ALT Balaji and Zee5’s latest release The Verdict - State V/S Nanavati based on the sensational ‘Nanavati Case’ created a stir amongst everyone, including the government, navy, judiciary and media during 1959. The series is now available for streaming on both the platforms.
The much-awaited series has a stellar cast including Manav Kaul, Sumeet Vyas, Elli Avram, Kubbra Sait, Angad Bedi, Saurabh Shukla, Pooja Gor, Makarand Deshpande. The series revolves around a decorated naval officer named Kawas Nanavati, who shot three bullets at a Sindhi businessman, Prem Ahuja, his wife’s lover, and surrendered to the Police later. What followed was the most sensational court case of all times, which led to the abolishment of jury trials in the country.
The series begins with India's top lawyer and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani (Sumeet Vyas) narrating the renowned Nanavati case to an aspiring writer. The series then shifts to the flashbacks when India was slowly embracing western culture focusing on a confession that changes the city dynamics.
Kawas Nanavati (Manav Kaul) shoots three bullets at his wife Sylvia Nanavati’s (Eli Avram) lover Prem Ahuja (Viraf Patel) and confesses before the Police. The real-life incident brought a plethora of perceptions and opinions, which changed the definition of right and wrong.
Karl Khandalvala (Angad Bedi) is a charming and cunning lawyer who is representing Nanavati in the court. Makrand Deshpande is the public prosecutor, playing a pawn at the hands of Jethmalani. Russi Karanjia (Saurabh Shukla), owner of a tabloid, Blitz, openly supports Nanavati, portraying him as victim and Ahuja as a womaniser. Vidya Joshi (Pooja Gor), is a rebel journalist, who can be seen advocating women’s rights and is constant support for Mamie Ahuja (Kubbra Sait).
The courtroom drama showcased several events from the 1959 case, from Jethmalani’s personal life to jury selection and how media minted money out of the case.
What did we like
The series brought together some of the finest actors from the industry, which created quite an impact. Speaking about performance, Sumeet perfectly pulled off young Jethmalani, Angad Bedi shined as he portrayed the smart and cunning lawyer. It was a pleasure to watch both Vyas and Bedi opposite each other. Pooja Gor’s part was unmissable, she did an impeccable job. Saurabh Shukla was amazing as always, his powerful dialogues were an add on. Apart from them, special mentions for Makrand Deshpande, Shruti Bapna, Swanand Kirkire and Avijit Dutt.
Though there have been a few cinematic versions of the case, The Verdict has managed to keep the facts intact. The colour palette, the backgrounds and lighting made the series visually appealing, giving all the vintage feel.
What we didn’t like
Viraf Patel was not introduced in the first four episodes while the entire story was woven around his death. Kubbra Sait, Elli Avaram and Manav Kaul’s characters were a bit disappointing as they were not fleshed out. Sumeet as 90 years old Jethmalani failed to impress.
The Verdict - State Vs. Nanavati is a delightful watch with an ensemble cast, strong narratives and a few impactful dialogues.
*** 1/2 (3.5 Stars)