Rustom brought in a lot of promise from its promo. Unfortunately, the full movie fails on many accounts which give a feeling of a wasted effort. With a gripping story and powerful actors, this movie could have been one of the best movies of the year. However, technical mistakes, unnecessary humor and unbalanced screen time eventually kill the movie.
Based on the 1959 Nanavati vs. The State of Maharashtra case where a naval officer kills his wife’s lover but is, surprisingly acquitted by the jury – which brought an end to the jury system in India – the movie had a very solid story, to begin with. Screenplay turns out to be ordinary – a combined mistake of the writer as well as the director for conceptualizing very poor sequences. Some of the pieces just didn’t add up to the main story and rather, leaves question marks.
The movie boasted of powerful actors like Akshay Kumar, Sachin Khedekar, Parmeet Sethi, Pavan Malhotra, Anang Desai and Usha Nadkarni. Akshay Kumar has shouldered this entire movie and given one of his best performances. However, except for Akshay Kumar, for obvious reasons, no one else had been given scenes and the dialogs worthy of their acting talent. The movie misses the bus in terms of utilizing the acting capabilities the star cast had. Illeana D’Cuz is mostly weeping throughout the movie. Esha Gupta’s character was very much redundant. Arjan Bajwa does impress to some extent with his expressions and dialog delivery.
Dharmendra/Tinu Desai is a very new name to the Indian audience. He does a commendable task with very high attention to detail in a period film. The length of the movie is just right and he did a smart thing by merging the background of Rustom-Cynthia’s story with the initial credits, saving some time. The flow of the movie was well maintained. What I also loved was reduced melodrama in some of the intense scenes which gave a very realistic feel to some of the situations. However, the movie fails big time in some of the aspects such as the unnecessary and unbelievable humor in a supposedly serious courtroom drama kills the impact of an otherwise very intense case. Some technical mistakes such as jury timelines (the judge assures the jury that they have all the time in the world to reach a decision and then, in the very next sentence, mentions that the decision will be announced the next day) leave much to ask for.
Overall, the movie could have been very powerful, if the director hadn’t bothered making it a comedy-drama and provided a screenplay worthy of the story and the actors. You may watch for once but it would be more interesting to read through the actual case.