Shah Rukh Khan
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There are a couple of things that standout in Rustom. Akshay Kumar’s uniform and the way he looks. You should not be surprised if you find a few whistles from the girls when Akshay is introduced. Ironically this also turns out to be one of the reasons why Rustom is funny. Akshay Kumar is shown the uniform throughout the film, even when his character is in police custody. And never for once does the crease of his uniform break, and neither do we see a blemish. It almost like a suit that cleans itself and the person wearing it does not need to take it off.
Rustom actually starts out really well. It has a terrific first half with the director taking no time to get into the plot. Cdr Rustom Pavri returns to his official trip to London. He rushes home to his wife only find that the wife has strayed into an extra-marital affair. Rustom shoots the paramour dead and walks into the police station to surrender. The stage is set for an incredible trial as multiple parties start working on it with their own motives.
It is post intermission that the screenplay loses steam. Suddenly the film turns into a courtroom drama with forced doses of laughter. An unnecessary attempt to draw out a patriotic fervor only takes the film southwards. The story moves away from just being an extra-marital affair and after-shot into a much larger space. But the pace lets down.
What’s lacking in screenplay is by a large margin made up by fantastic cinematography. There is one particular interrogation scene that should make you marvel at the planning that went behind it. Also, cinematographer Santosh Thundiyil successfully brings in the feel of the 60s even in the way he takes his shots. If only he was not let down by bad chroma at certain points, the film would look even better.
The premise of Rustom’s story is huge and so were the real life incidents that followed the KM Nanavati case (The case on which the story is based). The Nanavati case is important in Indian legal system because it resulted in the jury system being abolished. Rustom does show how the jury’s opinion could have been manipulated but it does not take a serious look. Neither does it get into the relationship and details of what may have happened between Rustom and his wife.
Rustom could have possible been a far more intriguing film. But you should not be disappointed if you walk into watch a courtroom drama. Though longish, it’s fairly entertaining.
By Noyon Jyoti Parasara
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