Nanavati case that inspired Akshay Kumar’s ‘Rustom’


Long in 1959, leader Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati, a Naval Commander, was striven for the homicide of Prem Ahuja, his significant other’s bea in a court case which got remarkable media scope and propelled a few books and films. Leader Nanavati, charged under area 302, was at first pronounced not liable by a jury under segment 302 but rather the decision was rejected by the Bombay High Court and the case was retried as a seat trial. The case was the last to be heard as a jury trial in India, as the legislature canceled jury trials. 

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Who was Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati and Sylvia 

Administrator Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati was a leader with the Indian Navy. He wedded English conceived Sylvia in 1931. They had two children and a little girl. With the way of his employment, Nanavati was every now and again away on assignments for drawn out stretches of time which is when Sylvia experienced passionate feelings for a companion of Nanavatis-Prem Bhagwan Ahuja. In any case, Sylvia, however enamored with Ahuja questioned his expectations to wed her even she had communicated yearning to separate Nanavati. She had specified in a letter dated 24 May 1958, she composed “The previous evening when you talked about your wedding and the different young ladies you may wed, something inside me snapped and I knew I couldn’t bear the thought about your adoring another person… “

The showdown

On April 27, 1959, when Nanavati returned home from one of his assignmentsm, he discovered Sylvia standoffish and removed which is the reason he doubted her. Sylvia, who now questioned Ahuja’s aim to wed her, admitted about the issue to her better half. Nanavati went to the Naval base, gathered his gun on a false guise from the stores alongside six cartridges, finished his official obligations and continued to Ahuja’s office. On not discovering him there went straight to his level. At Ahuja’s home, Nanavati stood up to him and asked him whether he proposed to wed Sylvia and acknowledge their youngsters. At Ahuja’s home, Nanavati asked him whether he planned to wed Sylvia and acknowledge their youngsters. Prem answered “Will I wed each lady I lay down with?” and Nanavati slaughtered him shooting three shots, says court records.

Nanavati then headed straight to confess to the Provost Marshal of the Western Naval Command and on his advice, turned himself in to the Deputy Commissioner of Police. The jury in the Greater Bombay Sessions court pronounced Nanavati as not guilty.

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The court case
The main argument of the case was whether Commander Nanavati shot Ahuja in the ‘heat of the moment’ or whether it was a premeditated murder. While Nanavati would be charged under culpable homicide, with a maximum punishment of 10 years, in the former scenario, he would be charged with murder in the latter situation, the sentence being death or life imprisonment. When asked by the judge, Nanavati pleaded not guilty in court. His lawyers argued it as a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, while the prosecution argued it was premeditated murder.

The verdict
The accused, K.M.Nanavati, was an upright, moral and patriotic person serving the country. There were all the evidences that he had committed murder after being provoked and had no economic benefits in it nor was he a career criminal. And he had willingly surrendered himself afterwards to the police. The case went to the Bombay High Court which agreed with the prosecution’s argument that the murder was premeditated and sentenced him to life imprisonment for culpable homicide amounting to murder. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction. Nanavati spent three years in prison. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, then governor of Maharashtra, pardoned Nanavati.

The incident both shocked and riveted the entire country. Influential Parsis held regular rallies in Mumbai, with the largest being an event held at Cowasji Jehangir Hall, to support the Governor’s decree that suspended Nanavati’s life sentence and put him under naval custody, until his appeal was heard by the Supreme Court. At that rally, 3,500 people filled the hall and around 5,000 stood outside. Nanavati also received backing from the Indian Navy and the Parsi Panchayat, while the Sindhi community backed Prem Ahuja’s sister Mamie Ahuja.

Movie similarities
The movie plot is based on the case where Rustom (Akshay Kumar) is a naval officer who married Cynthia (Illeana D’Cruz) against his father’s wishes. Vikram (Arjan Bajwa)’s role is based on Prem Ahuja while Esha Gupta plays his sister. Rustom is tried for murder in court, with defence and prosecution lawyers fighting it out. Akshay Kumar’s Rustom also uses the tagline ‘3 shots that shook the nation’ which was the headline used by tabloid Blitz which was championing Nanavati’s cause that had caught public imagination that a 25p copy was sold at Rs 2 in those times.