Rustom Review by Indicine
Tinu Suresh Desai who made 1920 London this year, manages to inscribe his touch into this movie but it eventually doesn’t feel enough. There are some cool transition effects between scenes and he tries to maintain a uniformity. But that’s about the only good or innovative thing about this vapid courtroom historical drama which does nothing to thrill and just like the time period it is situated in, it only takes Bollywood back to an age where the details feel half baked, the characters are sleazy stereotypes and the twists are uninspired. The fictional retelling of real life incidents could have been dealt with a lot more maturely and a flawed character like Rustom shouldn’t have become a jingoistic patriot who can do no wrong. The second half where most of the action shifts to the courtroom isn’t thrilling and pacy enough.
Rustom Review by Bollywood Hungama
First things first. RUSTOM is essentially a crime thriller. While the film does not have a mystery element/ whodunit angle in the storyline, it becomes slightly predictable as it progresses. The fact also remains that, there have been two films that have been earlier made on the same premise. These films were the Sunil Dutt-Leela Naidu starrer YEH RASTEY HAIN PYAAR KE (1963) and the ?Vinod Khanna?-Farida Jalal? starrer ACHANAK (1973). The storyline of RUSTOM has been subjected to a contemporary treatment by Vipul K. Rawal, who is in charge of the film’s screenplay, story and dialogues. When a film has Akshay Kumar as its hero, it’s a given that the screenplay has to be essentially gripping which keeps the audiences on the ‘edge-of-the-seat’. This element however is missing in RUSTOM. The film’s screenplay not just slows down the film’s pace, but also is very average. Had the screenplay been engrossing and captivating, it would have been a different story altogether. The film’s narrative oscillates between ‘convincing’ and ‘not-so-very-convincing’. Even though RUSTOM has been largely inspired by the famous case of KM Nanavati, the film does have its moments that make it furthermore enticing. Those who do not know anything about the (Nanavati) case, will surely take a liking for RUSTOM. RUSTOM happens to be Tinu Suresh Desai’s second film as a director (his first being 1920 LONDON). Tinu Suresh Desai has done a decent job as a director. While the film is set up in the first half, the second half is filled with court room drama galore. Even though there are moments when the film starts lagging, Tinu Suresh Desai’s manages to put the film back on track towards the end. The flip side (read ‘shortcomings’) of his direction can be seen in the courtroom drama scenes. Generally, court room scenes are filled with high voltage drama and power packed dialogues, something that is totally missing in RUSTOM. On the other hand, it’s the ‘situational humour’ that connects with the audience.
Rustom Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times
The premise is fairly simple. Director Tinu Desai’s characters reveal themselves rather obviously: A heartbroken naval officer, his cheating wife, the Casanova lover, his evil sister, sympathetic cops, an ambitious reporter and an overtly confused jury. But, slowly and surely, the movie grips you.
Rustom Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
When you go for a movie like Rustom, especially after watching the trailer, you expect high octane court drama proceedings. However, I feel it’s here that the film takes a beating. Blame it on our exposure to terrific shows like The People vs OJ Simpson (which again is based on a real-life trial), but we did expect a lot from Rustom, especially when the courtroom drama starts. But the director is more interested in Bollywood-ising the narrative than pulling off a tight narrative. We understand Rustom has to be perceived as a hero in public, mirroring what happened in the Nanavati case, but that portrayal is so sudden here that we are amused when Rustom is greeted by fans and wellwishers outside the court. It’s like Coldplay is in town. Moreover, the semi-cartoonish portrayals of the prosecutor (Sachin Khedekar, surprisingly hammy) and the judge (Anant Nag, reliving his Khichdi days) don’t help matters at all. Every character surrounding Rustom are too one dimensional, the biggest victim being Esha Gupta’s socialite, who mostly preens and pouts and smokes. The subplot of the Navy scandal is quite weak, and the romantic songs are forced.
