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10 Facts about Nanavati Case: A murder that India never forgot

Three-bullets that shook the nation

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Akshay Kumar starrer Rustom was based on the Nanavati case. Bollywood country
Akshay Kumar starrer Rustom was based on the Nanavati case. Bollywood country

Nanavati vs State was a murder case which shook the nation. As Bombay Daily Blitz had quoted then ‘Three bullets that shook the nation’.

The background of a full story

An Indian Naval Officer, Kamas Maneckshaw Nanavati, was settled in Mumbai with his wife and two children. His work required him to be away from his home for long periods of time. Meanwhile, his wife got into an affair with his friend Prem Ahuja. Ahuja rejected Sylvia’s (Nanavati’s wife) wish to marry him.

Nanavati had shot three bullets on Ahuja. Pixabay
Nanavati had shot three bullets on Ahuja. Pixabay

When got to know, the Naval Officer was enraged (however, he did not show it). He proceeded to the Naval Docks, withdrawing his pistol. After which, he went to Ahuja’s flat and shot him.

The case had received mass media coverage. It has also inspired many books and films. Here are top 10 facts you should know about the Nanavati case.

1. Nanavati was initially declared not guilty by a jury.

Accused under section 302 (for murder), Nanavati was declared ‘not guilty’ by the jury, with an 8-1 vote. However, Bombay High Court dismissed the verdict and the case was continued by a bench.

2. Nanavati case is known to be among the last cases which were heard as jury trials.

After the Nanavati case, the Government of India abolished jury trials from the judicial system. However, for their Matrimonial Disputes, Parsis still have Jury Trials.

3. This case led to a dispute between Parsi and Sindhi communities.

Since Nanavati was Parsi, and Prem Ahuja Sindhi, this case had tensed the relations between the two communities.

Nanavati was backed by the Parsi community. Wikimedia commons
Nanavati was backed by the Parsi community. Wikimedia Commons

4. Vijaylakshmi Pandit, the then Governor of Bombay, had pardoned Nanavati.

Newly appointed Governor, Vijaylakshmi Pandit had received a mercy petition of Bhai Pratap. Bhai Pratap was a Sindhi. Vijaylakshmi Pandit had negotiated a truce between the two communities.

Saying Bhai Pratap could be pardoned, only after Nanavati was pardoned. This way both the communities got what they wanted.

5. Nanavati had left for Canada after the case.

Soon after Nanavati was pardoned by the Government, he left for Canada with his two children and wife. He was never heard of again. He is known to have died in 2003, while Sylvia is still alive.

6. Bombay Daily Blitz, a tabloid newspaper, had supported Nanavati overwhelmingly.

Throughout the trial, the newspaper which has not been published since the 90s had supported the cause of Nanavati. Its price was 25 paisa, however, the tabloid was being sold at 2 rupees per copy then.

The case was an onset of senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani. Wikimedia commons
The case was an onset of senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani. Wikimedia commons

7. The case was an onset of senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

A young lawyer then, Jethmalani, had assisted the prosecution at the request of Mamie Ahuja. He came into the limelight for the first time due to the case.

8. Nanavati was known to be an upright, moral and patriotic officer.

Nanavati had confessed the crime to Provost Marshal of the Western Naval Command. After which, he surrendered to the Deputy Commissioner of Police. He did not have any criminal history.

9. The case has inspired the modern-day film, Rustom.

It has also inspired other Bollywood movies, plays, and books. Some of them being Ye Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963), Achanak (1973) and The Death of Mr. Love (2002) which was written by Indra Sinha.

10. Rumors say Nanavati would not have killed Ahuja if he had accepted his offer to marry Sylvia.

Before shooting Ahuja, Nanavati had asked him if he would marry Sylvia and take care of the two children. Ahuja refused. Some say Nanavati had then deduced that Ahuja was using his wife and wasn’t ‘in love’ with her. Hence he shot Ahuja.

Next Story

Know How The Content Providers Seem To Have Decided To Capture The Attention Of Masses

There are voices that the OTT content should come under CBFC certification. It is reported that at the CBFC, while the films from big makers are cleared out of turn so that they can meet their scheduled release dates, makers of smaller films have to wait a long time for that kind favour from the censors?

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Usually, the films with family entertainment, RomComs or mildly plausible action films work (Salman Khan types). The religious and saas bahu family themes have been hijacked by television channels. Pixabay

By Vinod Mirani

When a fad invades India, it does so in hordes. May it be mobile manufacturers, car makers, and so on and so forth. But, now, we have a line-up of streaming content providers. They enjoy an open, unhindered run on your small screens.

Usually, the films with family entertainment, RomComs or mildly plausible action films work (Salman Khan types). The religious and saas bahu family themes have been hijacked by television channels. Presently, though suddenly, we are now into this genre called nationalism/patriotism and biopics. But, that market is flooded and all future announcements for forthcoming films seem to be on patriotism and biopics! Not long before the law of diminishing returns takes over.

