Monday, August 15, 2016

Rustom: Movie Review

Rustom: A Concoction of Love, Infidelity and Patriotism!
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Rustom is a sordid story of the affair at the top level of the most revered force of our country ‘The Navy’ and the coincidence of a decorated naval officer’s wife’s infidelity that goes wrong. The film claims to be based on true incidents that draw parallels to the most controversial Kawas Maneckshaw Nanavati Case of 1959 that changed the course of the law and the process of trial in our country forever.

KM Nanavati because of his constant travel on ship often had to leave behind his British born wife Sylvia with their three children to handle and deal her loneliness. And her loneliness leads her close to an affair with her husband’s dear friend Prem Ahuja. Sylvia’s dream to settle with Prem Ahuja didn’t match with Prem’s intentions of leading a casual and a non-committal relationship which led her to a sorry state of aloofness from everything. Once back from the cruise nanavati confronts Sylvia to reveal what is happening with her and she confesses her affair with Ahuja and her fear of Ahuja not having the intention to marry her. What leads next is KM Nanavati taking his family to a movie theatre and he going out to meet Prem at his residence and asking him to marry his wife. Prem’s answer that ‘Will I marry every woman I sleep with’ drives KM Nanavati to pull the trigger of his pistol and kill him point blank. The case says that Nanavati surrenders before the police and later on gets massive support from the media and public.
The state declared him guilty but a panel of nine jury members was constituted, out of which eight to one found him not guilty. They acquitted him of murder. However, Nanavati ran out of luck when his case was referred to the high court where he was given life imprisonment. His appeal to the Supreme Court didn’t fetch him favor on the contrary he was found guilty. But, because of public sympathy and political pressures he was released out of jail after three years and he along with his family flew out of the country to settle in Canada away from the scandal, media and public glares. Later on in 2003 KM Nanavati passed away. The KM Nanavati case saw the rift between two communities the Sindhi and Parsi vouching for their community man under question – Prem Ahuja (Sindhi) and KM Nanavati (Parsi). 
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The weekly tabloid Blitz  headed by a Parsi RK Karanjia was going all guns to create public sympathy and planting stories to garner support for KM Nanavati. Rallies were held where thousands thronged in support of KM Nanavati and street sellers were having a heyday selling Nanavati toy pistols and Prem Ahuja towels on the streets.

Like many films (Yeh Raastey Hai Pyar Ke; Achanak) and books (Nanavati Ka Mukadamma; The Death of Mr. Love) that took inspiration from this case, Tinu Suresh Desai’s Rustom too tries it’s hand by extending the real to reel by adding extra doses of fiction through its forced twists and turns indicating a scam at the top echelons of the Navy in buying a fifteen-year-old aircraft carrier in London for half of its price. Akshay Kumar as Rustom Pavri the man in the dock is outstanding. He is successful in drawing attention to a man he portrays as innocent but sharp when it comes to duty and family. He generates pity and a kind of despair when he says – “Trust is a very very funny word” after he comes to know his wife Cynthia’s (Illeana D’cruz) illicit relationship with Vikram Makhija (Arjun Bajwa) his close friend. What is equally attracting and annoying is Akshay in his white uniform always 24 x 7. He looks stunning as a naval officer justifying one of the dialogues in the court room “Meri Uniform Meri aadath Hai, Jaise Ki Baki Meri Ache Bure Aadathon Mai Se Ek...” but then it also comes across as annoying and unreal to find him in spotless white uniform perfectly ironed and in glistening white shoes neatly laced even in the lockup at the middle of the night, fresh and tireless. Come on, is he a superman or a cardboard cutout? I think the filmmakers portrayed his character too unrealistically except in some scenes here and there with moist eyes and quivering of nose for instance when he meets his wife in the cell and when he cross examines his wife in the court. Nevertheless, Khilladi Akshay Kumar has come a long way from his initial movies and is definitely on a high these days with a string of hits in his profile - Gabbar, Baby, Airlift and many other.
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Kumud Mishra as Erach Billimoria has given yet another noteworthy performance after his role in Sultan as a coach and mentor. His character is evidently modeled on RK Karanjia of the weekly tabloid Blitz. He appears funny but knows how to run his business very well and is ready to take a beating for a big gain in the future by landing up in the lockup every time he prints his weekly edition of his tabloid to be charged by the judge for contempt of the court in its course of fair trial. The constant quibbles between the judge and Billimoria tickles your funny bone. But then to bring in comic moments repeatedly in the interactions of the presiding judge with the Public Prosecutor Lakshman Khangani (Sachin Khedekar), Jamna Bai (Usha Nadkarni) the maid of Rustom’s family or with Erach the tabloid chief dilutes the courtroom drama and belittles the importance of the chair.
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Ileana D’Cruz as Cynthia doesn’t have much room or scenes with Rustom, Vikram Makhija and Preeti Makhija. She is reduced and limited to appear in songs or as in scenes that appear in support to the narration of events that happened. Dialogues are less and therefore she is reduced and limited to appear as a cute weeping Barbie doll whose character is under legal and public scrutiny. The costume designer and the makeup artists seems to be obsessed in making all the characters beautiful and handsome and in this effort they ended up making these characters appears as if they have come right from the sets of any prime time TV serial. Cynthia doesn’t appear even once disheveled and is always found in her choicest beautiful dress and saris even when she visits her jailed husband. And therefore, her agony, guilt and despair don’t move you. The funniest part is a cheerful Cynthia negotiating with Admiral Kamath on behalf of her jailed husband even under such crucial situations.
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Pawan Malhotra as CID officer Vincent Lobo makes an impactful performance. I saw him last week in a small budget Punjabi movie ‘Gelo’ playing the role of an antagonist and now an investigating officer in Rustom. He looks suave and sharp in his moves and appearance. Sachin Khedekar as Advocate Lakshman Khangani otherwise a good actor could have been better in Rustom. He appears too dramatic and loud. Don’t know whether it was a demand to act so to justify the role given to him?

