**May contain spoilers**
Rustom, a much awaited film by Tinu Suresh Desai, has received mixed reviews from various corners. The background of this film is based on a naval officer's life - Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati. Previously also, two films Yeh Rishte Hain Pyar ke (1963) and Achanak (1973) were made with the same plot. KM Nanavati, naval officer, was happily married to Sylvia, British by birth and settled with three kids. His keeping away from home for long duration due to work made his wife feel lonely and engage herself in an extramarital love affair with Prem Ahuja. She herself confesses about her affair with Prem. Nanavati ends up killing Prem and surrenders himself. Then starts the legal battle. It is said that this case, which happened in 1959, changed the course of legal operation in India. Nanavati's case was the last one where case was heard by Jury. Nanavati was proved not guilty in the court, although this verdict was later challenged in higher courts. He was even sentenced for life imprisonment, but later on, political connections helped him to come out of jail within 3 years. After getting the release, he went to Canada along with Sylvia and kids. He died in 2003 whereas Sylvia is alive and in Canada.
The film Rustom brings a few parts of Nanavati's story on celluloid. It keeps one engaged and glued to the screen. It is Akshay Kumar's another best film. The story covers love, passion, adultery, murder, forgiveness, patriotism etc.
The film begins with the actor Manoj Bajpayee's narration. The titular character Rustom is played by Akshay Kumar. Commander Rustom Parvi, a naval officer, is in love with his beautiful wife Cynthia (Ileana D'Cruz). Their meeting, falling in love, and getting married etc. are beautifully conveyed through the song 'Tere Sang Yaara…'. Rustom used to travel due to work. Once, his ship is rescheduled to reach prior to the planned date / schedule. Rustom gets astonished not to find Cynthia at home. He explores and finds out about Cynthia's extramarital affair with his acquaintance and a businessman Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa). Vikram had the image of a playboy too. Rustom confronts Cynthia, but did not give her a chance to explain herself. He then goes in search of Vikarm to his office, later to his residence. Three bullets straight into his heart, Vikram is dead. Rustom goes to the Police Station and surrenders himself. Naval officials wanted his custody but that doesn't happen. Rustom who chose to surrender himself for the murder of Vikram, decided to represent himself in the court for his defense. Public prosecutor Lakshman Khangani (Sachin Khedekar) gave Rustom a tough fight in the court. Preeti Makhija, Vikram's sister (Esha Gupta) wants Rustom to be punished.
Legal battle continues unveiling the motive of Rustom behind the murder of Vikram Makhija. It is said that in Nanavati's case, a tabloid 'Blitz' through its opinionated statements were able to create a sympathy wave for Rustom in the minds of common people. In this film, Erach Billimoria (kumud Mishra) heads a tabloid, which largely influenced the course of the case. He was able to influence the thoughts of common man as well as Jury through his articles. Police Commissioner Vincent Lobo keeps his investigation going parallel to the hearings in the court. How did Rustom plan Vikram's murder? How Cynthia handle all these turbulence ? Does Rustom forgive Cynthia ? Was Rustom's motive behind Vikram's murder purely a personal one ? Was Cynthia a victim of a conspiracy ? When Rustom surrendered and admitted his crime, what logics he brought up during the trial in his defense? Was there any layer of patriotism to the whole story? Why were the naval officers keen on taking Rustom under their custody ? How the trial moves further ? Who all were cross examined and what story it could bring out? How does Rustom fights back for proving his not being guilty ? Does it turn out to be Parsi versus Sindhi revenge too?
Akshay looks absolutely dashing in Naval Officer's uniform. He has once again proved that he is one of top notch actor in the Bollywood, who could do complete justice to Rustom's character. Illena looks beautiful on screen. Arjan Bajwa as Vikram Makhija is very much convincing in his role. Sachin as the Public Prosecutor is very good. The only character I felt weakly developed is that of Preeti Makhija of Esha Gupta. Jamnabai, the house-help's role by Usha Nadarni is also good. Kumud Mishra as Erach Billimoria brought humour to the plot. Pawan Malhotra as Police Commissioner Vincent Lobo has less screen time, but he is good. Parmeet Sethi is also seen as one of the naval officer. Other cast is also good.
Certain scenes are worth watching. When Rustom comes home prior to the scheduled date and his pain on exploring Cynthia's extramarital affair. His confrontation scene with Cynthia. The scene where Rustom agrees to meet Cynthia for the first time in jail, the body language adopted by Rustom generates lots of emotions.
Court scenes were dealt lightly. It appeared at times as attempts to make fun of the legal system. This could have been dealt in a better manner. Also, the voice of audience supporting Rustom was justified but their standing with weird placards viz. Marry Me Rustom diluted the scene.
Also, I felt that the dynamics of Rustom-Cynthia's relationship before and after tragedy could have been given a little more screen time.
Rustom, inspired from the real incidents of KM Nanavati case which ended the Jury system in India, is definitely a very well crafted film. It is packed with good performances, special mention to Akshay's performance, clubbed with good music, suspense, love, betrayal, adultery, murder, forgiveness, patriotism etc.
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