Cast: Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta
Director: Tinu Suresh Desai
Rating: 2 stars
the screenplay is inert, especially in the first half. The second half, which is almost entirely set in a courtroom, has more vigour. Usha Nadkarni, playing Rustom’s maid, gets a standout moment. But the world in Rustom never fully comes to life because the characters don’t feel authentic. The women – Ileana D’Cruz and Esha Gupta – flit around in fifties fashion. I spent some time marveling at the rigid curls in their hair. Esha, playing Vikram’s sister, keeps narrowing her eyes and pursing her lips. I wonder if her inspiration was Angelina Jolie from Maleficent. For reasons I couldn’t figure out, the film is saturated in lurid colours. So walls are bright green and blue, cheeks are red. Everyone looks a little ripe.
Still, Akshay cuts a dashing figure in his naval uniform. His erect spine is shorthand for a man of duty and determination. But his character doesn’t have vulnerability or an arc. There is one nicely done jail scene when Rustom meets Cynthia for the first time after the murder. He grips his own arms tightly so that he doesn’t hug her. It’s sad and moving. The film is brave enough to give us a man who is so evolved that he understands and forgives his errant wife. But instead of exploring the dynamics of this, we get lost in heroism, corruption and courtroom dramatics. And truthfully, the only thing Parsi about Akshay is the name Rustom.