‘Rustom’ lives up to the hype that it created. It is able to engage the audience till the end. Right from the performances to story to music, everything about the film falls into place. It is by no means a perfect film – the pace fluctuates few times - but it is at heart a riveting tale of a man who is smart, cunning yet likeable. The suspense will keep you engrossed till the end and you might find yourself wondering if a murder can be ignored as a passion crime – the question ‘Rustom’ raises. Besides few slips here and there, the screenplay, over all, is put together pretty well. Akshay as Rustom is brilliant and the actresses – Ileana and Esha – are strong in their roles. The music of the film is hummable and the background score engages you as much as the story. We would recommend the film for pure unadulterated storyline and the way it weaves the relationships between characters. We would definitely give a good recommendation to ‘Rustom’.
A naval officer kills his wife’s boyfriend and pleads not guilty. The jury weighs its options and declares it an accidental death. The decorated navy commander walks scot-free. But there’s more to the case than what meets the eyes. The only person who knows what exactly is the missing link is Rustom Pavri, the accused standing in the witness box. Though part of the story is based on fact, it’s the relationship drama that actually makes this a thriller. It’s a juicy retro story given more panache with a voiceover by Manoj Bajpayee, who introduces us to Mumbai’s Queen’s Necklace in sepia. The premise is fairly simple. Director Tinu Desai’s characters reveal themselves rather obviously: A heartbroken naval officer, his cheating wife, the Casanova lover, his evil sister, sympathetic cops, an ambitious reporter and an overtly confused jury. But, slowly and surely, the movie grips you. More on the lines of Special 26 than Airlift or Baby, Kumar tones it down to suit the character. Sharp, deceptive and likeable. Most of the scenes are planned around him at the helm, and it’s a wise move, for he knows how to keep the tempo. Yet, somehow Rustom doesn’t falter, except when you realise the movie two and a half hours long. Akshay Kumar ensures that you root for Rustom Pavri. After Holiday, Baby and Airlift, it’s one more step for his brand of patriotism. It’s an intriguing film for sure.
The film starts off relatively cleanly -- save for the art-direction -- but then Esha Gupta, in a parade of cleavagey dresses, comes along and reminds us that we're watching trash. This is basically a Bhatt film + Akshay Kumar. Kumar is calm and stiff even as the film gets increasingly atrocious, with decent actors like Pawan Malhotra, Kumud Mishra and Sachin Khedekar wasted. Despite a shapeshifting moustache that, from scene to scene, oscillates between that of Errol Flynn, Raaj Kumar and a felt-pen attempt to draw a clothes hanger in silhouette, Rustom nevertheless makes sure his white Navy uniform is spotless. The uniform might be the most accurate thing about this film, however, a painfully tacky production where all the sets look like over-saturated cardboard and all the taxicabs are gleaming. It is a case, in short, that deserves good cinema. Cinema that, like any intelligent murderer, understands that it is indeed all in the details. For half a minute, a highly distinguished Parsi gent shows up and immediately classes up this film, but that's about all. Despite Kumar's valiant (albeit overdressed) attempt at calm and gravitas, this film is bilge, unintentionally hilarious and eventually tedious. The only way to salvage it would be to add a too-loud laugh track, give Gupta a trampoline, and call it Carry On Rustom.
The infamous 1959 Nanavati case had spawned a couple of early films, neither of which came close to the lurid excitement of the real- life incident which involved a handsome naval officer, his lovely-but-lonely wife, and her lover, and a sensational murder. The idea may have been to spice up an already spicy plot, but the result is dilution, and it doesn’t work in the favour of the film. It also doesn’t help that the film is fashioned like it is the unpacking the Nanavati Case For Dummies. There is not a single frisson of excitement or fear or real emotion: How could the filmmakers have turned a crime of such high passion into such a dreary piece of work? In Airlift, he showed how he could take a quasi-real part and run with it. The film, despite its many concessions to ‘reality’, worked because the star made sure he was believable. The only time we connect with Rustom is when we are allowed to see the anguish and pained resolve in Akshay’s eyes. If only that feeling, and other emotions—stuff that comes with the territory of love and betrayal and murder– permeated the film: the rest, alas, is cardboard.
Though the climax has been smartly fictionalised, this courtroom drama is essentially based on the real life of Naval officer K M Nanavati, who in 1959, shot and killed his wife's lover. The subsequent trial was one of India's most sensational court cases. Coming to the film, Rustom has a cracker of a beginning. Without wasting any time, the director comes straight to the point. He takes us quickly through the circumstances in which Rustom shoots Vikram and the trial begins. Akshay Kumar is the backbone of Rustom. The Khiladi renders one of the most understated performances of his career, proving yet again that he can play a range of diverse roles with aplomb. The plot is interesting if not engaging. Tinu Suresh Desai's melodramatic direction struggles to maintain momentum. It lacks subtlety and is reminiscent of a languid Television daily soap, replete with a jarring background score, cliched dialogues and mandatory close-up shots of every character at regular intervals. To cut to the chase, despite its multiple flaws, Rustom can be watched for Akshay Kumar, whose action/comic brilliance often overshadows his acting prowess. He reminds you to value the honest officers who serve our country with dignity and valour. He makes you want to support the man who probably did the right thing the wrong way.