AR Murugadoss has said he was very happy when the accused in Disha's rape and murder case were killed by the Hyderabad police in an encounter on the same spot where they committed the crime. The director revealed that Darbar, featuring superstar Rajinikanth, has a similar scene.
AR Murugadoss of Ghajini and Thuppaki fame has teamed up with Rajinikanth for the first time in his career. Their first movie Darbar, which shows the superstar as cop Aditya Arunachalam, is set to hit the screens across the globe on January 9 as a Sankranthi treat. The team is currently busy with the promotion of the film, which will be released by producer NV Prasad in the Telugu States.
Ahead of its release, director AR Murugadoss spoke about Darbar, Rajinikanth's role abd his experience on the set. He also revealed what to expect from the film and why it is going to tick with the audience. Here are the excerpts of AR Murugadoss' interview.
How did this project fall into place? Rajinikanth has said that he had been wanting to work with you for 15 years.
Rajini sir called me after Ghajini and that's when I met him for the first time. He has the habit of congratulating and blessing directors who deliver good movies. After the release of Shivaji, he evinced interest in working with me. It's then that I got an opportunity to remake Ghajini in Hindi. Our planned collaboration kept getting delayed as Rajini got busy with Robo and other projects later.
From childhood, we have been amazed by Rajini sir. I didn't want to lose the opportunity to work with him at any cost. My friends and relatives were elated after knowing that I will work with the Superstar for this project. I started feeling the pressure suddenly (Laughs). Rajini sir will drop a project even in the final stage if he doesn't like the script. I zeroed in on the story of Darbar quite early.
The trailer of Darbar makes us think that it's a full-on commercial entertainer. What can we expect from the movie?
I have infused the kind of elements I would expect from Rajini sir as an audience. Darbar is an updated movie that will connect with the current generation.
This is your first cop movie. Rajinikanth is looking powerful as an aggressive cop. What kind of role has he played in the movie?
The film talks about the issues faced by a city like Mumbai. It's topical. There are two types of cops - those who are puppets in the hands of the powerful and those who have integrity and individuality. The latter are lionized in our society and films.
I am a father myself; therefore, when the Hyderabad cops killed in an encounter the accused in Disha's rape and murder case, 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. We had shot the episode months before the incident took place in Hyderabad. Rajini sir himself called me up and talked about that scene after the encounter in Hyderabad.
We have high expectations from punch lines. Because it's Rajini himself!
When Rajini sir delivers a line in his style, it acquires aura. You will find hero-elevating lines and such in 'Darbar'. He has elevated several moments with his grace.
Do you consciously make it a point to deliver a message with your movies?
For me, there should be both entertainment and message in a movie. It shouldn't be just about fun. Change doesn't take place overnight. But message-oriented films starring big names can create a sense of awareness. People will feel guilty about indulging in misdeeds. 'Darbar' is that zone.
Rajinikanth is described as a dedicated actor. What have you learned by observing him?
We have shot the film realistically. For example, a scene was shot in actual rain. Rajini sir wasn't reluctant even a bit to step into the rain and pull off the scene. His energy would infect others on the set. Rajini sir advises me to focus on my work and refrain from thinking about unnecessary things like competition. As a spiritual person, he has given me valuable suggestions.
Tell us about Nayanthara and Suneil Shetty and what to expect from them.
I got to work with Nayanthara after years. Although she is much younger than Rajini sir, the pair looks awesome. It's magical. Since this is primarily a hero-vs-villain film, her character is more about entertainment. Suneil Shetty sir has played a strong villain in the movie, matching up to Rajini sir's heroism. As for Anirudh's BGM, it is superb.
How was it working with Lyca Productions, one of the most prestigious production houses in the country? Did you feel the pressure?
The pressure is always there because you have to be amazing when you are doing a superstar's movie. Lyca is into corporate business in about 25 countries. A visit to Subaskaran sir's office once made me admire how his British subordinates were calling him 'Sir, Sir'. There was a time when Britishers used to rule us, right? Subaskaran is a passionate producer. I am glad that NV Prasad, who has been a long-time friend, is producing the Telugu version. He is like a family. My association with him goes beyond cinema.