Akshay Kumar starrer Rustom which is based on the famous case of KM Nanavati, a Navy officer who was tried for the murder of his wife’s lover, is all set to release on August 12. The movie has already created buzz among the cinema lovers and specially the fans of Akshay Kumar whose Airlift and Housefull 3 did fantastic business on the box office.
Rustom is largely inspired from the famous case of KM Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra that changed the face of the Indian judicial system. On April 27 1959, Naval officer Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati shot his wife Sylvia’s lover Prem Ahuja with his service revolver. The case received unprecedented media coverage after which Nanavati, accused under section 302, was declared not guilty by the session court. However, the verdict was dismissed by the Bombay High Court and the case was retried as a bench trial. Nanavati was later convicted and sent to life imprisonment under Section 302 of the IPC. The Supreme Court too upheld the conviction.
Nanavati, however, garnered huge support from public, the Indian Navy and the Parsi community. Rallies were held on Bombay streets demanding pardoning of the convicted officer. Prem’s sister Mamie Ahuja was persuaded to forgive Nanavati. She gave her assent for his pardon in writing and Nanavati was released after spending three years in jail.
But Rustom is not the only Bollywood film to be based on the KM Nanavati case. Yeh Raste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963) starring Sunil Dutt and Leela Naidu, and Gulzar directed Achanak (1973) were based on the Nanavati case in 1973. Though Yeh raste Hain Pyar ke did average business, Achanak was a hit at the box office.
In Ye Raste Hain Pyar Ke, Sunil Dutt plays a pilot Anil Sahni who marries Neena (Leela Naidu) against his father’s wishes. However, when Anil is away on a trip, Neena falls in love with Anil’s friend Ashok (Rehman). When Anil comes to know about the affair, he confronts Ashok, who is killed in an ensuing scuffle. Anil is tried for murder in court. The movie also featrured veteran actor Ashok Kumar and Iftekhar.
In Gulzar’s Achanak, Vinod Khanna plays the character inspired by Nanavati while Lily Chakraborty is seen as his wife. The movie also featured Farida Jalal and Om Shivpuri in important roles. Iftekhar, who was also seen in Ye Raaste Hain Pyar Ke, played the role of a Colonel in Achanak. Even though Gulzar is an accomplished lyricist, Achanak did not have any songs in it.