Rustom Trailer is Out Now
The official trailer for Akshay Kumar’s highly anticipated film Rustom was released on Thursday (30 June) morning. Clocking in at just over three minutes, the trailer lays out the basic points the film will cover — the dedicated service of Rustom Pavri (Kumar), a commander in the Indian Navy, his idyllic married life with his English-born wife (Ileana D’Cruz), the discovery of her affair with a family friend, Rustom’s subsequent shooting of the lover, and the court case that followed. While based on the real life story of Commander KM Nanavati and his shooting of his wife Sylvia’s lover Prem Ahuja, the trailer of Rustom shows that it explores several other angles that were not part of the original case — and this is where the film’s narrative becomes confusing.
The Nanavati case was fascinating for a variety of reasons: it led to the abolishing of the jury system in India, created friction between two communities (the Parsis, to which group Nanavati belonged; and the Sindhis — Ahuja was one, as was his sister Mamie Ahuja, who was heavily involved in the court battles subsequent to Prem’s death), and the role the media (notably the tabloid Blitz run by Russi Karanjia) played in shaping public perception of the case and its principal parties.
However, while the Rustom trailer certainly brings out some of those aspects, it also introduces an angle of whether or not the titular character was a patriot or a traitor; there are hints of some form of military espionage that he carried out, or threatened to, perhaps to secure his freedom. In real life, Nanavati was released from prison after three years; his case was helped with a pardon signed by Mamie Ahuja (played by Esha Gupta in Rustom, overshadowed by her cigarette holder and frozen bouffant in the trailer) and the efforts of a number of people working on his behalf.
He went on to live in Canada with Sylvia and their three children, and passed away in 2003. Incidentally, the story of Sylvia Nanavati inspired the song ‘Sylvia’ in Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet. The Nanavati story has triggered a host of other re-tellings — both in print and on screen. The trailer of Rustom offers us really too little to say whether or not this Tinu Suresh Desai-directed film (he previously helmed 1920 London) will prove to be as compelling as its real life source material. But in the meantime, you can read a comprehensive account of the Nanavati case here, and then watch the Rustom trailer: