Darbar (film)

Darbar (transl. Court) is a 2020 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film written and directed by A. R. Murugadoss, and produced by Allirajah Subaskaran under the banner of Lyca Productions. The film stars Rajinikanth, Nayanthara, Nivetha Thomas, and Sunil Shetty. The music for the film composed by Anirudh Ravichander while cinematography and editing are performed by Santhosh Sivan and Sreekar Prasad, respectively. The film was released in India on 9 January 2020, coinciding with Thai Pongal. The film was considered to be a failure financially.[6][7]

Darbar release poster.jpg
Darbar Poster
Directed byAR Murugadoss
Produced byAllirajah Subaskaran
Screenplay byAR Murugadoss
Music byAnirudh Ravichander
CinematographySantosh Sivan
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Distributed byLyca Productions
Release date
  • 9 January 2020 (2020-01-09)
Running time
150 minutes[1]
  • 1.9–2 billion[a]
Box officeest. 2.5 billion[4][5]


Aaditya Arunachalam, the Commissioner of Mumbai Police, is seen killing numerous gangsters across Mumbai in police encounters. He is shown to be reckless and has become the target for widespread criticism and condemnation. His action finally prompt the National Human Rights Commission of India to take action against him.

In a flashback, Aaditya, a distinguished cop, is assigned to take charge as the Commissioner of Police for Mumbai, in a bid by the police department to curb rampant drug-trafficking and prostitution in the city. He arrives in Mumbai with his daughter Valli, to take charge as the new Commissioner of Police. Upon arrival, he rescues three women, one of whom is the daughter of the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Almost immediately, he initiates a major campaign to clean up drugs and prostitution, using the situation of the minister's kidnapped daughter as a catalyst. During the mission, he apprehends Ajay Malhotra, who is responsible for abducting and abusing minors under the influence of drugs. Ajay is the son of Vinod Malhotra, an influential and powerful industrialist, who becomes enraged at his son's arrest.

Later, under Aditya's directive, the police go to the prison where Ajay is incarcerated, in order to take video evidence of him in jail. However, when the video is shown to Aaditya , a proxy is seen to be acting in place. Having foreseen this, Aaditya requests the Government of India to investigate, which is denied. Through a discreet investigation, Aaditya learns that Ajay is hiding in Thailand. He has the Royal Thai Police arrest Ajay on the charges of illegally entering Thailand with a fake passport and begins the formal diplomatic process to have him repatriated. However, corrupt government officials and politicians under Vinod's payroll declare that Ajay is still incarcerated in India, forcing Aaditya to return to India empty-handed. Undeterred, he shoots Ajay's proxy dead under the pretext of self-defense and declares that "Ajay's" body will be revealed to the public. Forced with no other option, and to avoid public shame, the corrupt officials have Ajay secretly flown back to India and promptly executed, much to Vinod's helplessness. At Ajay's funeral, Vinod reveals to an associate that Ajay is not his son, but that of Hariharan 'Hari' Chopra, a notorious mafia boss and international drug lord, infamously known for murdering several policemen in a brutal massacre 27 years ago

Hari is informed of his son's death and swears revenge. He enters India via the India-Bangladesh border and silently traces Ajay's murder to Aaditya. Seeking retribution, he plots to kill them. Vinod, anticipating what would happen, tries to warn Aaditya through Valli, but is unable to do so. Vinod is later murdered by Hari for failing to protect Ajay. He attacks Aaditya and Valli by orchestrating a gruesome car accident. Aaditya is critically injured but Valli seemingly escapes with minor injuries. However, upon arriving at a hospital, doctors reveal to Valli that although Aaditya will recover, she will die, due to severe internal bleeding sustained as a consequence of the accident. Heartbroken, Valli makes a video recording of herself to her father, bidding a tearful farewell. She dies before Aaditya regains consciousness. Grief-stricken and enraged, Aaditya barges into Vinod's residence, with the intent of seeking revenge, only to learn about his death. Almost driven to the point of insanity, he turns extremely violent and begins a rampage of murdering gangsters, which brings the film back to the present.

