Rustom

Vampire Owl: I have always loved those Akshay Kumar movies, not just now, but also during the early times of Khiladi.

Vampire Bat: Everyone loves Khiladi, or at least those earlier ones in the franchise.

Vampire Owl: Then, Baby, Brothers and Airlift in the last two years – it is too good.

Vampire Bat: I have heard people say that Rustom is even bigger than the rest.

Vampire Owl: What? Are you sure that you are sure about it?

Vampire Bat: You mean to ask that I am twice sure about the same?

Vampire Owl: Are you saying it because Akshay Kumar won the National Film Award for Best Actor for this particular movie?

Vampire Bat: No, the quality of this movie was already established.

Vampire Owl: Then, I would watch this one this midnight.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: During the 1950s, an Indian Navy Officer named Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar), fell in love with, and is happily married to the beautiful young lady, Cynthia Pavri (Ileana D’Cruz). But it doesn’t go that smoothly as he discovers her affair with his friend and a very rich and influential playboy, Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa), while returning from his deputation in the ship. Their servant Jamnabai (Usha Nadkarni) tells him that she hasn’t been home since yesterday, and has no idea when she will return. An angry and frustrated Rustom finds Vikram’s intense love letters to his wife, and also finds them together at Vikram’s place, much to his dismay. When Cynthia finally arrives home, Vikram shows her the letters and doesn’t let her explain. Instead, he storms out of the place, gets a pistol from the ship’s arms and ammunition, and makes a trunk call to Defense Secretary K. M. Bakshi (Kanwaljit Singh).

So, what happens next? :: Bhanabhai (Deepak Gheewala), Vikram’s servant hears three gunshots and goes to see him at his room, only to find his master dead in a pool of blood, with Rustom standing on the side with a gun. Rustom who walks out of there, surrenders at the local police station, to Inspector Vincent Lobo (Pawan Malhotra) who gets charge of the investigation of this particular murder. Vikram’s sister Priti Makhija (Esha Gupta) who is a very influential woman, with even bigger contacts than her brother, wants to have death sentence for Rustom, for which she is ready to do anything in her power. The biggest of punishments is the only thing that can make her any satisfaction, as she promises to make the man who killed her only brother, suffer the worst fate. Erich Billimoria (Kumud Mishra), the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper decides to help Rustom as he is part of the community, by continously bringing sympathetic news about him through his writings.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: The community itself tries to help him by bringing a reputed lawyer for him, but he decides to fight his case all by himself. He is even offered better facilities by the navy, which he also refuses. Meanwhile, his senior officer at the Navy, Rear Admiral Prashant Kamat (Parmeet Sethi) sends two people to find certain documents at his home, which they fail to do, as nothing like that is present there. Enraged by this, Rustom brings other plans for his fellow officers, and at the same time, pleads not guilty when in front of the Judge Patel (Anang Desai). Public Prosecutor Lakshman Khangani (Sachin Khedekar) is confident that he would win the case despite the newspaper siding with Rustom which leads to the public being with him. His confidence only increases with Rustom fighting the case by himself. But is there something more in Rustom’s mind which he doesn’t know about? Is he good enough to win the case without any help?

The defence of Rustom :: The movie’s biggest asset, without doubt is Akshay Kumar, and there is no doubt about how good he is – he has gone through three thrilling flicks, Baby, Brothers and Airlift, his performance in the first one being as good as his work here. Ileana D’Cruz is also very good, and we see everything working in favour of this movie. The supporting cast does the job very well, including Pawan Malhotra and Kumud Mishra who deserves the special mention. The thrills are present all the time, and we have twists coming through. How things take the u-turn more than one is worth watching again and again. We also have some nice humour in between. The songs are also to be loved, and heard again. There is also a dose of patriotism in this one. And this one is smart, and so, you will need the brain to work to get through this movie, and not the heart which is reserved for your favourite celebrities. Well, Rustom is the kind of movies that could replace those unrealistic movies from Bollywood very often, and it is the main reason why this entertaining ride which goes through a realistic side is more important than any of those overrated pathetic movies that get rather too popular.

The claws of flaw :: Rustom has a rather slow first half as it seems to be peacefully moving towards the interval, and we keep wondering where this tale that focuses on adultery will lead, but it is all to change later, as you would witness. One might also feel that there is a little too much righteousness added to the main character, and fictionalised events only help in making the protagonist even a better person, as the newspapers in the movie did too. Maybe, this movie could have gone deeper to explore the rather darker areas, and might have been able to deal with the emotional side in a more personal way too. The movie is also too much focused on one character, when there could have been bigger portraits of more interesting characters, who are around him. One also wonders why the hero is always in his uniform – is it how things work when a military officer is arrested? Well, we don’t know much about the same, and so can’t comment on it. Maybe a tale on the real incident without fiction will also come to the big screen some day, but in the end, how can we know the exact truth?

