Rustom is a convoluted yet superficial crime-thriller directed by Tinu Suresh Desai and produced by Neeraj Pandey. Starring Akshay Kumar, the eponymous lead, Ileana D’Cruz as his wife Cynthia and Esha Gupta, as the sister of deceased socialite-businessman Vikram, Rustom tries to bring to the fore one of the most discussed courtroom cases in India, K.M. Nanavati vs the State of Maharashtra. Before we get to the review, a brief about the actual case:
K.M. Nanavati vs the State of Maharashtra : In 1959, decorated Naval Commander Nanavati was tried for the murder of Prem Ahuja, the lover of his wife Sylvia. Nanavati used to be away on assignments for months at a stretch, during which time his wife Sylvia developed an illicit relationship with their mutual acquaintance Prem. Nanavati came to know about his wife’s adultery and confronted Prem, asking if he intended to marry her. There were two versions of Prem’s reply. One, where his sister Mamie asserted that Prem was serious about Sylvia and the other where Nanavati revealed the frivolous and philandering nature of Prem. The case was the last to involve a Jury and their verdict was assumed to be influenced by the media and higher-ups in the system.
Alas, the movie comes across as a self aware and overtly glorifying saga, bent on making a hero out of a murderer.
Akshay Kumar’s Rustom takes all the aspects of this story and tries to serve a delicious thrill-a-minute roller coaster. Alas, the movie comes across as a self aware and overtly glorifying saga, bent on making a hero out of a murderer. Notwithstanding the circumstances of the murder, the premeditation of it all screams of foul play from the start. But the director unnecessarily tries to reroute the story through various small pits stops and including themes of patriotism and righteousness all through. Do not get us wrong. It is a decent watch. But we felt the director got carried away with the release date of the movie and wanted to infuse forced patriotism to cater to the euphoria surrounding India’s Independence Day. The actual story is itself pregnant with dramatic possibilities, yet the makers tried to modify it for dramatic appeal. Akshay is stoic and although he is behind bars and in court for three-fourths of the movie, he is shown to be one step ahead of the game and working on busting a scam. Ileana is consigned to a one dimensional role of the shamed wife. Esha is a surprise in the role of the power-drunk sister of Vikram and gets a meatier role than Ileana. The supporting cast is impressive, with Kumud Mishra as Erach Billimoria, the Newspaper owner who launches a mass support campaign through media for Rustom, and Pawan Malhotra, as Investigating Officer Vincent Lobo shining bright.
The director tries to give the movie a period feel with bouffant hair and vintage cars and succeeds in making the overall look of the movie appear colourful on the big screen. The music is good, although such a story demands fewer use of songs. The background score is pulsating, which we have come to expect from movies where Neeraj Pandey is associated. The feud between the Parsi and the Sindhi communities, as a result of the murder was left undercooked. The movie tries to capture a courtroom drama and the sequences which unfold during the proceedings. Few unwanted laughs also come in between, which distract a bit. For a lawyer representing the State of Maharashtra, Sachin Khedekar plays a caricature of the prosecution representative.
Akshay Kumar tries to be honest to the character and maintains the Navy gravitas in the entirety of the movie.
The pacing of the movie is fast which is a pre-requisite for a thriller and the director succeeds in keeping the flow fluid. Akshay Kumar tries to be honest to the character and maintains the Navy gravitas in the entirety of the movie. We must commend the actor for selecting stories which are gritty and a welcome change to the usual masala being served to the audience. He is one bankable star who can carry action and drama on his shoulders with equal aplomb. Expectations were high from this movie and although it did not quite reach the highs, still it is a good one time watch.
gobblpoint: Watch it for one of the most talked about real life crime-thriller stories. Also watch it for Akshay Kumar. He is one actor who does not compromise of story for bravado and super stardom.
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