The Verdict State Vs Nanavati: The Twisted 1959 Case That Inspired The Web Series

Elli AvrRam, Sumeet Vyas, Manav Kaul, and Angad Bedi-starrer show is inspired from the 1959 KM Nanavati vs State of Maharastra case that shook India.

Aayushi Sharma

September 18, 2019

Entertainment

4 min

zeetv

Naval Commander Kawas Maneckshaw Nanavati, a Parsi, put up in Mumbai (then Bombay) with his English-born wife Sylvia and their three children. A part of his job with the Indian Navy required Nanavati to be away for long periods of time during which Sylvia fell in love with Prem Bhagwan Ahuja and had an extra-marital affair. In 1959, Nanavati had returned from one of his assignments when his wife confessed to having an affair with Prem, a Sindhi friend of the Nanavati’s. After dropping off his family at a cinema hall, Kawas barged into Prem’s bedroom and fired three shots from his service revolver. Later, Nanavati turned himself over to the Deputy Commissioner of Police and his account stated that he shot only after Prem refused to marry his wife and accept their kids. The murder set in motion one of the most sensational criminal cases that shook the Indian judicial system. Popularly known as the Nanavati Scandal, the 1959 case has largely inspired an upcoming web series The Verdict: State Vs Nanavati starring Manav Kaul, Elli AvrRam, Sumeet Vyas, Angad Bedi, Kubbra Sait, Makrand Deshpande, Viraf Patel amongst others.

Watch the trailer of The Verdict here:

Although Sylvia’s letters to Prem, admitted as her testimony in court, indicated that she was willing to leave Nanavati for him but wasn’t sure if harboured the same intentions. However, Mamie Ahuja, Prem’s sister, asserted that Prem was ready to marry Sylvia if she left Kawas. Nanavati was charged under Section 302 of the IPC and a trial by jury began in the sessions court. The main argument in court majorly revolved around the nature of the crime: Did Nanavati shoot in the “heat of the moment?” OR Was it a premeditated killing? Defence maintained it was the former while the prosecution argued Nanavati had planned it. Nanavati pleaded not guilty.

The Bombay Session Court acquitted him but the Bombay HC ruled against Nanavati in March 1960. The verdict was followed by that of the Supreme Court which stayed the decision in 1961. Ram Jethmalani led the prosecution while Karl Khandalavala represented Nanavati. The case attracted eyeballs from the masses and media alike. The Parsi community rallied in support of Nanavati while the Sindhis backed Mamie. After spending three years in jail, Mamie gave her consent to forgive Nanavati.  Vijayalakshmi Pandit, then governor of Maharashtra, pardoned him and ordered his release.

Nanavati and Sylvia reconciled and moved to Canada with their three children in 1968. Nanavati passed away in July 2003.

The Verdict Trailer
(Source: ZEE5)

In The Verdict, Manav features as Nanavati while Elli plays his wife Sylvia and Viraf essays her lover Prem. REJCTX stars Kubbra and Sumeet join the show as Mamie Ahuja and Ram Jethmalani, respectively. Angad portrays Nanavati’s lawyer Karl.

The digital drama starts streaming on ZEE5 30 September 2019 onwards.

In the meantime, watch Akshay Kumar’s 2016 film Rustom on ZEE5, based on the Nanavati scandal.

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