Slaps: Tacky color grading of few scenes, Esha Gupta, Weak writing
Popcorn Refill: Interval
Plot: The story begins in the year 1959 when Mumbai was still 'Bombay' and Raj Kapoor's films were running packed in theatres. We are introduced to Commander Rustom 'Rusi' Pawri's picture-perfect world with his beautiful wife Cynthia (Ileana D'Cruz).
However their happily ever after comes to an end when one fine day our hero returns home from his sea voyage earlier than scheduled, only to discover his darling wife cheating on him with the 'filthy rich' industrialist-cum-playboy Vikram Makhija (Arjun Bajwa). After confronting his wife, a 'shattered' Rustom goes to the Naval armoury, borrows a gun and heads straight to Vikram's mansion.
Three gun shots are heard and the servant discovers Vikram's lifeless body lying on the ground and a gun in Rustom's hand. Next, in a 'shocking' turn of events 'Rusi' surrenders himself to the police.
The news soon reaches the ears of Erach Billimoria (Kumud Mishra), a Parsi tabloid owner who squeezes this golden opportunity to skyrocket his daily sales and starts portraying Rustom as a national hero in the eyes of the public. On the other hand, Vikram's sister Priti Makhiji (Esha Gupta) wants the highly decorated officer hanged for his crime by proving that it was a predetermined murder rather than a 'heat of the moment' act.
However there arrives a twist in the tale when 'Rustom' all of a sudden pleads not guilty in the court. Is there something more than meets the eye?
Performances: Let's begin with the man of the moment- Akshay Kumar. The 'khiladi' once again proves his versatility when it comes to acting chops. Be it the twitch of his lips, the contortion of his facial muscles or the occasional welling of his eyes, that man holds your attention from the word go. It's the second best to his 'Airlift' act this year. However his character in 'Rustom' has generous doses of nobility which seems unreal. Leave this flaw aside and you won't be disappointed for sure.
Ileana D'Cruz gives a restraining performance considering most of her scenes require her to just shed tears of guilt and shame. Wish her role had some more meat to it!
Esha Gupta suffers from a poorly written, loud role. Guess the only brief she received was- to pout, smoke and throw daggers look at every single person she's talking to! That's Bollywood's stereotypical definition of a bad girl! Sorry, not cool anymore.
Arjun Bajwa has nothing much to offer except for treating us to a glimpse of his hideous flashy bathrobes and we so want to go colour-blind after that!
Kumud Mishra brings the much needed comic relief. Sachin Khedekar, Usha Nadkarni, Pawan Malhotra and the rest of the cast throw in some sub-plots.
Direction: A dashing husband, a cheating wife and a murder! A perfect recipe for a nail-biting thriller which director Tinu Suresh Desai fails to cook up for the big screen. The man draws inspiration from a real life incident (the sensational Nanavati case) which shook the entire nation and brought an end to the jury system in India, and adds his figment of imagination and fiction to it. Sadly it fizzles to a watered down version lacking the thrill and punches. While some parts of the film are engrossing, there are times when the lethargic screenplay gives you a chance for a quick glance at your mobile screens. Despite coming from the stable of the makers of 'Baby' and 'Special 26', 'Rustom' fails short of being a hard-hitting piece.
The courtroom scenes are almost zero in tension and turn out to be a hilarious spoof instead. (Well, I plead guilty of laughing at these scenes!). Also how easily Akshay manages to gather evidences of his innocence! (a bit too much to digest). Further the film's climax looks sudden and a tad disappointing!
'Rustom' has some tacky CGI shots that will make you giggle. However Santosh Thundiyil's cinematography and Shree Narayan Singh's editing make up for some impressive scenes. The music is soulful but adds nothing more to the story.
Combo-on-offer: Drama+ Action+ Mystery.
Verdict: We give 'Rustom' CLAPS for Akshay Kumar's honest performance. 'Matlab baazi jeetne se hai ... phir chahe pyada qurbaan ho ya phir rani' *well said*