‘Rustom’: The re-invention of Akshay Kumar

Mumbai: For my money and time, Akshay Kumar is the finest star-actor package in Bollywood. Whether lifting the inspiring “Airlift” to another level with his performance or fooling around in “Housefull 3” — Akshay is the epitome of sparkling spontaneity.

“Rustom” is going to be Akshay’s third release this year. Rest assured, there is no sign of tiredness in his screen presence — as seen in the film’s trailer — as he embarks on a new journey as a naval officer in Mumbai 1959 who returns home to find his beloved wife in the arms of another man (presumably his best friend).

The story has been done earlier with Sunil Dutt in “Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke”, a 1963 thriller directed by R.K. Nayyar.

This is the story of an upright man and a full-blown patriot who kills his best friend for love. When the actual case had happened in 1959, it shook Mumbai’s beau monde exposing the sordid truth behind the most immaculately perfect marriage.

“Rustom” captures the flavour and fervour of the crime-of-passion with flair and energy. The trailer is cut to project the drama as a thriller. The rapidfire editing suggests a tremendous moral upheaval in the universe that we are compelled to enter.

While Ileana D’Cruz as the unfaithful wife is as fragile and tremulous as Leela Naidu in “Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke”, Ileana lacks Naidu’s luminous beauty. She is more about the well-groomed wig and the crimson lip gloss than the character.

In fact, the entire vast supporting cast in “Rustom” — ranging from the very skilled Pavan Malhotra and Sachin Khedekar to the very pouty Esha Gupta (playing the murdered man’s vengeful sister) — are mere shadows in the horizon.

Make no mistake. This is another vehicle to flaunt Akshay Kumar’s huge stardom. He exudes a sense of unassuming power in his gloriously author-backed role creating a dramatic impact in two minutes of “Rustom”.

Gulzar attempted the same story in a different setting. In “Achanak”, Vinod Khanna was an army man who returns home to find his beloved wife involved with another man. In Gulzar’s film, the cuckolded husband (played by Vinod Khanna) strangles his wife. Akshay’s Rustom Pavri guns down the man who dares to sleep with his wife.

Quite clearly, Akshay has killed it.