Hari organizes an ambush to kill Aaditya and his team. He escapes, but several of his subordinates are injured. He is suspended from the police force as a consequence, but is given a second chance. Perplexed about the connection between the murders of Ajay, Vinod and Valli, he discovers the video clip that Valli had recorded for him, prior to her death, which reveals a third person with a strong connection to the case. With the assistance of police records, Aaditya traces the case back to Hari. He also learns about the true link between Hari, Ajay and Vinod - Hari had handed over Ajay to Vinod to keep him safe, before fleeing India. With the assistance from a prison's inmates, Aaditya traces Vinod's location to the old office complex of 'Mumbai Media', owned by business magnate, Pramod Gupta, one of Hari's associates, with whom he was once cellmates in prison.

With the help of numerous policemen, Aaditya launches a raid on the complex, managing to capture Gupta and murdering all of Hari's goons, but fails to capture Hari himself. Hari retreats to the police station where he had orchestrated his brutal massacre and takes several people hostage. Aaditya arrives at the police station and engages in a bone-chilling fight with Hari, in which the former emerges victorious. He manages to incapacitate Hari and stabs him to death, thus avenging Valli's death and instilling peace in Mumbai.


  • Rajinikanth as Aaditya Arunachalam, commissioner of the Mumbai police
  • Nayanthara as Lilly
  • Nivetha Thomas as Vallikkannu (daughter of Aaditya)[8]
  • Suniel Shetty as Hariharan "Hari" Chopra, Ajay's father
  • Yogi Babu as Koushik Aditya's sidekick
  • Prateik Babbar as Ajay Chopra/Ajay Malhotra
  • Nawab Shah as Vinod Malhotra/Vinod Prathap
  • Sriman as Lilly's cousin
  • Dalip Tahil as Chief Secretary
  • Yograj Singh as the head of the gangsters
  • Jatin Sarna as a gangster
  • Anil Pawar as Ajay's proxy
  • Shamata Anchan as a police inspector
  • Raneesh Thyagarajan as a police inspector
  • Shreya Gupto as Minister's Daughter
  • Sanjay Raghavan as a police inspector
  • Manasvi Kottachi as Lilly's niece
  • Raajesh Chintu as a police inspector
  • Adithya Shivpink as an impersonator
  • Anitha Sampath as newsreader
  • C. Ranganathan as Lilly's father (special appearance in the song "Dumm Dumm")
  • Jeeva as a dancer in the song "Kannula Thimiru"


"Every one of us grew up with [Mr. Rajini] and even professionally, he just has a different vibe. Whenever you see Rajini on-screen doesn't it remind you of your childhood? I made this movie and wrote the script as a fan, how I enjoyed him on-screen. I didn't put the same sequences but with an updated concept. He plays a heroic cop from Mumbai. We even have a similar sequence in the film like the one that took place in the recent Hyderabad vet rape case. I had written a similar sequence in the film where the criminal is punished in the same place he committed the crime. We were surprised to see something like that happen in reality."
– AR Murugadoss about Darbar and Rajinikanth to Times of India[9]

Production of the film began with the working title Thalaivar 167. Lyca Productions announced that they would collaborate with Rajinikanth again after their previous collaboration 2.0 with A. R. Murugadoss directing the film. Principal photography began on 10 April 2019 in Mumbai.[10] Filming began on 8 April 2019, with a first look poster released by Lyca Productions on Twitter and Facebook the same day.[11][12] The first look of Rajinikanth had him surrounded by police dogs, belts, badges and handcuffs.[13]

It was earlier reported that Bollywood actor Prateik Babbar was the main antagonist in Darbar. However, later reports showed that Sunil Shetty was cast as the lead antagonist. Sunil Shetty agreed to play the antagonist despite decling previous offers to play the antagonist in other Tamil films.[14] Murgadoss approached Shetty while he was filming for Marakkar for which Shetty grew his hair long.[15] Murgadoss wanted to do something special with Shetty's long hair. Shetty showed Murgadoss the look of his man bun, which was ultimately used for the film.[16][17][18] Shetty returns to Tamil cinema after his debut film, 12B.[19] In a 2019 interview, Shetty revealed how Darbar is his first "meaty" role in Tamil cinema.[20]

The director further wrote that this action thriller is Rajinikanth's 167th film. Rajinikanth has taken up the role of a cop after almost 27 years, his last police role being the 1992 film Pandiyan.[21] A.R. Murugadoss also stressed on the fact that Darbar is not a political film, "Darbar is a thrilling commercial mass entertainer. I repeat it's not a political film. It is a film about a tough cop like Alex Pandiyan," added the director.[22]


