Rustum movie cast: Shivrajkumar, Vivek Oberoi, Shraddha Srinath, Rachita Ram
Rustum movie director: Ravi Varma
Rustum movie rating: 1 star
Stunt choreographer Ravi Varma’s directorial debut Rustum is bad. However, there is a silver lining – it is also unintentionally very funny. Ravi has clearly taken a giant leap of faith hoping that over 20 years of his experience staging movie fights will inform the decisions he makes as a director on the set or extracting a better story from his writers. But, unfortunately, that is not how it is.
Surprisingly, the producers have hired a group of writers (Hardhik C. S, Ram K. Lakshman, Raghu Samarth) to work on the screenplay, which is conspicuous by its absence in the film. It seems like the filmmakers tried to pull out a narrative out of thin air after going to the sets. In fact, put a bunch of toddlers in a room and ask them to come up with a story, it will still be a better film than what Ravi Varma and his team have created. The film is, indeed, a success if its goal was to give the viewers a concussion without really striking them physically.
Abhishek Bhargav is played by Shivrajkumar, who sports a moustache that reminds us of his late father and matinee idol Dr Rajkumar from Shabdavedhi (2000). Abhishek is an honest police officer, who likes to kill people. “Arrest gives me allergy. Encounter gives me energy,” says Abhishek before he pumps bullets into the bad guys.
He comes to Bengaluru with his family for an undercover mission. What is the mission? We’re not told and when they finally tell us, we are so bored that we don’t care anymore. Let me tell you how juvenile is this film. The opening scene begins with an IAS officer entering a half-constructed building overrun by thugs wielding machetes. It turns out that he is leading an investigation against the state’s Home Minister. He is also straight as an arrow, who does not take bribes. And yet he willingly walks into the enemy camp, without any backup or a plan. I mean, Why? Unless he fights like Bruce Lee or Jet Li, it doesn’t really make sense why would the officer do such a dumb thing.
The writers of Rustum have blatantly plagiarized scenes from popular Vijay films. The filmmakers have roped in veteran filmmaker J Mahendran to play the villain in the climax which is a direct rip off of Theri. If you didn’t know, Mahendran was also the villain in Theri. The filmmakers have also recreated a scene from Thuppakki.
Vivek Oberoi’s role comes as a relief. Not because his character is wonderful but we are saved from his another stock villain performance. For a change, he plays a good guy. He seems to have gotten a bit rusty doing fight sequences because he struggles to strike hero poses after taking down the bad ones.
The film was destined to be terrible and Shivrajkumar can’t do much to change its fate.
In spite of its tolerable 128-minute run-time, the film still feels quite long. Audiences were so anxious to get out of the theater by the end. “I already had enough of it (the film),” said a member in the audience when his friend insisted to wait to see the credit rolls which were coupled with behind-the-scenes videos.
As Roger Ebert said, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”