star Rajinikanth's Darbar, the first release of the Pongal season, is doing pretty well at the Tamil Nadu box office. The actioner collected close to Rs 20 crore on day one, exceeding expectations. The film is also a marked improvement over Petta and comes across as the real tribute to the 'Superstar' of old.

Unlike the Karthik Subbaraj-helmed movie, Darbar features an emotional storyline and refrains from relying only on style. The father-daughter bond, which forms its backbone, was simply not there in Petta and this made the Sun Pictures-backed biggie an unsatisfactory experience for the neutral moviegoer.

Similarly, Darbar's leading ladies (Nayanthara and Nivetha Thomas) have reasonably well-defined characters and are an inseparable part of Aaditya Arunasalam's journey. However, in Petta, Simran simply vanished after the first half while Trisha was hardly there.

AR Murugadoss has also successfully created a hero that has shades of three iconic Rajinikanth characters. The 'bad cop' is just as intense as John Mendes (John Jaani Janardhan) and has Chitti's (Enthiran) mean streak. Similarly, at a crucial point in Darbar, he becomes as sadistic as Maanik Baashha (Baashha). Unfortunately, Petta's Kaali had none of these traits.

Darbar also rises a notch above other mass entertainers as it deals with sensitive issues like trafficking and drug abuse in a sensitive yet engaging way. Even though Petta too touched upon topics like moral policing and vigilantism, the impact was diluted due to its overdependence on style. 

Lastly, Darbar sticks to basics and builds an aura around Rajini's character right from the word go and also does a fair job of establishing Sunil Shetty's character as the manifestation of evil. While 'Anna' has a short role, he puts in a solid performance, impressing in the 'gift' scene. To be fair, Petta too featured a sincere performance from Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui. However, the flick had too many characters and the impact was diluted. 

All in all, Darbar is just what the doctor ordered for fans this festive season and proves that Rajini is still the 'Super One'.

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