I went in to watch Rustom knowing very little about the Nanavati murder case that it is loosely based on and has two previous big screen installments in Gulzarsaab’s Achanak and Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke with Sunil Dutt.
Rustom Pavri, a highly decorated and respected naval commander shoots the man who was having an affair with his wife when he was away on duty and turns himself in to the Police. The movie focuses mainly on subsequent investigation and trial and frequently flashbacks into events leading to the murder.
Rustom has a fairly engaging plot and for a lot of it, is quite pacy and will keep you interested in knowing what will happen. Now and then it lapses into lengthy flashbacks that act as speed bumps. The second half – which mainly comprises of the courtroom sequences goes in a very different direction to what I was expecting. Remember those 80s masala movies ke court scenes? Where someone cracks a dialogue and the entire audience in the court erupts into laughter, claps, whistles and the poor judge is left screaming Order Order! That is pretty much the route Rustom takes post interval. It sacrifices intensity and seriousness and plays completely to the gallery going for laughs instead. They work in a lot of places but if you want to like it, you’ve got to make peace with this not being a serious courtroom drama very early on in the case. For fans of American TV shows with a legal backdrop, a lot of things will seem very amateurish and even laughable.
Most of the cast does well. Akshay Kumar is sincere and underplays to a tee – the righteous naval commander who does the right thing in the wrong way. Ileana looks really pretty and is fairly efficient as his repentant wife. Kumud Mishra (best of the lot), Pawan Malhotra, Anang Desai, Usha Nadkarni play their likable parts well. I’d have liked to see Esha Gupta show at least one expression of grief at the loss of her brother, but I guess she skipped that stage entirely.
What I also quite liked was the way it created the era with the sets, make-up and costumes. The movie has some passable numbers with Tere Sang Yaara being the best of the lot.
In some places the effects do come off a tad tacky. What I didn’t like is the super loud background score. In general the movie carries an over-the-top tone and is very in your face. The flashbacks get a bit repetitive and it also features one of the worst jury sequences I’ve seen on celluloid.
Overall, Rustom mostly works, just not in the way I expected it to. Don’t go in expecting a serious thriller or courtroom drama, and you will be entertained.
Genre: Crime, mystery
Directed by: Tinu Suresh Desai
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz
Running time: 150 minutes