Soundtrack album by
Released7 December 2019
StudioAlbuquerque Records, Chennai
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LanguageTamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam
ProducerAnirudh Ravichander
Anirudh Ravichander chronology
Gang Leader
Singles from Darbar
  1. "Chumma Kizhi"
    Released: 27 November 2019

The film's soundtrack and score was composed by Anirudh Ravichander, marking his second collaboration with actor Rajinikanth after Petta and also with director A. R. Murugadoss after Kaththi. An instrumental theme song for the film titled "Thalaivar Theme", that accompanies with the motion poster was released on 7 November 2019, the same day that the motion poster was released. The film's first single, "Chumma Kizhi", with lyrics by Vivek and sung by S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, was released on 27 November 2019.[23] The film's album was launched on 7 December 2019 at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai.[24] The full album was simultaneously made available to stream via Gaana's online music streaming platform, on the same day itself.[25]


1."Thalaivar Theme" Instrumental0:44
2."Chumma Kizhi"VivekS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Anirudh Ravichander, Rajinikanth (voice-over)3:51
3."Thani Vazhi"Yogi B, Senthuzhan, SyanAnirudh Ravichander, Shakthisree Gopalan, Yogi B (rap portion)3:27
4."Dumm Dumm"VivekNakash Aziz4:33
5."Tharam Maara Single"VivekAnirudh Ravichander, Arjun Chandy3:49
6."Villain Theme" Instrumental1:06
7."Kannula Thimiru"VivekChandramukhi, Rachana, Priya Murthi3:15


1."Thalaivar Theme" Instrumental0:43
2."Dhummu Dholi"Anantha SriramS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Rajinikanth (voice-over)3:51
3."Pratyeka Margam"Rakendu Mouli, Yogi BAnirudh Ravichander, Yogi B (Rap Version), M. M. Manasi3:27
4."Dumm Dumm"Anantha SriramAnurag Kulkarni, Nakash Aziz, Vedala Hemachandra4:33
5."Nanytalo Marpu Single"Anantha SriramNakul Abhyankar, Anirudh Ravichander, Inno Genga, L. V. Revanth3:49
6."Villain Theme" Instrumental1:06


1."Thalaivar Theme" Instrumental0:43
2."Napde Killi"Raqueeb AlamNakash Aziz3:49
3."Thalaiva in Charge"Raqueeb AlamRaftaar, Yogi B (Rap Version), Bhoomi Trivedi, Shakthisree Gopalan3:27
4."Dumm Dumm"Raqueeb AlamNakash Aziz4:33
5."Dil Toh Cute Hai"Raqueeb AlamArmaan Malik3:49
6."Villain Theme" Instrumental1:06


1."Thalaivar Theme" Instrumental0:43
2."Kaliyakunnu"Rafeeq AhamedVijay Yesudas, Rajinikanth (voice-over)3:49
3."Pratyeka Valli"Rafeeq AhamedUnni Menon, Yogi B (Rap Version), Shashaa Tirupati3:27
4."Dumm Dumm"Rafeeq AhamedM. G. Sreekumar4:33
5."Gunanilavarattilekk Maruka Single"Rafeeq AhamedVijay Prakash, Shankar Mahadevan3:49
6."Villain Theme" Instrumental1:06


Speaking to The Hindu, R. Kannan, COO, Lyca Productions said, "The film will release in 7,000 screens across the world. We are planning to release it in a few islands to reach out to the maximum number of people". Mr. Kannan said that around 15 brands such as SpiceJet, Cadbury's, BookMyShow and Airtel have tied up with the film. "We are spending ₹7–80 million to promote the film. The marketing investment for this film is one of the highest in Tamil cinema," he said, adding that the trade is expecting a super hit.[26] The movie promotion began when SpiceJet airlines unveiled Darbar Rajini livery on its flights. The outside branding on the aircraft bearing an image of Rajinikanth in police uniform from the movie Darbar was displayed.[27] A few years ago, producer Kalaipuli S. Thanu, managed to get the decals of Rajinikanth printed on an Air Asia flight. Now, Rajinikanth has become the only Indian actor to get two aircraft with his pictures on it.[28]


The film had its worldwide release in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi on 9 January 2020, coinciding with the season of Thai Pongal.[12][29]