In fact, this week’s release, Romeo Akbar Walter, may prove to be an indicator to that considering the lukewarm reception the film has got. The thing is, those people who want to watch these films, they are mainly available in cinema halls. These films would not be as much fun on a small smartphone/tablet screen, also known as Over The Top (OTT).

The content providers seem to have decided to capture the attention as well as the initial eyeballs through a nonconventional way; providing content which is not available on cinema screens. That is to majorly deliver content that is morbid, gory, semi pornographic, drugs and all those things that are repulsive to a normal entertainment seeker and the family audience. Now this is the content designed for personal viewing with no one else watching over your shoulder!

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The CBFC does not work on precedents. Does not matter that a number of films, Hollywood as well as Indian with lengthier kissing scenes, have been passed with UA certificate! There is no consistency in policy. Pixabay

The target viewer is the youth and the purpose is to change their taste and preferences. Indian, Spanish, Mexican, all the content that I scanned through had gore, sex, and all that as common as well as the dominant factors. While providing such content, there are also some decent features but not enough yet.

But, how long can this trend last? There was an era when Malayalam films with a lot of titillation and suggestive sex were dubbed in Hindi language and, for the interior audience, interpolation was a regular practice as explicit sex scenes from porn films were added. They worked for a while but faded soon.

So, the issue is, while the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) makes all kinds of demands from a feature film producer before his/her film is approved for public exhibition, this morbid mobile OTT streaming goes unchecked! The CBFC, in fact, has become the moral guardian of the Indian moviegoer; one to check on its ethics and morals!

Pahlaj Nihalani, the recent past Chairman of the CBFC, asked to delete a kissing scene from a Bond film from some 15 seconds to six seconds. Isn’t that ridiculous considering that Nihalani in real life can’t finish a sentence without adding a couple of BCs and MCs no matter if women or kids are around! Is it possible that a single panel member of the examining committee of CBFC, who watches films to rate them, has never watched an illicit porn film? And, to think that these people think a film is kosher only for six seconds, not 15! Do this politically connected panel members really qualify to sit in judgement over what the people should watch? That has been an eternal debate.

The CBFC does not work on precedents. Does not matter that a number of films, Hollywood as well as Indian with lengthier kissing scenes, have been passed with UA certificate! There is no consistency in policy. As is the wont of Indians, a seat of authority robs them of logic. It is a high to be able to judge others, especially when in an official position. As a rule, this lot found fault with every film presented for clearing. For example, the examining committee suggested 14 cuts to a children-oriented film, Mr India, in 1980. I can quote numerous such examples.

But, the issue is about parity. That is to say, while almost all other mediums are free of a watchdog, why are films censored? Why not OTT content? Come to think of it, what does the ‘power’ that the CBFC panel members and the Chairman
amount to when a motely mob negates their certification and blocks a film? Padmaavat, Manikarnika and so many other examples.

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Also, considering every other so-called group or organization or a community can ignore CBFC clearance and block a film’s release, the Board means nothing. And, this despite the highest court order ages back that the CBFC is the ultimate authority on cinema content! Pixabay

Coming back to streaming content and films, how come the film, PM Narendra Modi, is denied even the courtesy of a screening for the examining committee yet while the streaming episodes on the same subject, Modi, are already on people’s mobiles? So, how is the CBFC and Censor Certificate relevant anymore when a biopic on a person is blocked indefinitely while the same subject OTT platform, Modi: Journey Of A Common Man, produced by Eros Now, has already started streaming?

There are voices that the OTT content should come under CBFC certification. It is reported that at the CBFC, while the films from big makers are cleared out of turn so that they can meet their scheduled release dates, makers of smaller films have to wait a long time for that kind favour from the censors? In that case, suppose OTT content had to pass through censors, what would be the scene? Would it be the Amazon and Netflix that will get priority or a score of others who apply? After all, big shots get priority! Imagine the chaos that can follow. A 30-minute episode can end up
being chopped off to 15 minutes and the second episode of a series may appear weeks after the previous one!

Also, considering every other so-called group or organization or a community can ignore CBFC clearance and block a film’s release, the Board means nothing. And, this despite the highest court order ages back that the CBFC is the ultimate authority on cinema content! Something needs to be set right in the Cinematograph Act. To start with, the word Digital Content, should be made part of the Act.

@The Box Office
*The latest release, a highly promoted film, Junglee, just about manages to stay afloat. With a meagre opening day collections of three crore, it managed a face-saving weekend of around 13 crore. The film had a tapering effect at the box office with the start of the new week and closed its first week with a total of over 19 crore.

*The other release of the week, Salman Khan’s production, Notebook, failed to make its mark. With an opening weekend of Rs 2.3 crore, it had a low opening week figures of Rs four crore.

Also Read: Cambodia Approves Hydropower Dam, Solar Energy Plant to Meet Electricity Demand

*Akshay Kumar carries Kesari on his popularity though a regional subject with a limited appeal, it collects Rs 19 crore for its second weekend and Rs 30 crore for its second week taking its two week tally to Rs 135 crore.

*Badla has collected Rs 5.3 crore in its fourth week to take its four week total to Rs 79.3 crore. (IANS)