Tinu Suresh Desai’s debut flick, 1920: London, didn’t do anything to either boost the franchisee or Sharman Joshi’s attempt to reboot himself. Hopefully, Rustom might help the director in that attempt.
So we all know and have read enough Wikipedia to know that the film is based on the sensational Nanavati Murders wherein Cdr. K. Nanavati was found pronounced guilty by the judge against the jury’s vote, upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court, later given pardon because of his close proximity to the scions of the ruling political family of India; that the case had the country fighting on communal lines of Sindhis v/s Parsis; and that this case and its subsequent judicial actions led to the end of the jury system in India. All 3 points which are not shown in the film.
So with a mix of cinematic liberties about the case, era and reality, the dream team of Neeraj Pandey and Akshay Kumar present us with Rustom. The only hitch is, which I had mentioned in my review of Baby also, that Pandey is slowly leaning away from his core of realistic presentation of dramatized events more to a manner where the cinematic liberties are the excuse for commercial decisions. The same thing plagues Rustom.
Let me tell you, it is not a bad film at all. It is a decent one time watch, but somehow in the presentation of this court room drama, the length of 150 minutes is way too long. The film takes its own time to build the plot leading upto the courtroom and intermission at one of Akshay’s seetiwala dialogues. But not required. The tacky special effects used to create the bygone era, honestly irritates you.
They have got the short ties right, so everyone from Pavan Malhotra & Kumud Mishra to Kanwaljeet Singh are sporting them. Somehow the entire flow of events comes across as more school theatrish, with each character waiting to stand up, say their part and go back to their place.
Characterization of Ileana D’cruz is very poor, in the end showing her as a naive tool rather than a lady who acted upon her choices. Esha Gupta does put up a strong show, but her entire vamp look is way over the top, making her seem caricaturish. Sachin Khedekar, reprising the role based on Ram Jethmalani, is shown in very poor light here. It is a complete mockery of the character making him look only comic. They should have done justice to the character here, something like Amrish Puri from Damini or Meri Jung. Not this.
Pavan Malhotra, Kumud Mishra are on their one note characters, adding little value to the story and more so as pawns in the hands of the protagonist. Usha Nadkarni, Deepak Gheewala and Anang Desai provide the comic relief in a case which needed none, but still Usha, Kumud & Anang have the scene which will have you rolling down the aisles. Arjan Bajwa & Parmeet Sethi are purely okay.
Akshay Kumar is perfect in his uniform. Wonder how they got the continuity of mustache so wrong. Playing the title role and the manner in which the film moves, one knows in the end, Rustom shall triumph, but the poor screenplay lets him down completely, taking away the thrill of case, making it all seem too pat. Also, in order to humanise him and to give some screen presence to D’Cruz, they keep showing the couple in the courtroom in soft light, which only ruins the tension of the courtroom.
Well, it is a long weekend and of the 2 choices, this one is far better.
RATING: 2.5 / 5
By: Yusuf Poonawala