 Esha Gupta playing the role of the deceased Vikram Makhija’s Sister Preeti Makhija looks outrageous in her hairdo, western costume, and bright red painted lips. Often seen carrying a slender cigarette holder she is loud and doesn’t appear in any of the frame remorse or sad in losing her brother - a partner in crime. She is stuck with one kind of expression and is not able to change as per the requirement of changing situations in the story.  Arjan Bajwa as Vikram Makhija the womanizer and Rustom’s friend has done justice to his act. Anang Desai as judge, Parmeet Sethi as Admiral Kamath, and Kanwaljit Singh as Defense Secreatary KG Bakshi has pitched in very well to further the crime drama of Rustom.

The music of Rustom compensates any lapses or shortcomings in this movie. The songs are hummable and stay with you. Songs like Tere Sang Yaara sung by Atif Aslam; Dekha Hazaro Dafaa sung by Arijit Singh and Palak Muchchal; and Jab tum Hote Ho sung by Shreya Goshal are too good. Manoj Mutashir’s lyrics are beautifully placed by the composers – Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Raghav Sachar, Ankit Tiwari and Jeet Ganguly.

Rustom, in short, is a onetime watch and to completely sideline and ignore it, is not justified. So go and watch how a man garnered support for an unlawful act and how he remained a true patriot even when his life was in constant turmoil.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.25/5

Cast: Akshay kumar (Commander Rustom Pavri), Ileana D’Cruz (Cynthia), Arjan Bajwa (Vikram Makhija), Esha Gupta (Preeti Makhija), Usha Nadkarni (Jamna Bai), Kumud Mishra (Erach Bilimoria), Pawan Malhotra (CID Officer Vincent Lobo), Sachin Khedekar (Public Prosecutor Lakshman Khangani), Anang Desai (Judge), Parmeet Sethi (Rear Admiral Kamath), Kanwaljit Singh (Defense Secretary KG Bakshi)

Genre: Crime Drama

Director: Tinu Suresh Desai

Producers: Neeraj Pandey, Aruna Bhatia, Nittin Keni, Kash Chawla, Virender Arora, Ishwar Kapoor, Shital Bhatia

Written by: Vipul K Rawal

Based on:  Case KM Nanavati Vs. State of Maharastra

Music by: Ankit Tiwari, Jeet Ganguly, Raghav Sachar, Arko Pravo Mukherjee

Cinematography: Santosh Thundiyil

Production Company: Zee Studio, Kriarj Entertainment, Cape of Good Films, Plan C Studios

Distributor: Zee Studios

Release Date: 12th August, 2016

Duration: 151 Minutes

Language: Hindi