Shah Rukh Khan
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While Akshay Kumar switches to top gear in the promotions of his next film Rustom, we look into how Bollywood has so far taken to the fascinating story of KM Nanavati, the case which shook the Indian legal system down to its roots. The incident that took place in 1958 saw a decorated navy officer shooting his wife’s lover and then almost getting away with it. The case was the reference point for the decision to abolish the jury in our legal system, leaving the power to take decisions entirely with the judge.
Needless to say that incident has inspired many storytellers.
Presented by Neeraj Pandey, Rustom is the story of a navy man who shot his wife’s lover. The trailer, which has generated a lot of buzz borrows a actual headline from the now-defunct Blitz – ‘Three Shots That Shook The Nation’. This film, by far, looks the closest to life adaptation of the real life incident.
Akshay Kumar steps in the characters of Rustom Pavri, which is based on KM Nanavati. The wife is played by Ileana D’Cruz and the paramour is played by Arjan Bajwa.
Directed by RK Nayyar, Yeh Raastey Hai Pyar Ke featured Sunil Dutt as the leading man. This was also Sunil Dutt’s debut production. Dutt played the navy officer and Leela Naidu played the wife. In an aberration from the real case, the wife dies in this film and the husband is pronounced ‘not guilty’.
The film did not do well at the box office.
A decade later, the story refused to die down. This time it was Gulzar who taken in by the possibilities of making a film inspired by the Nanavati case. His film however had major differences in terms of characters and outcome.
The film’s protagonist, an army officer, was played by Vinod Khanna. The wife, played by Lily Chakravorty, has an affair with the husband’s best friend. There is a lot more added to the story, which finally ends with the protagonist being sentenced to be hung till death. Achanak did pretty well commercially and was declared a hit. Gulzar also earned a nomination for Best Director for the film.
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