Critical responseEdit

The film received mixed reviews from critics.[30][31] Behindwoods wrote "Rajini's Darbar has the substance perfectly laced with Superstar's style and mass".[32] Firstpost wrote "Yet another ode to superstar Rajinikanth and a celebratory film for his fans".[33] NDTV wrote "Darbar is targeted fair and square at Rajinikanth fans, but it does nothing to give masala cinema a fresh shot of energy".[34]

Neeshita Nyayapati from Times of India wrote "Rajinikanth and Nivetha Thomas let it rip in this one and Murugadoss makes the best use of it."[35] A Mumbai-based critic from mid-day.com noted "Darbar disposes notions of subtlety to present a film that celebrates the loud and the kitschy".[36]

Box officeEdit


The film reportedly minted Rs 180 million in Tamil Nadu alone on its first day.[37] and it has approximately grossed over Rs 85 crore in Tamil Nadu.[38] Chennai city has been particularly good for Darbar, where it grossed Rs 14.67 crore.[39] while in Kerala and Karnataka it has collected Rs 8 crore and Rs 19 crore respectively. It has collected around Rs 20 crore from Telugu states and around Rs 8 crore from the Hindi version.[40] The film has grossed ₹1.35 billion in domestic box office in 11 days.[41]


Darbar has grossed over 2 billion worldwide in 11 days since its release.[41][42] The film grossed $400,000 (USD) on its opening day in the United States.[43] Just over the opening weekend, Darbar has comfortably raked in $1 million (7.09 crore) in the US.[44] Till 19 January 2020, the film crossed $1.6 million (11.36 crore) in the US.[45] Darbar has collected approximately 70 crore in overseas market in 11 days.[41]

Home mediaEdit

The film was made available to stream on OTT platform Amazon Prime on 24 February 2020. The satellite rights of the film was sold to Sun TV.[46][47]


Darbar has two scenes where characters speak of prison inmates being allowed to go out and shop. The dialogues are not mouthed by Rajinikanth in either scene, though the actor is present in the shot in the movie. Lyca Productions announced that it will be removing controversial dialogues in the film, deemed to be a reference to V. K. Sasikala, the jailed aide of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. Lyca Productions released a statement on Twitter that read: “In Darbar, particular words and dialogues having references to prisoners or inmates going out of jail or prison during their imprisonment was only included with an intention of providing entertainment to the audience and not intended to refer to any specific individual or to offend anyone. However, since some of those words seemed to have hurt some people, we have hereby decided to remove the same from the film."[48] Talking about the same, Sam Daniel from NDTV wrote, "Fans watching superstar Rajinikanth's Darbar will miss his dialogues on irregularities inside prisons which many felt were a tacit dig at jailed Sasikala Natarajan, close friend of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa".[49]


  1. ^ Firstpost estimates the film's budget to be ₹1.9 billion.[2] Republic World estimates the film's budget to be ₹2 billion.[3]