How it finishes :: Rustom is the kind of movie which gets unexpectedly strong, and when you least expect it to happen, the movie is firing from all cylinders. Inspired by a court case in 1959 about Naval Commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati was tried for the murder of Prem Ahuja, the alleged lover of his wife Sylvia – known as K. M. Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra, and with a highly fictionalised account of the incidents and what surrounds the same, Rustom shows how well things can work out with some good creativity, and a fine cast to go with the same. The incident is also known to have inspired the 1973 movie Achanak as well as the 1963 flick Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke. But now, we have Rustom to remember related to incident rather than any other. Akshay Kumar also received the National Film Award for Best Actor at the 64th National Film Awards which were announced on the seventh of April this year – there is so much good talked about this movie, and you need to watch it at some point.

PS: Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3 attract the families this week.

Release date: 12th August 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Tinu Suresh Desai
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta, Arjan Bajwa, Pavan Malhotra, Kumud Mishra, Usha Nadkarni, Sachin Khedekar, Anang Desai, Parmeet Sethi, Indraneel Bhattacharya, Kanwaljit Singh, Brijendra Kala, Gireesh Sahadev, Abhay Kulkarni, Varun Verma, Sammanika Singh, Deepak Gheewala, Ishteyak Khan, Naman Jain, Subhashis Chakraborty, Vipul K. Rawal, Suresh Sippy, Rajesh S. Khatri, Samir Shah, Haresh Khatri, Nagraj Manjule, Mohit Satyanand

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Phata Poster Nikla Hero

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Even as the comedy movies are not having a good time these days and I have been mostly against them with the exception of Go Goa Gone, this one comes from the same person who had earlier directed Andaz Apna Apna, and so it was to be watched also because it had positive reviews from a good number of people whom I trusted. No, I don’t like Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, and so lets leave it out of this. Watching the Malayalam movie Sringaravelan worked completely against that idea though, and delayed the procedure even further with the reminder of the horror that a comedy movie can be. But the need to watch a movie featuring Ileana D’Cruz came up, and as most of the people did in last year, I didn’t watch Barfi nor did I watch Nanban, which made this movie closer to a must-watch. To add to it, the trailer was pretty good too, considering the standards which one expect from a mindless comedy movie. No, the movie doesn’t live up-to the trailer as it is not a fun riot throughout as it mixes things. Well, its mixed reviews are justified for sure, as the film raises its bar as a comedy movie which is not for one age group or just a generation of viewers, even as it never reaches that high level of something which is to be remembered for a long time.

If this movie was to raise the bar high enough, this review was to feature an interview with Count Dracula himself, but as it didn’t do that well enough, Dracula has to stay with just one interview provided (moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/hotel-transylvania/‎) and this won’t be the time for the second. The movie starts very well if we look at it, but it loses most of its strength in the second half, and the use of sentiments and there is that little more action which is more than needed, that doesn’t really help the cause. The movie is a breeze throughout the first half, and a disoriented wind in the second half. The movie required more comedy too, even as most of the existing funny lines surely work. With this movie with a title that is literally translated as Poster Rips Open And Out Comes Hero, there was a lot more possible. This could have been the best comedy movie of the year in any language from India if it had taken over from the base which was set in the first half, but unfortunately it trails to its own early half. Still, it doesn’t lose its path completely, as it holds on and on to the mindlessness and provides us with something which looks more like a parody at times, but is still funny enough.

The movie has a simple story if not the simplest of the age. There is nothing complicated in a young man from a village, Vishwas Rao (Shahid Kapoor) who hopes to become a big superstar by gaining a leading role in a movie. He is raised by his mother (Padmini Kolhapure) by driving an auto-rickshaw, hoping that her son will grow up to be a Police Inspector and beat up the evil guys, restoring order to a world lacking in righteousness and truth. She hopes that through her son, there will be justice which was destroyed by her own husband who was a corrupt police officer until the moment of his death. As Vishwas tries to make it to the big screen, his mother tries even more to make him a police officer, but he retaliates by depicting himself as unfit in front of those who conduct the tests. As he is called to Mumbai as the last chance for a police job, he goes there happily and tries his luck in the movies instead. But as a he comes up against a social-worker Kajal (Ileana D’Cruz) who confuses him as a police officer and he is pitted against the gangs of the city. He accidently catches another thief, and he hesitates to tell the truth as he falls for her slowly, but steadily.