Rustom Review by Raja Sen on Rediff
It is a case, in short, that deserves good cinema. Cinema that, like any intelligent murderer, understands that it is indeed all in the details. For half a minute, a highly distinguished Parsi gent shows up and immediately classes up this film, but that’s about all. Despite Kumar’s valiant (albeit overdressed) attempt at calm and gravitas, this film is bilge, unintentionally hilarious and eventually tedious. The only way to salvage it would be to add a too-loud laugh track, give Gupta a trampoline, and call it Carry On Rustom.
Rustom Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
He plays the honest, integrity-filled naval commander Rustom Pavri, who shoots his wife’s lover and then slays it in the courtroom. He’s not a trained lawyer, but he could have fooled us. The manner in which he sticks it to the prosecution (Sachin Khedekaras) will please the fans of Kumar. But those who are looking for a gripping legal battle will be left disappointed. All the forces backing this film seemed to be working towards making the decorated naval officer into a stand-up guy. His intentions are always lofty and noble, and that gets tiring after a while. The supporting cast, such as Arjan Bajwa, who plays the devious Casanova Vikram Makhija, are reduced accessories. Esha Gupta, Makhija’s vengeful sister, does variations of her pink-stained pouts throughout the film. D’Cruz is also decidedly pink and weeps to express her remorse. They all seemed to be pawns in this elaborately staged play.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
As for the flaws, the sets come across as too artificial and we feel the makers could have taken extra efforts to lend some authenticity to the look of the film (case in point- ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, which was also a period film). Also, the way Rustom defends and exonerates himself in court after coming in possession of evidence from the police locker room seems a bit too easy, which is something of a letdown. Had it been a challenging task for the noble Rustom to get himself acquitted, the film would have certainly been more entertaining, we feel. However, all said and done, Rustom is an entertaining fare, even if you have read about the Nanavati case, so don’t let that dissuade you from watching the film.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
In Airlift, he showed how he could take a quasi-real part and run with it. The film, despite its many concessions to ‘reality’, worked because the star made sure he was believable. The only time we connect with Rustom is when we are allowed to see the anguish and pained resolve in Akshay’s eyes. If only that feeling, and other emotions—stuff that comes with the territory of love and betrayal and murder– permeated the film: the rest, alas, is cardboard.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Akshay Kumar in a uniform is enough to do no wrong. He sinks into his character’s regimented manner and decided demeanour with conviction. Ileana D’Cruz as the perennially teary wife is a mere prop, while Esha Gupta steals the show (unintentionally) with her OTT makeup and her misplaced expressions. When the public prosecutor (Sachin Khedekar) turns to her, shocked at the announcement of a surprise witness, she offers her standard response: a wide-eyed stare followed by a pout. She completes her society kitten image by wielding a cigarette in every scene, even when getting a massage. Arjan Bajwa couldn’t be more miscast. Playing an affluent lady-killer, his hairy legs peep out of his Hawaiian dressing gown in an intense scene to diffuse his threats and distract the audience. The use of long shots is often celebrated as the effort exerted is visible and this one has two — when the investigating officer Winston Lobo (Pawan Malhotra) questions his witnesses. It barely adds any cinematic flair but surely wraps up the scene in a crisp manner. The background score, hopeful of intensifying this thriller, is jarring. This one’s worth a watch only for Akshay Kumar. But if you’re looking for laughs, Esha Gupta could help too.
Review by Lokesh Dharmani on Masala
I loved the detailing in the film. They have created an almost perfect world of 1960s. The naval ships, the furniture, the sets, even that Godrej fridge in the kitchen, everything in the film is detailed so well. Rustom despite having an interesting plot tries to play safe, please everyone and resorts to Bollywood formulae of forced humour and even more forced insipid songs.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
The courtroom drama, upon which the story hinges has a twist you can see a mile away. But you keep hoping Akshay Kumar will save the day, somehow. That is not so. Even his perfect posture, his awesome abs (even though he is wearing the uniform all through the movie) do not save the courtroom proceedings from being daft. The lawyer prosecuting the case (Sachin Khedekar) just makes a mockery of his role, so does the editor of the tabloid (Blitz in real life, and the tabloid played a huge part in swaying people’s emotions). And even though Pavan Verma tries his best to be the upright cop investigating the case, and Brijendra Kala his sidekick, there is no tension, no drama in the courtroom. There could have been added drama had they explained why a wife who cheated on her husband stayed by his side during the trial. But no. The silly comical treatment of what could have been stunning, tension-filled narrative fails to deliver anything but a ‘Akshay makes different films’ excuse. Law & Order on TV has better drama in one hour than this two and a half an hour long film. And the Pradeep Kumar moustache on Akshay Kumar doesn’t help.
