Rustom the story is based on the sensational case of Cdr. Nanavati, though the makers make no claim of it. But the similarities in the story are uncanny. The movie Rustom is set in 1959 where Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) is a decorated naval officer, who on return from one of his assignments on ship finds his wife, Cynthia (Ileana D’Cruz) having an affair with a casanova, Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa). In a fit of rage, Rustom takes his service revolver and kills Vikram and surrenders to the police. In the court, where trial is by jury, Rustom pleads ‘not guilty’.
Though the question remains, is it correct for a service man out on duty to protect the nation, kill a philanderer trying to woo his wife. Though, to the court and the prosecution it seems an open and shut case, what does the jury have to say? And yes there is another sub-plot where Vikram who also is an arms dealer and trying to sell some aircraft carriers to the Indian navy involving some corrupt officers, whom Rustom needs to be wary of and eventually expose.
The movie starts on a high note and moves at a brisk pace in the beginning. The shooting, surrendering, and investigation begin in the first 30 mins or so but then the movie drags. The first half gets really slow after that. The second half is complete court room drama. Rapid than the first half but could have been tighter.
An important part of the movie, is the role that media plays in influencing the public opinion and impact on the jury decision. A Parsi news paper run by one Erach Billimoria continues to fuel public sentiment and maneuver public inclinations towards sympathy for the officer, and eventually the jury opinion. So, the media has been doing this just not recently but since distant past. The practice of jury trial was discontinued in India after the Nanavati case for the same reason.
The movie is predictable and plot very thin. The direction and editing in some places is very good and most places mediocre. The art direction is very wanting –sets, costumes, background – shabby. Using a sepia tinge in some scenes is not art direction. A few vintage cars on roads, does not count as sets. The use of superimposing of images of old Bombay behind moving cars is dumb and irritating.
Akshay looks good in uniform and has done well, Ileana is pretty and does ok, Esha Gupta as Rustom’s snob sister is irritating. Arjan looks stylish and dapper, has done ok too. Pavan Malhotra as the investigating officer is fine.
Music is ok. Tere Sang Yaara is melodious and shot well. Rest, forgettable.
A little tighter and crispier story telling would have saved it. Slow, is its nemesis.
May be watched, for lack of doing anything else on a long weekend. Any other plan with friends or family may be more exciting…!!!