Akshay Kumar’s Rustom is scheduled to release on approximately 2,100 screens across India, despite its Box Office clash with Hrithik Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro.
The film is based on the 1959 Indian court case where commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati, a Naval Commander, was tried for the murder of Prem Ahuja, his wife’s lover. The incident received unprecedented media coverage and inspired several books and movies. commander Nanavati, accused under section 302, was initially declared not guilty by a jury under section 302 but the verdict was dismissed by the Bombay High Court and the case was retried as a bench trial. The case was the last to be heard as a jury trial in India, as the government abolished jury trials.
The incident both shocked and riveted the entire country. Such a crime of passion, as it was termed, was unusual, especially in the upper echelons of the society and that too by a highly decorated officer. People also found the unfolding relationships intriguing. For instance, Nanavati had known Ahuja for nearly 15 years and Sylvia stood by her husband after Ahuja’s murder.
Influential Parsis held regular rallies in Mumbai, with the largest being an event held at Cowasji Jehangir Hall, to support the Governor’s decree that suspended Nanavati’s life sentence and put him under naval custody, until his appeal was heard by the Supreme Court. At that rally, 3,500 people filled the hall and around 5,000 stood outside.Nanavati also received backing from the Indian Navy and the Parsi Panchayat, while the Sindhi community backed Mamie Ahuja. Among the jurists, Ram Jethmalani-led the prosecution, while Karl Khandavala represented Nanavati.