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Jury’s out on The Verdict

A new web show The Verdict: State vs Nanavati is based on the 1959 KM Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra case

By Ushnota Paul

  • Published 28.09.19, 6:13 PM
  • Updated 28.09.19, 6:13 PM
The series has all the elements to keep the premise interesting — jealousy, murder, political and courtroom drama — but it does fall short somewhere.
The series has all the elements to keep the premise interesting — jealousy, murder, political and courtroom drama — but it does fall short somewhere. Film poster

A new web show The Verdict: State vs Nanavati, based on the 1959 KM Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra case, is set to stream on Zee5 & ALTBalaji from Monday. The Telegraph caught the first three episodes at a special screening ahead of the release.

Starring Manav Kaul, Elli Avram, Sumeet Vyas, Kubbra Sait, Makrand Deshpande, Saurabh Shukla, Soni Razdan and Angad Bedi, the series deals with the real-life case of Indian Naval Command Officer Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati who was accused of firing three bullets and killing businessman Prem Ahuja for having an extramarital affair with his wife, Sylvia Nanavati.

Akshay Kumar’s Rustom, co-starring Ileana D’Cruz and Arjan Bajwa, was loosely based on this case, but unlike the 2016 film, the upcoming show presents the facts and keeps the names intact.

Sumeet Vyas, playing (now deceased) top lawyer Ram Jethmalani, narrates the story in flashback. Vyas goes all out in emulating Jethmalani — bushy eyebrows, stooped walking, dry humour et al — but looks unconvincing as a man aged above 90 years in some parts. Case in point, his deep voice.

But he is a delight to watch as the young Jethmalani, the strapping young and smart lawyer.

Manav Kaul as the beloved and honest naval commander Kawas Nanavati, Kubbra Sait as the bereaved sister Mamie Ahuja and Saurabh Shukla as the editor of tabloid Blitz Russi Karanjia, also slip into their roles with ease.

Makrand Deshpande, playing public prosecutor Chandu Trivedi, looks completely different in those dark-rimmed black glasses, thin moustache and a short haircut, and is a delight to watch.

The series has all the elements to keep the premise interesting — jealousy, murder, political and courtroom drama — but it does fall short somewhere. There are places the dialogues don’t pack enough punch and the pace falters but the acting makes up for it.

One of the leading players — Prem Ahuja (Viraf Patel) does not really make an entrance in the first three episodes — barring Ahuja being shot by Nanavati — as the show takes its time to build the character arcs. We hope the subsequent episodes pick up pace and leave us with a far more riveting watch.

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