Trailer Watch: 'Rustom'
Akshay Kumar does it again. The actor has this innate ability, nay, talent, to wheedle out obscure and mostly unknown incidents in India’s past and produce memorable, almost niche, movies about them (examples being Special 26, Airlift) with not-so-well-known directors while balancing hardcore commercial films. His latest film, Rustom, promises to be in the former category.
After the headache that was the Housefull 3 trailer (which we'd reviewed earlier), it wouldn’t be unjustified to look towards the Rustom trailer with some trepidation. But Kumar, it seems, likes to adhere to the ‘One for them, one for me’ policy i.e. one commercial (read: mindless) action/comedy film for the masses, one niche film for his personal satisfaction.
Set in 1959, the film (directed by Tinu Suresh Desai) is based on the real life incident involving the murder of Prem Ahuja by Commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati of the Indian Navy, who shot Prem three times after finding out about his involvement with his wife, Sylvia Nanavati. The resulting trial captured the nation and the Indian media and was the last trial to be held with a jury, as the Indian government abolished jury trials thereafter.
The names of the characters for this cinematic retelling have been altered (Kumar’s character is called Rustom Pavri, which explains the film’s title). However, in essence, the story line appears to be faithful to the incidents that inspired the film as well as the timeline (the real-life murder case and trial were also in 1959). The trailer establishes Rustom’s naval career and shows his romance with his wife (Ileana D’Cruz), then moves swiftly to the discovery of his wife’s affair, the murder of his wife’s lover (Arjan Bawja) and then the resulting trial. Introduced in the fray is Vikram’s sister (Esha Gupta), who tries to establish Rustom as a criminal during the trial. There are suggestions of other themes throughout the trailer, such as espionage and treachery, with hints of naval plans going askew.
The trailer is engaging from the onset and establishes the plot quickly. It's crisply edited and promises a gripping film with hints of noir and an almost nostalgic look at a bygone era (the characters sport vintage Ray Bans and smoke cigarettes out of cigarette holders). Kumar looks in fine form, performance wise. There’s no doubt he’s in his element in films like these which give him the chance to practise his chops and he seems to have sunk his teeth into this role. His character is shown going through a gamut of emotions, from anger to apathy/indifference and he portrays them with a disarming ease. Amongst the women, D'Cruz looks glamorous but it is really Gupta as Prem’s sister that catches the eye, not so much because of her striking looks (her character is styled as a femme fatale) but because of the few scenes where her character shows cold anger and fury in quick succession. Gupta appears to have grown as an actress and it’ll be interesting to see the extent of her role in the film and her performance.
Overall, Rustom promises to be an interesting, solid thriller and the trailer establishes the film impressively. The conclusion? Akshay, if you deliver with Rustom, we’ll forgive you for Housefull 3.
Are you looking forward to Rustom?