Rustom (2016): Movie Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan (@apotofvestiges)

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
Rustom, Movie Poster, Akshay Kumar
Rustom (2016) By Tinu Suresh Desai
Rustom is a 2016 crime mystery film directed by Indian filmmaker Tinu Suresh Desai. Rustom stars Akshay Kumar as Commander Rustom Pavri and Ileana D'Cruz as his wife Cynthia. The movie costars Esha Gupta, Sachin Khedekar, Pawan Malhotra, and Kumud Mishra. The movie’s screenplay, written by Vipul K Rawal, is based on a 1959 Indian court case between K. M. Nanavati and the State of Maharashtra wherein Naval Commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati was tried for the murder of Prem Ahuja, his wife's paramour. The controversy surrounding this case led to the abolishment of jury trials in India.
Rustom shows us how media can influence public opinion and in turn affect the outcomes of judicial trails. In the movie, a Parsi publisher makes a fortune by making a hero out of a convict as his newspaper price soars from one quarter of a rupee to five rupees in a matter of few months. Rustom takes swipes at the country’s bureaucratic setup which is the root cause of all pervasive corruption. How the administrative officers at the senior most levels have established neatly tied up nexuses with powerful politicians as well as influential businessmen. How difficult it is for the honest individuals to deal with such high level of corruption. 
Akshay Kumar as Commander Rustom Pavri
Akshay Kumar as Commander Rustom Pavri in Rustom (2016)
Rustom proves to be an absorbing cinematic experience up until the interval but the tension slowly fizzles out during the second half. And, most probably, it is by design. For, Hindi film audiences are traditionally not used to watching movies which are out and out suspenseful. Now, Rustom is supposed to be a commercial film with a superstar like Akshay Kumar in the lead. One can clearly sense that the makers are really keen on making a film that's a box office success. Wooing the critics is perhaps the last thing on their mind. And one can't really blame them. Can we? Alas, they made the mistake of underestimating the audience's intelligence! Isn't this the same audience which made a no-nonsense movie like Airlift, also starring Akshay Kumar, a grand success at the box-office earlier this year?
Akhsay Kumar and Ileana D'cruz in Rustom
Akhsay Kumar and Ileana D'cruz in Rustom (2016)
Rustom's second half is supposed to be a court room drama but it slowly takes the form of farce, making a mockery out of the judicial system in the process. The levity could have easily done away with. Yes, the audience would have probably laughed less but it would have ensured that the movie didn't end up undermining the good work done in the first half.
Esha Gupta in Rustom (2016)
Esha Gupta in Rustom (2016)
The best part about Rustom, despite is glaring flaws, is acting. The editing is also top notch. The period detail is good. Akshay Kumar continues with his merry ways and delivers one of the finest performances of his career. Dressed in the white Navy uniform in the court room sequences, he looks like some angelic entity, calm and composed. But he is let down by the lack of seriousness in the court room scenes. The result is a run of the mill offering despite showing great promise to begin with. But it is none the less entertaining. Just don't let your expectations soar too high.

Rating: 3/5

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