Review by Shaheen Parkar on Mid-Day India
Akshay is yet again at his peak, choosing a film that gives him enormous scope to perform. Ileana’s pink cheeks are on display throughout the film (make-up highlights or natural?) apart from that perpetual tear on her eyelashes. Arjan Bajwa is back on scene after a hiatus as the flamboyant lover. He will be looking at this film to put his career back on track. Esha goes overboard wih her cleavage show. With some tight editing, especially in the second half when the court scenes become a drag, it would have made for a more riveting watch. A great deal of attention has been paid to the detailing and production values, and that’s commendable, and so is the direction. ‘Rustom’ is worth a watch for Akshay’s sake.
Review by Renuka Vyavahare on The Times Of India
Akshay Kumar is the backbone of Rustom. The Khiladi renders one of the most understated performances of his career, proving yet again that he can play a range of diverse roles with aplomb. The plot is interesting if not engaging. However, Rustom lacks the unnerving tension exuded by well made courtroom dramas like A Few Good Men (1992). It is not the gripping thriller one expects it to be, given the controversial case it’s based on. It tries to unfold like a whodunnit, and falters in its execution.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
Tinu Suresh Desai’s narration is stylish but turns tedious towards the end. Santosh Thundiyil’s cinematography is glossy. Production values are rich. Music by Ankit Tiwari, Jeet Ganguly, Raghav Sachar and Arko Pravo Mukherjee is poor failing to make us sing along. RUSTOM certainly has a style and with an explosive subject like this, a lot more was expected from Neeraj Pandey. Ironically it’s more an escapist lesson on how to be a good husband then a captivating substance as a film but the power of Akshay Kumar as Bollywood’s most dashing and suave Naval officer makes this sail through resulting in a decent one time watch. Watch it for Akshay Kumar.
Review by Mehul S Thakkar on Deccan Chronicle
Coming to the performances, it is Akshay Kumar who ensures that the audiences are glued in despite certain distracting elements in the screenplay. His role is complicated and needed a lot of effort to convince the audience that he is morally right. The behaviour and appearance of his character are very crucial to his impact on screen and he gets it absolutely right. Ileana D’cruz’s lack of chemistry with Akshay Kumar is a downer. Esha Gupta, with the swagger and the 60’s look does manage to leave an impact.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Akshay’s cool, calm, composed avatar is bound to floor many, and not just his ardent fans. There is little in this film that could displease the actor’s constituency. Rustom is largely inoffensive, even passable in the main, but could have been infinitely better had the screenplay not been so utterly conventional and unimaginative.
Review by Ananya Bhattacharya on India Today
The weakest part of Rustom is the treatment of the story. Despite emphasising that the film is a fictionalised account, and doesn’t bear any resemblance to anything real, the film is all about the Nanavati case. The tale could have been much better given that this was the last case in the country to be decided by a jury. The trailer promised a lot of that, but the story hardly bothers about it. Desai uses humour to lighten the courtroom proceedings. The problem with Rustom lies in its twists too. You can put your finger on them much before the twists actually play out in front of you, something which is fatal for a ‘crime thriller’. Rustom plays to the gallery, eliciting cheers and applause from the audience who want to see their hero reinstated as a hero. The focus shifts from a wronged husband and his wife’s extra-marital affair to something a lot more patriotic. The complete whitewashing of the dressed-in-white hero comes across as forced.
