Rustom review: Akshay Kumar movie is based on a true tale of love, treachery and murder. The wife’s lover dies and the cuckolded man lives happily ever after with… wife. The tale was magnetic enough to catch the fancy of the entire country and kept the revelations that came fast and furious then on the front pages of the newspapers for years. It even ended up as a movie in the 70s. Akshay, in his avatar as the Indian Navy officer whose wife betrays him for another man, manages to pull of a scintillating display of a man hurt by the world and who is forced to strike back in rage to restore sanity in his life – with a little help from the judiciary and the Indian public opinion. It created history. It is a massive canvas and Akshay Kumar does justice to the script too.
The tale is based in Bombay and of 1959 vintage. Akshay Kumar has starred in crime drama as the upright Naval Commander Rustom Pavri. The man is deeply in love with his wife. But she has a roving eye and has affair an with another man – Vikram Makhija. The man is a cad and refuses to marry the woman – left unsaid is teh fat that sex happened, but is only hinted at. She breaks down and Rustom comes to know. The gentleman that he is, he goes to meet the wife’s lover and tells him to marry her. He does not fail to carry his gun to the meet. In an unthinking moment, lover boy let it slip that he can’t marry every female he beds. Gets shot for his slip. Premeditated murder, or is instant anger to blame? Can a man kill his unfaithful wife and be allowed to get away with it? The media went to town with it and the public was transfixed. Should he hang for it, should he be pardoned? That is what the Rustom is all about. And Akshay Kumar does a fabulous job with it.
There is nothing new that can be added to the script as no new revelation has surfaced, but Akshay Kumar manages to add both style and substance to the movie and ensures a gripping story is put in front of the audience. The so called K.M. Nanavati case versus State of Maharashtra ends up as story that defies age and can be turned into a blockbuster by the right hands. And Akshay Kumar and script writer Vipul Rawal have aced it. Akshay Kumar, in this age of nationalistic fervour, has cleverly added a big patriotic angle to Rustom and what with flashy uniforms and more on view, the effect is transfixing. Yes, it does get predictable, but that is because the viewer already knows the plot and can second-guess what will happen next. But the film manages to rise to the occasion despite that setback. While jokes are the last thing that a film like this should have, yet court room drama is regularly interspersed with attempts at dry humour that seek to lighten the atmosphere.
But what leaves the most impression is love. The love that Rustom feels for his wife and the extent he is willing to go to keep her happy and satisfied., even approach the man she loves and ask him to marry her. And all of that is achieved by Akshay Kumar, who has created an aura around him over recent years as a strong man yet one who is sensitive and understands the feelings of others. The first half of the movie is a breeze, except for the frequent flashbacks, and in the second half the pace picks up and is worked up to a crescendo. However, let us warn you that the courtroom arguments can get a bit jarring and one is left praying for a fast-forward button. Unfortunately, Akshay Kumar took it upon himself to recreate the 70s Bollywood version of court-room drama that is too mind-numbing. All said and done, Akshay emerges the wronged hero and no one in the audience is left doubting the fact that the hero must be freed. It flies against all norms, but the viewers are not complaining.
Watch: Rustom official trailer starring Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’cruz
At the centre of all attention, Ileana D’cruz, who plays Rustom wife Cynthia Pavri, manages to more or less be eye candy. She plays the good girlfriend and wife till the transformation and the terrible deed happen and thereafter shifts into the role as the remorseful wife. A lengthy raunchy role for her with her lover would have gone down very well, but that is a road less travelled by Bollywood, which still whispers about it and refuses to recognise reality. The lovely Esha Gupta is not allowed to go through her paces and her presence is wasted. Fleshing out her character would have improved the movie tremendously. Having said that, it would have also meant taking the spotlight away from Rustom amd that would have been a no-no.
But the film would not have worked if the Director Tinu Suresh Desai had not managed to transport the audience into the world of 50s and 60s. The effect is brilliant, enchanting and cultural themes are captivating. Attention to detail is mesmerising – scenes get repeated in the viewer’s mind even hours later. From hair, accessories to clothes, all are used to transport the audience into a Bombay that once was. In short, Rustom is a watchable movie that can evoke many responses form the audience, which is saying a lot. Akshay Kumar is worth it. Movie: “Rustom”; Director: Tinu Suresh Desai; Cast: Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Arjan Bajwa, Esha Gupta, Pawan Raj Malhotra and Kumud Mishra; Rating: ****