MUMBAI—Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati, one of India’s brightest Naval Commanders, the blue-eyed boy of the powers-that-were, and the pride of the Parsi community, was about to be the next Naval Chief.
In 1949, he returned from England with a passion for Western music and his English bride, Sylvia Nanavati. They settled in Mumbai and had a family with three children. In 1959, he returned home from the high seas to discover his wife’s betrayal. What he did after that set a maelstrom rolling, in which the most powerful political figures, the topmost media, naval top-brass, and the brightest legal brains got involved. Then began a war of opinions, morals, and communities triggering off a case that divided India!
This story was dramatized in the 1960s on screen by R.K. Nayyar for producer-actor Sunil Dutt as “Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke.” In 2016, producer Neeraj Pandey revived interest with the successful “Rustom” featuring Akshay Kumar. And now, producer Ekta Kapoor’s ALTBalaji brings the story back as “The Verdict - State Vs. Nanavati,” set to stream soon, with Manav Kaul as the Parsi commander.
“This show is based on true events and facts and reference to plots, incidents and people shall be made. Any diversion or error is completely unintentional. We do not intend to be disrespectful to Indian Judiciary, Indian naval forces, community, religious sentiments or beliefs of any person,” claimed ALTBalaji in a press release.
Elli AvrRam plays Sylvia Nanavati in the film. Having settled in her husband’s country, Sylvia devoted her days to being a perfect mother to her three children. But Kawas was mostly away, and she fell in love again! Only this time, it led to a murder. Society judged her for crossing the line while the nation debated the most controversial judicial case in its history.
The trailer has just been dropped by the OTT platform and the stellar cast includes Angad Bedi, Sumeet Vyas, Kubbra Sait, Makrand Deshpande, Saurabh Shukla, Swanand Kirikire and Viraf Ashish Patel among others in this 10-episode series.
Said Kaul, “I wouldn’t call it a challenge: it’s exciting as there are several other talented people who are part of the project. It’s extremely intriguing to work on this story.”
But Elli AvrRam called the experience “The best in my life so far because for the first time I felt like I was living an actor’s life. I went so deep into the character by isolating myself from the world. I felt Sylvia 24/7. My environment and music list was according to that era. I colored my hair a lighter shade and worked on my body language and British English accent to keep it as authentic as possible. Everyone was so professional. The words that will keep echoing in my life is of my director Shashant (Shah)-sir, who before every take, said, ‘Keep it real guys. Action!’ Sylvia is a very vulnerable character, and it’s the first time I’ve got to play all kinds of emotions, even of a mother and a wife, which is something I’ve never been in real life. Words are not enough to describe how grateful I am to have got this opportunity.”
Angad Bedi said, “This will be my most memorable role till date. I am extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity to play a real personality on screen and that of such a high magnitude. My gratitude to Ekta for putting her faith in me and backing me at all times. The audience will see me in a different look and in an all-new avatar.”
Directed by Shashant Shah, the series follows the trial of Nanavati, who shot three bullets from his revolver at a businessman and later confessed his crime to the police. The judgment passed remains a landmark in the annals of Indian law. Shah was earlier known for his 2011 quasi-masterpiece, “Chalo Dilli.”
Watch the trailer here.