Review by Sarita A Tanwar on DNA India
The Nanavati case is an incident that most people are familiar with, even after seven decades. Tinu Desai knew that he had to make the film more a human drama and less of a courtroom drama. Rustom is emotionally nuanced, and the treatment is serious and thoughtful. As it progresses, it provides a shift in perspective to keep you guessing. Cynthia goes from being the culprit to the victim, and Rustom from the righteous to corrupt. The recreation of well-known events is done so well that despite knowing the story, Rustom engages and holds your attention. Scenes of old Bombay bring on nostalgia. There are numerous surprises that will keep you wondering what’s coming next. The romance between Rustom and Cynthia has a fairy tale quality. Their relationship is the best thing about the film. Akshay Kumar is exemplary and brings so much dignity to the character. Ileana as the vulnerable Cynthia is captivating.
Review by Raghav Jaitly on Zeenews
What must not be neglected in ‘Rustom’ is that it has got many layers to it. The screenplay of the movie showcases various scandals taking place at the same time. Sadly, these simultaneous storylines often get neglected in the backdrop of the murder trail. Undoubtedly, the twists and turns will leave you on the edge of your seat from the beginning. But, at the same time, the delay in dissemination of the real content will test your patience. The second half of the film aims at doing justice to your time and money. The courtroom drama will ensure that entertainment quotient remains high. Be it arguments, witnesses or evidence, everything leads to a different revelation that is likely to stun you at all levels.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
Period details are hit and miss, facts are distorted for the sake of convenience, and technically the film is no great shakes. But most unforgivably, the film sacrifices the complexities of the Nanavati case for the sake of facile drama. In the end, Pavan Malhotra is typically dependable in the role of the investigating police officer, and Akshay Kumar shows some flair. They are the sole bright spots in Rustom, which is too long, wholly disappointing, and feels like an opportunity lost.
Rustom Review by Indiaglitz
Director Tinu Suresh Desai gets a great opportunity of making a film on one of the most dramatic cases from our country and fails to do proper justice to it. He presents the movie in total tacky and outdated manner, especially the court room drama. The movie is engaging and also entertaining, but in totally 80’s style of a pot boiler. His way of blending a different story to the Nanavati case fails to work in the favour of the film.
Review by Subhash K Jha on Bollyspice
Rustom is unmistakably a vehicle to showcase Akshay Kumar’s power to portray spiritual transparency during times of stressful betrayal and deception. He does so with a sincerity that is at times heartbreaking and at other times reassuring. After Airlift this is one more performance from Akshay that proves he can hold the camera without making overt attempts to get our attention. Most of the second-half of Rustom is a courtroom drama with Akshay fighting his own case. Indicative of the film’s battle ahead.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
The main characters all have to wear one expression through the film. Akshay Kumar, the accused, is stern (garbed as restrained?). Ileana D’cruz, the accused’s cheating wife is sorry. Arjan Bajwa, the supposed villain smirks and his sister, Esha Gupta, the supposed vamp, smirks more. That is more or less what they do. They are all styled like they are in the 50s-60s. Whether or not it is authentic, it sure is refreshing. At times even distracting from the story. The story by itself works, the back and forth in time-line notwithstanding. But, it all comes crumbling down in the end. It’s a safe bet to say that a thriller that goes wrong with its climax is likely to fail as a thriller. If it were not for that, Rustom might just have worked, despite its disengaging performances.
Best Rated Films in 2016
- Neerja – 4 stars
- The Jungle Book – 3.8 stars
- Airlift – 3.7 stars
- Kapoor & Sons – 3.7 stars
- Udta Punjab – 3.5 stars
- Fan – 3.5 stars
- Budhia Singh – Born To Run – 3.4 stars
- Sultan – 3.3 stars
- Dhanak – 3.3 stars
- Phobia – 3.3 stars
- Waiting – 3.3 stars
- Sarbjit – 3 stars
- TE3N – 2.8 stars
- Dishoom – 2.7 stars
- Madaari – 2.7 stars
- Azhar – 2.6 stars
- Kabali – 2.6 stars
- Laal Rang – 2.5 stars
- Ki & Ka – 2.5 stars
- Housefull 3 – 2.2 stars
- Veerappan – 2.2 stars
- Baaghi – 2.2 stars
- Rocky Handsome – 2.1 stars
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- M cream – 1.7 stars
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- The Legend of Michael Mishra – 1.2 stars