Film Review: Rustom
Date: July 12 2016
Director: Tinnu Suresh Desai
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Ileana Dcruz, Esha Gupta, ArjanBajwa
Rating: 2.5 stars**1/2
Producer NeerajPandey and director Tinnu Suresh Desai travel you into time when Mumbai city was Bombay in 1959, when the skyline was clear, the streets not crowded and the cars distinctly different. The policemen wore ink blue uniforms and people madelightening trunk calls. Life was simpler then but love and relationships were as tempting and fatal.
Inspired from the notorious case of KM Nanavati v/s State of Maharashtra that challenged and defied the judicial system, Rustom tells the story of decorated naval officer RustomPavriwho murdered his wife’s lover point blank and then surrendered himself to the police.The legal question was, did he plan the murder or was it an emotional reaction? Was RustomPavri guilty of murdering his friend PremAhuja or was he not guilty?
What works about the film is the art design and the deliberations in the courtroom. What doesn’t is the slow pace, the background score and some unconvincing traits of characters. Why is Rutom in his uniform all the time? He says he does not want any special treatment but is given a solitary cell where he plays chess. He is not a professional lawyer so how does he accumulate witnesses sitting inside the jail? What happens to the 5crore transfer?
While some props and locations are applause worthy like the Bombay streets and the vehicles, some are embarrassingly fake like the old airport and currency; still it will not be fair to dismissRustom as just a crime/ courtroom drama. This is a story of love and deceit, of complex relationships and principles.
The film would have been more impactful if the women characters were more convincing but all IleanaDcruzdoes is cry and Esha Gupta wears red lipstick and raise eyebrows. Akshay Kumar is the only one who delivers a sterling performance.
The controversial case has inspired two films in the past- RK Nayyar’s Ye RaasteHaiPyaarKe/1963 more on adultery and Gulzar’s Achanak/1973 on medical profession.
Rustom should be watched because the case challenged not just the state but changed the direction of police, media, law and judicial system. It was the first time the public outrage forced the jury to change verdict.