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Monday, July 16, 2018

Behind the Black Coat

This was the landmark judgment for the 26/11 attacks case where prime accused Ajmal Kasab was convicted.

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: May 21, 2013 2:36:57 am

Upcoming Marathi film Aadesh recreates the tense courtroom drama before the 26/11 judgment and the man who pronounced it

There is hushed silence before the judgment for one of the most important cases in Indian history is announced. As the judge dramatically strikes the gavel and pronounces,“to be hanged till death”,there is an uproar in the courtroom. This was the landmark judgment for the 26/11 attacks case where prime accused Ajmal Kasab was convicted. Now,almost five years later,this thrilling courtroom scene will be relived in the upcoming Marathi film,Aadesh.

Directed by Pune-based filmmaker Svaddan Angrre,the film will revolve around the life of the much-in-news special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. “Several films have been made on the famous cases in India. But they always focus on the cop,gangster or victim. No one really looks at the man behind the black coat,” says Angrre,who started off as a cast coordinator to assist Ketan Mehta during the film,The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (2005). Aadesh is his first solo project.

Nikam’s resume is enviable. In 1994,he handled the Mumbai bomb blasts case,followed by sensational murder trials of music baron Gulshan Kumar and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan. “But the biggest case that Nikam handled is undoubtedly the 26/11 case. The film begins with Kasab’s conviction and then follows four of his cases,in a series of flashbacks,” says Angrre,who is also playing the lead role in the film. “I have used a narrative style in the movie,which begins with the central character talking to a journalist about his life,” he says,adding that the film is to be released in September.

But how did the legal eagle react to a film being made on his life? Angrre says sheepishly,“At first Nikam sir wasn’t too enthusiastic about it. But when we explained the premise and the script of the film,he gave in.” Angrre also explains that he met Nikam several times to understand his perspective and get a closer look at the man who has handled several sensational cases in his career.

“Nikam sir was kind enough to give us his inputs and thoughts about several cases,” says Angrre,adding that since the film is in Marathi,the premise of Aadesh will be limited to four of Nikam’s noted cases in Maharashtra — the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts,the 2006 Kherlanji massacre,the cooperative societies scam and the 26/11 trial.

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