'Rustom': Here's the real story of Naval Officer Nanavati who killed his wife's lover!
After seeing the trailer of Akshay Kumar's upcoming film 'Rustom', that is based on true events, you must be curious to know the real incident that inspired the film. You will be surprised to know that the famous 1959 KM Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra case shook the country and the entire judicial system. The case that had inspired many Bollywood films, is about an extra-marital affair that triggered a murder.
The trailer of the film, which will be released on August 12, has generated huge curiosity. But, before you watch the film, here is the actual case of Indian Naval Officer Kamas Maneckshaw Nanavati who killed his wife's lover, and still managed to walk out of the jail a free man. The system declared him not guilty. Read on to know why!
The Nanavati's case became very popular (maybe due to the angle of extra-marital affair linked to it) and the trial of the murder invited unprecedented media coverage. The killer garnered huge public sympathy because of the scenario in which the murder was committed. Mr. Ram Jethmalani, a noted lawyer, stepped into the spotlight for the first time because of this case.
The real story:
The Indian Naval Officer, Kamas Maneckshaw Nanavati was settled in Mumbai after marrying English-born Sylvia in 1931. The couple had two sons and a daughter and were living happily. But, Nanavati's work assignments needed him to be away from his family most of the time. This led his wife Sylvia to get involved in an affair with his friend Prem Bhagwandas Ahuja.
Sylvia wanted to divorce Nanavati and marry Ahuja, and thus confessed the same to Nanavati. Nanavati was enraged, but didn't show it. On the day of the incident (April 27, 1959), he dropped his family at a theater for a movie, but excused himself. He then went to the Naval base, took his gun and headed straight to Ahuja's residence. While confronting Ahuja, Nanavati asked him whether he would marry Sylvia and accept their kids? Answering his question, Ahuja replied "Will I marry every woman I sleep with?"
Nanavati shot him dead, as per the court's records and confessed his crime. Since the case was quite unusual, the main disputation was whether Nanavati shot Ahuja in the "heat of the moment" or if it was a planned murder.
Since Nanavati was serving the country and was very patriotic, it helped him in garnering huge sympathy. Apart form that, he had no criminal records and he had willingly surrendered himself. These gesture worked in his favor and the Bombay session court declared him not guilty under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
However, the case was sent to the Bombay High Court, which agreed that the murder was planned and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Later, when the case reached to the Supreme Court, it upheld the conviction.
But Nanavati had huge support and sympathy from the public, Indian Navy and the Parsi community in particular. Large public gathering were held with a demand to pardon the convicted officer. Ahuja's sister Mamie Ahuja, who was fighting for his brother, was ultimately made to forgive Nanavati. Eventually, she sent her forgiveness in writing and then Nanavati was released.
Nanavati spent around three years in jail and after getting out of the prison, he shifted to Canada with his wife Sylvia and three kids. Nanavati died in 2003, while his wife Sylvia is still alive.