Naval Gazing, Film: Rustom, Cast: Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Arjan Bajwa, Esha Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Directed by: Tinu Suresh Desai, Duration: 2 hr 31 mins, Rating: * *
The infamous Nanavati murder case way back in 1959, had become the talk of the town. The case itself had serious implications on the judiciary as the jury system was abolished as a result of the verdict. Two other films were also inspired by the incident, Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963) and a decade later, Gulzaar’s Achanak (1973).
Produced by Neeraj Pandey and directed by Tinu Suresh Desai, Rustom is the latest take on the episode where a decorated naval officer shot dead his wife’s paramour.
Our films are yet to get a grip on telling stories inspired by real life incidents. While the core of the story remains faithful, it is served with dollops of fiction diluting the essence of the story and raises some serious questions about the portrayal –is it fair to twist the story so much to suit a ‘satisfactory’ explanation to the audience? The jury is out on that.
Rustom starts off impressively by cutting to the chase. Akshay Kumar plays the role of Commander Rustom Pavri a naval officer who surprises his wife Cynthia (Ileana D’Cruz) by arriving home earlier than expected after completing an assignment. Instead, he is the one who is surprised to discover that she is having an affair with Vikram (Arjan Bajwa), a rich bloke who happens to be his acquaintance. Rustom shoots Vikram and it is not quite a crime of passion.
The trial begins as Vikram’s sister (Esha Gupta) is hell-bent on sending Rustom behind bars. Kumud Mishra plays Billimoria, a caricature news paper editor modeled on the late Russi Karanjia who ran a campaign in favour of the navy man in the tabloid, Blitz.
The court room drama which should have been one of the highlights turns into a farce. Like most judges in our films, the judge (Anang Desai) has to bang the gravel and scream ‘order order’ a several times and instead of becoming tense drama, the writers have opted for comic relief which is a pity.
The climax and the final explanation for the murder is also a very convenient cop out.
The characters are also one dimensional, especially the infidel wife. The supporting cast adds decent weight to the proceedings – Usha Nadkarni as the maid, Pawan Malhotra as the investigating officer and Brijendra Kala as the constable make an impression every time they are on screen, unlike the more glamorous Ileana D’Cruz or Esha Gupta.
When he is not acting in those mundane comedies, Akshay Kumar shows that he can perform a variety of characters. As the lead actor, he is spot on. The same cannot be said of the script though.
Film: Mohenjo Daro, Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde, Kabir Bedi, Arunoday Singh, Directed by: Ashutosh Gowarikar, Duration: 2 hrs 35 mins, Rating: * *
Lest you forget that it is a period film set in one of the earliest civilizations, the word Mohenjo Daro is used more than a dozen times in Ashutosh Gowarikar’s new film. But barring the name and a token effort to depict that era, given the story of the film, this could have well been called Ramgad, Harappa or Mesopotamia. The name and the place is just incidental because the story is older than Tutankhamun tomb.
There are moments in the film where the visuals look gorgeous but the script is a let down. A young man settling scores with an evil ruler and avenging his father’s death is not exactly a novel plot by any stretch of imagination.
Set in 2016 BC, we are introduced to Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) who gives us a glimpse of his crocodile annihilating skills. He hails from a village but going by his rippling muscles, you would think he spends some serious time in the best gym in town.
Sarman is desperate to leave his village and go to Mohenjo Daro with the enthusiasm of a teeny bopper who wants to go clubbing. He also gets these visions of a unicorn (white not pink) which is symbol of the urban civilization.
Once he reaches where he longs to go, he is to deal with a tyrannical ruler (Kabir Bedi with Viking horns) and his son (Arunoday Singh) who exploits the downtrodden and hence gives ample opportunity to our hero to show his pro-poor stance. He also falls in love with a local damsel (Pooja Hegde) and impresses her with his horse tackling skills. Subsequently, we have to endure their romance which is a dud. No points for guessing that the villain’s son also has a soft corner for the girl – this film ticks all the boxes.
A gladiator style encounter with rather two rather bulky men is well choreographed but the climax is rather tacky.
On the whole, there is an allegorical attempt here by linking politics, environment but it remains an unsuccessful one. The costumes are so impeccable that they are worth trending in this present day. The same cannot be said of the head gear though.
A R Rahman’s songs are eminently hummable, especially ‘Tu Hain’, which is also filmed in a Bhansali’esque manner.
On the acting front, Pooja Hegde is easy on the eyes but her character doesn’t give much scope to show her acting talent. Hrithik with a saddled role is sincere.
As they say, let bygones be bygones – Gowarikar and company should have heeded to that.