Akshay is keeping his acting skills honed and it seems like he is one of the few whose acting seems to have improved with time. Rustom is a 2016 Indian crime thriller film written by Vipul K Rawal, directed by Tinu Suresh Desai and produced by Neeraj Pandey. It features Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Arjan Bajwa and Esha Gupta in the lead roles. The film is based on the real life experience of Naval Officer KM Nanavati and businessman Prem Ahuja.

During the 1950s, Indian Navy Officer Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) is happily married to Cynthia Pavri (Ileana D’Cruz). Their marriage hits the rocks when Rustom discovers his wife’s affair with his friend Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa). After returning early from a trip to the seas, Rustom discovers Vikram’s love letters in Cynthia’s cupboard. While trying to find where she is, Rustom also witnesses both of them together. He returns home and waits for Cynthia to return and then confronts her with the love letters, but walks away before Cynthia could explain anything.

Rustom then issues himself a pistol from the Naval Ship’s armoury and makes a trunk call to Delhi. Afterward, he seeks out Vikram, first in his office and then at his home. After Rustom enters Vikram’s bedroom, the servant hears three gun shots and rushes to the room, only to discover Vikram’s body lying in the pool of blood and Rustom walking away with pistol in his hand. Rustom immediately surrenders to police and Inspector Vincent Lobo (Pawan Malhotra) starts the investigation.

Vikram’s sister Priti Makhija (Esha Gupta) hires the best lawyer in the city Lakshman Khangani (Sachin Khedekar) to get Rustom worst punishment possible. While a local newspaper TRUTH publishes the news adding some spice to it, stirring in whole city. At one side, Navy supports their officer and asks police to hand over his custody and on other side the Parsi community offers help by hiring a good defence lawyer. Rustom refuses everybody’s help and decides to fight the case on his own.

While the Editor-in-Chief of Truth newspaper, Erach Billimoria (Kumud Mishra) creates a sympathetic image of Rustom in public, Rustom’s senior Navy officer Prashant Kamat (Parmeet Sethi) sends two goons to his house to search for a set of documents, but they fail to find anything. Scared Cynthia rushes to jail to inform Rustom, who wasn’t willing to talk to her until then. Rustom finally meets and listens to Cynthia’s story, about how she was lonely and upset when Rustom went away to London for many months. Vikram took advantage of her loneliness and Cynthia fell for him, but on the day of Vikram’s murder, Cynthia had already broken-up with him for the sake of their marriage.

On Rustom’s instructions, Cynthia blackmails Navy officer Prashant Kamat for five crore rupees in exchange of the documents he needed. While in the court hearing, Rustom unexpectedly pleads not guilty in front of the judge, which leads to a jury trial. The crux of the case was whether Commander Rustom shot Vikram in ‘self-defence’ or whether it was premeditated murder. At the culmination of the trial, Rustom is found not guilty and is freed. Rustom reconciles with Cynthia.

I cannot say much for the female lead and the other female actresses on the cast because Bollywood more than often ruin acting with their melodrama but maybe they just have this very stereotypical way of acting which they perceive to be good acting. Ileana cries most of the movie and bats her eyes whenever she gets a chance, the crying gets so bad that at times you second guess your ticket choice. Esha puts up some fierce acting but then overdoes it in some scenes. I find the newspaper editor and Rustom’s maid to have better acting skills compared to lead female members in the cast.

Akshay in his previous movie Airlift as well has clearly done some superb acting and is seemingly getting good at it. Older the better? I think he needs to get more ‘based on a true story’ kind of movies, maybe he would try staying true to the role then. If Rustom is worth watching then Akshay is a major reason as to why.

The movie has a secured plot although as usual it attempts the vigour of Bollywood dramatics, but it isn’t too shabby. There might be a dull moment or two but on the whole the movie keeps you anticipating what’s next. All in all it’s in the ‘different’ category of Bollywood movies so it’s worth a watch.

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