Rajini Sets Up His“Darbar”In Mumbai And Has Mixed Experiences
Ali Peter John
It was not so long ago when Rajini was not such a big star, he was not the Thalaiva and he was still very popular in the South, but very few people in Mumbai (it was Bombay then) recognised him and he loved coming to Bombay to shoot for the few films he did in Hindi like “Geraftaar”,“Hum”and the last Hindi film he did in Bombay and in Hindi was“Takkar”in which he had a clash with his“guru”Shatrughan Sinha, but things didn’t work out the way those who made the film wanted it to be made and it read delayed for a long time and I am not even sure whether it was released. Raja Roy, brother of Reena Roy was the producer and Harmesh Malhotra, the director….
Rajini loved shooting in Bombay mainly because he could do all the things he couldn’t do in any part of the South. I knew how he in his jeans, an ordinary T-shirt and rubber slippers could walk into any bazaar(the Century Bazaar in Worli was his favourite) and could buy all that he wanted without anyone disturbing him or worrying him in any way. He was not recognised even in public places and he loved taking advantage of this unknown Rajini who was a God in the South. He even walked into country liquor bars without any hesitation and enjoyed himself, sometimes alone and sometimes with some newly made friends. He once said, “how I wish I could live like this in the South too”. His favourite hotel was always the Sun-n-Sand Hotel. He had not shot in Mumbai for years and I think he must have never thought about how much Bombay had changed and even its name had been changed to Mumbai…
He did visit Mumbai once in a way, especially if it was something to do with his films and the last time he partly shot for his film, “Kaala”in which he had Nana Patekar as his co-star. The subject of the film was based in the changing face of Mumbai….
He and his team which was planning a big film called “Darbar”had decided to shoot a major part of the film in one of the suburbs of Mumbai. His entire team headed by director, A.R Murgudos landed in Mumbai and headed straight for Juhu where Rajini had his favourite hotel, Sun-n-Sand still standing in all its glory in spite of hundreds of other hotels coming up. The other members of the unit settled down in all the other smaller hotels which were close to the Sun-n-Sand, so that work and coordination could be easy. For a number of days, there was a silent but strong Rajini wave all around Juhu and it kept growing as people spread the word.
There was only one occasion when Rajini could have repented his decision to shoot in the changed Mumbai. And that was when there was an unnecessary squirmish between the local students of the college on whose campus the film was being shot. However, with the goodwill of Rajini and the cool and calm attitude of Murgudos, the dispute was solved at least till the unit could wrap up the shooting of this spell in Mumbai.
“Darbar”as the name suggests is a big film planned to be made on a very ambitious scale and will or may be certainly have some political undertones of politics to keep up with the new image of Rajini as the rising politician.
It has the leading lady superstar of the South, Nayantara as the leading lady and who is playing the kind of roles no other heroine in Mumbai or in the South has played. The director wanted Nayantara and started shooting only when he was assured that he would have Nayantara to be cast opposite the Thailava.
Prateik Babbar and Dalip Tahil are the other actors from Mumbai who are playing important roles and“Darbar”is being made with a certain amount of urgency because it has to send home a message from Rajini to his people before the elections to the Vidhan Sabha in which both he and his contemporary for years, Kamal Haasan are making hectic preparations. Who will rule the“Darbar”in Tamil Nadu? The answer to this question is being awaited by the millions of fans of both Rajini and Kamal and M.K Stalin, the son of the late K.A Karunanidhi with his crowd of admirers, who are largely the followers of Karunanidhi and there is also the shadow of the late J. Jayalalitha which is waiting to see if the shadow can still change into a reality. Who will finally win, the dream merchants or the hard-core politicians? And will Rajni’s“Darbar”have a role to play in the future of the elections and the battle for power in Tamil Nadu?
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