Zee Studios, Kriarj Entertainment, Cape Of Good Films and Plan C Studios’ Rustom (UA) is inspired by the K.M. Nanavati versus state of Maharashtra case of 1959.
Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) is a principled naval officer with a spotless record. He loves his wife, Cynthia (Ileana D’cruz), very much. But he is shocked to learn that Cynthia is in a relationship with another man, Vikram (Arjan Bajwa). His anger knows no bounds when he learns of their affair and without even giving his wife a chance to speak, he rushes to Vikram’s house and shoots him dead. Not just that, he surrenders to the police, admitting that he had murdered Vikram.
Rustom is arrested and refuses to appoint a lawyer, preferring instead to argue his own case in court. Vikram’s sister, Preeti (Esha Gupta), appoints Lakshman Khamgani (Sachin Khedekar) as her lawyer. At first, Rustom refuses to meet his wife while he is in police custody. But just before the court hearing begins, he gives her one chance to meet him.
What happens in the court? Does Rustom Pavri get convicted for the murder of his wife’s lover? If not, how does he prove himself innocent?
The K.M. Nanavati case had created ripples when the naval commander had murdered his wife’s paramour. The case had received unprecedented media support and the Parsi community had rallied behind Nanavati back in 1959.
Vipul K. Rawal’s story is not a step-by-step account of the Nanavati case. He has written a very engaging and interesting story which holds the audience’s attention from the start till the end. His screenplay is beautifully penned and unfolds rather dramatically. The first half has some shocking points – prominent among them being the scene in which Rustom Pavri kills Vikram, the scene in which he surrenders before the police, and the interval scene (not being revealed here). Although almost the entire second half is devoted to the court proceedings, it has many flashbacks to break the monotony. Besides, there are a number of entertaining moments in the courtroom drama to lighten the tension-ridden drama. Of course, the court proceedings will be liked more by the city audience but the underlying drama of love, betrayal, revenge etc. does have mass appeal. Ladies and girls will particularly like the drama. A couple of scenes will moisten the eyes of the weak-hearted – the scene in which Rustom’s maid (Usha Nadkarni) testifies in court, the scene in which Cynthia is cross-examined by her own husband in court, the scene in which a lowly hawaldar (Brijendra Kala) exults in court, the scene in which newspaper editor Erach (Kumud Mishra) repeatedly defies the judge, all such scenes are heartwarming and somewhat emotional too. Vipul K. Rawal’s dialogues are excellent.
Akshay Kumar does an outstanding job as Rustom Pavri. The viewer falls in love with his character. His demeanour, his calm composure in the thick of calamity, and his gentlemanly behaviour in court with a lady witness (Vikram’s office receptionist) and with Vikram’s elderly house help, both of who testify against him, strike a chord in the hearts of the audiences. Akshay needs to be lauded not just for his wonderful performance but also for accepting the difficult role. Ileana D’cruz looks very pretty and fetching. Her acting is beautifully subdued. Esha Gupta looks sexy and glamorous and plays Preeti to perfection and with a lot of attitude. Arjan Bajwa is handsome and does a fine job as Vikram. Pavan Raj Malhotra shines in the role of investigating police officer Vincent Lobo. He deserves distinction marks. Kumud Mishra is just too lovely as tabloid editor Erach. Sachin Khedekar is so natural as Preeti’s lawyer, Lakshman Khamgani, that the viewers end up hating him! Indeed, a very fine performance. Anang Desai deserves a lot of praise for his acting in the role of the judge. Brijendra Kala is lovable. Usha Nadkarni lends fantastic support. Kanwaljit Singh (as K.G. Bakshi) and Parmeet Sethi (as rear admiral Kamath) provide able support. Sammanika Singh (as receptionist Rosy), Abhay Kulkarni (as police inspector Patil), Deepak Gheewala (as Vikram’s house help, Bhanabhai), Gireesh Sahdev (as Lt. Cdr. Pujari), Indraneel Bhattacharya (as Captain Cherian), Varun Verma (as Lt. Bisht), Ishteyak Khan (as Chandu), Naman Jain (as Dagdu), Subhashis Chakraborty (as Ranjit Das), Vipul K. Rawal (as Captain), Baldev Duggal (as Comcen duty officer), Tauseef Patel (as Comcen sailor), Naman Gupta (as navigating officer), Suresh Sippy (as chief sahab), Rajesh S. Khatri (as Damodar), Ranjan Raj (as the tout), Samir Shah (as Ramesh Shirke), Haresh Khatri (as Dr. Asher), Homi Wadia (as advocate Sorabh Khandwala), Mohit Satyanand (as Jamshedji Jeejabhoy), Alok Singh (as Erach’s office boy), Jyoti Patel, Pradeep Chaudhary, Ramakant Sharma, Burjor Dastoor, Om Prakash Mathur, Kamal Karamchandani, Rajeev Malik, Harshdev Sharma and Anil Madhusudan Khopkar (all nine as jury members), Devina Medda and Abhilasha Patil (as the two clerks in the GPO) and the rest lend fine support. Manoj Bajpayee’s commentary at the start is good.
Tinu Suresh Desai’s direction is remarkable. Credit to him for extracting good work out of the cast members and for keeping the narration so engaging and entertaining. He has recreated the era of the 1950s and 1960s very well. Music (Arko, Ankit Tiwari, Jeet Ganguly and Raghav Sachar,) is a plus point. ‘Tere sang yaara’ (composed by Arko) is already a hit song. ‘Dekha hazaron dafa’ and ‘Dhal jaoon main’ (both by Jeet Ganguly), ‘Tay hai’ and ‘Jab tum hote ho’ (both by Ankit Tiwari), and ‘Rustom vahi’ (by Raghav Sachar) are also melodious. Manoj Muntashir’s lyrics are lovely. Choreography (by Brinda and Howard Rosemeyer) is in synch with the mood of the drama. Surender Sodhi’s background music is excellent. Santosh Thundiyil’s cinematography is superb. Abbas Ali Moghul and Peter Pedrero’s action scenes are natural. Production designing (by Priya Suhas) is of a nice standard. Shree Narayan Singh’s editing is razor-sharp.
On the whole, Rustom is a box-office winner. It will keep the audience as also its producers, distributors and exhibitors happy and smiling.