While the supercool look of Akshay Kumar as a naval officer stirs interest among his fans, the story line itself is very much exciting.
The movie is largely inspired from the famous 1959 case of KM Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra that has changed the face of the Indian judicial system.
‘Rustom’ is slated to release on August 12. But before that we are focusing on the real story behind the movie.
“Truth is Stranger than Friction” – this proverb fits perfect to this case.
On the fateful night of April 29, 1959, K.M. Nanavati shot three bullets from point blank range on Prem Ahuja with his service revolver. Nanavati’s wife Sylvia had an affair with Prem and on finding the truth, went straight to Prem’s house. He asked Prem to marry Sylvia and adopt their children. But the latter denied the condition which compelled Nanavati to take the ultimate decision to murder him.
The case was extensively covered by media especially by magazine Blitz and it is also touted to be one of the first cases of ‘media trial’ in India.
Charged under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, Nanavati was first acquitted of all charges by the session’s court. But, the Bombay High Court later dismissed the verdict and transferred the case for bench trail.
Who are Nanavati and Sylvia?
Nanavati was a parsi man by birth and a naval officer who married English-born Sylvia in the year 1931. The couple had two sons and a daughter and they were settled in Mumbai. Nanavati’s job demanded him to be away from home most of the time, which allegedly gave the window to Sylvia to have an extra marital relationship with friend Prem Bhagwandas Ahuja.
Prem had promised to marry Sylvia but later she discovered that he was involved with other women too.
Day of Crime
Nanavati returned from the naval assignment he found Sylvia little depressed. When he asked the reason, Sylvia confessed about her intimate relationship with Prem. Saddened with the confession, Nanvati dropped Sylvia and their two children to a Cinema House and went straight to Prem’s residence. He confronted him there and questioned him if he intended to marry Sylvia.
To which Prem replied “Will I marry every woman I sleep with?” On hearing his Nanavati killed him firing three shots, says court records.
The main argument in the court was whether Nanvati shot dead Prem in the heat of the moment or was it a planned murder. Nanvati pleased not guilty in the court. His lawyers persuaded that it was culpable homicide while the prosecution argued it was premeditated murder.
Bombay session court pronounced him not guilty and acquitted him from all the charges, since he was a patriot who served the country, had no criminal background and he willingly surrendered to the police.
However, later Bombay High Court accepted the prosecution’s version that it was a premeditated murder and sentenced him for life time imprisonment.
Twist in the case:
Nanavati, despite being declared guilty by the court, garnered huge support from the public, Parsi community and Indian Navy. Media too played a role in creating a positive image for Nanavati.
Rallies were held demanding release of Nanvati. Moreover, Prem’s sister was compelled to forgive Nanavati. She gave the pardon in writing following which Nanavati was released from jail after three years.
Where is Nanavati at present?
After his release, Nanavati settled to Canada with his wife Sylvia and three children. He died in the year 2003.
Rustom not the first movie
Before Rustom, the Nanavati case was brought to the silver screen in 1973 by Director Gulzar. He made a film titled ‘Achanak’, starring Vinod Khanna, Lily Chakravarty, and Om Shivpuri .