The arrival of his mother who thinks that he is a police officer, also complicates the situation. He gets his aspiring actor friends to help him in the life-time acting of the police officer and even convinces the police commisioner to act so that he can help his mother. He is forced to save those who were vacated by goons due to his mother forcing him, and then again Kajal makes him raid a dance bar, an act which saves a number of women and exposes a lot of black money. The result is that the underworld don Gundappa (Saurabh Shukla) and the corrupt inspector Ghorpade (Zakir Hussain) on his payroll comes to consider him as a serious threat to their business and begins a big search for him. There are talks about an international criminal nicknamed Napolean and a dangerous terrorist mission known as the White Elephant, but at the same time, the police commissioner comes to stay near the place where our hero and his mother are staying, which adds to his woes, as he tries hard to keep his mask of the non-corrupt police officer on his face. Now, the hero has to become the real-life star rather than the big-screen star.

This is Shahid Kapoor’s favourite performance as I am concerned. I haven’t been his fan, but I liked his performances in 36 China Town and Fida. This is the first time that I have seen his performance which is fully comic in character, and there is no doubt that he has done the best among the actors. The best scenes include those when he meets Salman Khan when with his future love, and the dialogues with the police commissioner. He gets some good funny lines as expected. Yes, Salman Khan does make a cameo in this movie as himself, and Nargis Fakhri is there for an item dance which is more of a stage performance. Ileana D’Cruz looks lovely and dazzling throughout the movie, even as her character seems to make regular attempts to look cute and stupid, and turns incredibly gorgeous in the songs. Talking about the songs, it has to be said that they spring out of nowhere, like the demons of The Conjuring, but we get to see Shahid Kapoor at his stylish best and Ileana D’Cruz with serene beauty. The songs are undoubtedly forced on the movie, just like the climax. Ileana has her best lines in the beginning and the end, and in between, she has not much to outside the songs, alone.

As I had mentioned earlier, Ileana D’Cruz is the main reason why I stumbled upon this movie, and I have to say that she is part of my list of favourite actresses in Bollywood, even though I should have been familiar with her movies from the movie industry of the South, which I am not, just in her case. One fact about her character is that it is both a stupid as well as a lovable one – all the characters of the movie are pretty much stupid for sure, except for Padmini Kolhapure’s mother character. Ileana’s character has used that stupidity to perfection though, as she plays the lady who is nicknamed Complaint Kajal for the large number of complaints which she files in the police station for various reasons. It is a character who is supposed to be so, and Ileana’s portrayal of the same makes her instantly likable. Her portrayal of the character is second only to the hero’s performance. The name Ileana, having its own Greek origins, meaning “of Troy”, derived from the Greek name Helen, and here too, the origins are quite justified, as she remains the most beautiful side of the movie, even as no wars were fought on her name.

Padmini Kolhapure plays a good, righteous mother perfectly, as its been a long time since I saw her on the big screen, as I missed the Hamlet inspired Malayalam movie Karmayogi in which she is supposed to have been a part of. The other actors have also did their part well enough to entertain us. The best thing about this movie is that there is no humour of bad taste or bad words which keep the families away, and there is nothing of adult jokes which some of the movies of this age uses when the makers run out of ideas. There is also assertion of truth and righteousness and in the end it is asserted that being a hero in real life is better than being a fake hero in the big screen, an idea which lightens up what seems to be an otherwise inferior end to what seemed to be coming in the first half. This weaker second half could have been boosted to make this movie a better treat, but for now, lets adjust with what we have here. This is a movie which you can watch without thinking much, and you can give your brain a rest. I could watch this one for just rupees fifty and this is more than just worth it. Watch this one for the Helen of Troy that is Ileana D’Cruz, the charming stylish Greek hero that is Shahid Kapoor, and all the fun which has a hidden goodness element – forget the plot and leave your brains behind though.

Release date: 20th September 2013
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Rajkumar Santoshi
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Padmini Kolhapure, Darshan Jariwala, Saurabh Shukla, Sanjay Mishra, Zakir Hussain, Mukesh Tiwari, Rana Jung Bahadur, Deepika Kamaiah, Tinnu Anand, Nargis Fakhri (cameo), Salman Khan (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.