  1. ^ "Darbar (2019)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Darbar pulls in Rs 220 cr pre-release business globally; Sarileru Neekevvaru and Ala Vaikunthapurramulo fetch career-best figures for Mahesh Babu and Allu Arjun". Firstpost. 9 January 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Rajinikanth's Mega-budget Darbar All Set To Hit 7,000 Screens Worldwide, Pre-dawn in Some". Republic World. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Rajinikanth To Be Approached By 'Darbar' Distributors for a Refund As The Film Tanks". Republic World. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Darbar box office: Film ends up as a colossal flop, distributors plan to approach Rajinikanth". Hindustan Times. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Darbar box office: Film ends up as a colossal flop, distributors plan to approach Rajinikanth". Hindustan Times. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  7. ^ "Rajinikanth's Darbar is AR Murugadoss' failure". The Indian Express. 14 January 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  8. ^ "'He's MY appa, Aaditya Arunasalam': Nivetha Thomas on playing Rajinikanth's daughter in 'Darbar'". The New Indian Express. 18 October 2019. Archived from the original on 23 October 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  9. ^ "AR Murugadoss talks about 'Darbar', Rajinikanth and more – Times of India". The Times of India.
  10. ^ "Rajinikanth starts Darbar shoot in Mumbai". The Indian Express. 10 April 2019. Archived from the original on 10 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Rajinikanth's 'Darbar' first look poster out!". www.filmsbit.com. Filmsbit News Network. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  12. ^ a b "The title and first look of #Thalaivar167 released!". Archived from the original on 10 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Rajinikanth starts shooting for his much awaited film Darbar in Mumbai". Pinkvilla. 11 April 2019. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  14. ^ Sharanya CR (28 February 2018). "I'm in cinema because of Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan: Suniel Shetty". Times of India.
  15. ^ K Janani (23 May 2019). "Darbar update: Not Prateik Babbar, Suniel Shetty is main villain in new Rajinikanth film – Movies News". Indiatoday.in. Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Exclusive! Suniel Shetty on his man bun for 'Darbar': I am one of the few heroes with hair left on my head! – Times of India". The Times of India.
  17. ^ "'I deliberately did not reveal Darbar's plot in the trailer' – Times of India". The Times of India.
  18. ^ World, Republic. "Suniel Shetty talks about his look from Darbar, says he is proud of his hair". Republic World.
  19. ^ "Why 'Darbar' is a big deal for Rajinikanth fans". gulfnews.com.
  20. ^ "DARBAR Climax Fight Scene Making – Suniel Shetty Reveals Unheard Secrets! SUPER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW" – via www.youtube.com.
  21. ^ "Rajini's 'Darbar' releases to a full house". Deccan Herald. 9 January 2020.
  22. ^ "AR Murugadoss reveals how Darbar with Rajinikanth happened". India Today.
  23. ^ "Superstar Rajinikanth AR Murugadoss and Anirudh's Chumma Kizhi from Darbar sung by SPB out". behindwoods.com. 27 November 2019., followed by its respective version in Telugu and Hindi.
  24. ^ "ARM directed Thalaivar Rajinikanth's Darbar Audio launch on 7 December Details here". behindwoods.com. 5 December 2019. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  25. ^ @divomovies (8 December 2019). "Listen to the full album of #Darbar exclusively on @gaana" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "Rajini's Darbar to release in 4,000 screens across India". The Hindu.
  27. ^ "Crazy Marketing Strategy Of Rajnikanth's Darbar Is Catching Attention". marketingmind.in.
  28. ^ "After Kabali, Rajinikanth gets Darbar-themed aircraft ahead of film's release". India Today.
  29. ^ "தர்பார் படத்தின் ஃபஸ்ட் லுக் போஸ்டர் – இதையெல்லாம் கவனித்தீர்களா?". Archived from the original on 9 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  30. ^ Pillai, Sreedhar (22 January 2020). "After 'Darbar' and 'Pattas', Kollywood is looking at festival films". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
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  32. ^ "Darbar (aka) Dharbar review". Behindwoods. 9 January 2020.
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  34. ^ "Darbar Movie Review: The Film Is Disappointing, Rajinikanth Isn't". NDTV.com.
  35. ^ "Darbar Movie Review : A celebration of all things Rajinikanth". TimesofIndia. 9 January 2020.
  36. ^ "Darbar Movie Review: Got Rajini Written All Over It". mid-day.com. 10 January 2020.
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  38. ^ Upadhyaya, Prakash (28 January 2020). "After Vijay's Bigil, Amazon Prime acquires Rajinikanth's Darbar". International Business Times, India Edition. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  39. ^ Johnson, David (27 January 2020). "Box office collection: Psycho displaces Rajinikanth's Darbar from top position in Chennai". International Business Times, India Edition. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
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  41. ^ a b c "Darbar enters Rs 200 crore club, fifth Rajinikanth film to achieve feat". Hindustan Times. 21 January 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  42. ^ "'Darbar' box office collection: Superstar Rajinikanth's starrer enters 200 crore club in 11 days – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  43. ^ "'Darbar' USA Box Office: Rajinikanth's film sets a new record on a working day – Times of India". The Times of India.
  44. ^ "Darbar box office collection: Day 3". India Today.
  45. ^ World, Republic. "Rajinikanth's Darbar and Mahesh Babu's Sarileru Nikkevvaru's box office collection update". Republic World. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  46. ^ "Amazon Prime February 2020 releases: 'Darbar', 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood', 'Hunters' and more". The Hindu. 4 February 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  47. ^ "Sun TV acquires the satellite rights of Rajinikanth and AR Murugadoss' Darbar". Behindwoods. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  48. ^ "Controversial scenes to be removed from Rajini's Darbar". The Hindu.
  49. ^ "Rajinikanth's "Darbar" To Remove Tacit Reference To Sasikala in Jail". NDTV.

External linksEdit