The film is directed by Tinu Suresh Desai.
Akshay Kumar's Rustom releases along with Hrithik Roshan's Mohenjo Daro this week. The film is based on the famous Nanavati case that happened in the fifties. So how is the film? Will Akshay Kumar make a hattrick this year? Read on to find out...
What's it about
Rustom is a fictionalised account of those three bullets that shook the nation in the fifties. Cdr. Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) returns home early from his voyage, only to find his find Cynthia (Ileana D'Cruz) is not at home and she has been out from the previous day. Feeling suspicious, he checks her belongings to find she is having an affair with their common friend, Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa). After confronting his wife, he goes to the Naval armoury, borrows a gun and goes to Vikram's house to shoot him. Later, he himself surrenders to the police, who are shell-shocked as the rest of the nation. Vikram's socialite sister Preeti (Esha Gupta) wants the man to be punished at all costs, while a Parsi press owner (Kumud Mishra) plays the Parsi card to gain support him. Rustom himself plays his decorated Navy credentials to show he is more of a patriot than a killer, as he later tells the court he is not guilty. So what is Rustom? A true patriot? Or a cold-blooded murderer? The rest of the film answers that for you.
The infamous KM Nanavati vs The State was one of the very popular trials the country has witnessed. After all, in very few trials, has an accused gone scot-free even when everyone knows he has committed the murder. However, his popularity as a Naval officer and the reasons behind his crime of passion were enough for people to celebrate the verdict. So a big plus for the makers for taking on this subject. Another positive for the makers is how they painstakingly recreated the 50s era for the film. Sure, at times the CGI is obvious and some memorabilia from the golden era are too glaringly placed for our view. Yet, it's a job done well. The first half of the film is quite decent in setting up the plot and the further courtroom drama.
Akshay Kumar once again excels as the man guilty of murder but not of the crime. It may not be as good a role as he had played in Airlift, yet whenever the actor is on screen, he demands your attention. Ileana D'Cruz looks lovely, and gives able support to Akshay. However, her character is a bit shortchanged. Pavan Malhotra, Brijendra Kala and Kumud Mishra are fine.
When you go for a movie like Rustom, especially after watching the trailer, you expect high octane court drama proceedings. However, I feel it's here that the film takes a beating. Blame it on our exposure to terrific shows like The People vs OJ Simpson (which again is based on a real-life trial), but we did expect a lot from Rustom, especially when the courtroom drama starts. But the director is more interested in Bollywood-ising the narrative than pulling off a tight narrative. We understand Rustom has to be perceived as a hero in public, mirroring what happened in the Nanavati case, but that portrayal is so sudden here that we are amused when Rustom is greeted by fans and wellwishers outside the court. It's like Coldplay is in town. Moreover, the semi-cartoonish portrayals of the prosecutor (Sachin Khedekar, surprisingly hammy) and the judge (Anant Nag, reliving his Khichdi days) don't help matters at all. Every character surrounding Rustom are too one dimensional, the biggest victim being Esha Gupta's socialite, who mostly preens and pouts and smokes. The subplot of the Navy scandal is quite weak, and the romantic songs are forced.
What to do
Rustom is not a bad film in essence, however a little more conviction in the narrative could have made it one of the best courtroom dramas of all time. Watch it purely for Akshay Kumar or watch it if you want to know the basic skeleton of the Nanavati case (if you are too lazy to read its Wikipedia page).
3 out of 5
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