ALTBalaji’s latest The Verdict – State Vs Nanavati is based on the landmark case of Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra (1959) which not only abolished jury trials, but also saw communities rooting for the victim and the accused. It also saw media playing a crucial role in shaping the narrative of the case.
Narrated by Ram Jethmalani (Sumeet Vyas), the story unfolds in flashback when a decorated Naval Commander Kawas Nanavati (Manav Kaul) comes back home after being away and he finds his wife Sylvia Nanavati (Elli Avrram) acting distant. On finding out that Prem Ahuja (Viraf Patel) is the reason for this, he heads to Prem’s house and fires three bullets at him, instantly killing him. The house servants hear shots being fired. Kawas surrenders to the police.
The trial turns out to be more social and political than a legal one. Not only does prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru get involved, but also the Indian defence minister to protect the honour of the navy and the men in uniform in general. A high-powered lawyer Karl Khandalvala (Angad Bedi) is appointed for Kawas Nanavati and Chandu Trivedi (Makrand Deshpande) and later Ram Jethmalani for Prem Ahuja. Blitz Editor Russi Karanjia (Saurabh Shukla) plays a crucial role during the case in favour of Nanavati and Prem’s sister Mamie Ahuja (Kubbra Sait) leaves no stone unturned in getting the desired verdict.
The jury is selected and when they give a non-unanimous Not Guilty verdict that the judge does not agree with, the case is transferred to the High Court. The series does not end with the verdict, but shows how the case becomes a movement to ensure justice prevails, despite certain parties putting their might into getting a result desirable to them.
What’s Wow: Saurabh Shukla, Makrand Deshpande and Sumeet Vyas are a delight to watch. The unmistakable power of journalism to shape the public perception shines through the series. The focus keeps switching between the grief-stricken families, courtroom drama and the political gameplay, not letting the ball drop at any point. The writers have done their best to ensure freshness in a story that isn’t being told to the Indian viewer for the first time.
What’s Blah: Sumeet Vyas as the old Ram Jethmalani is a bit unconvincing.
Parting Shot: The courtroom drama is a decent weekend watch!
Cast & Crew:
Cast: Manav Kaul (Kawas Nanavati), Elli Avrram (Sylvia Nanavati), Sumeet Vyas (Ram Jethmalani), Angad Bedi (Karl Khandalvala), Saurabh Shukla (Russi Karanjia), Makrand Deshpande (Chandu Trivedi), Soni Razdan (Mehra Nanavati), Swanand Kirkire (Judge R.B Mehta), Kubbra Sait (Mamie Ahuja), Viraf Patel (Prem Ahuja)
Concept: Ekta Kapoor
Director: Shashant Shah
Editor: Yasha Ramchandani, Hemanth Kumar
Writers: Pooja Tolani, Rahul Patel
Series Creative Director: Subhash Kapoor
Watch the trailer here :