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Discussion in 'Theatre, Movies & Cinema' started by ashdoc, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc India
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    Movie Critic SPNer

    Jul 19, 2011
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    This is a film on the sensational real life case that occurred in Mumbai ( the city was then called Bombay ) in 1959 , where a commander of the Indian navy shot dead the man who was having an affair with his wife . The navy officer was K M Nanavati and his wife was an Englishwoman---her name was Sylvia . They had three children . Due to Nanavati's long absences while on duty on the high seas his wife used to feel lonely and fell in love with Nanavati's friend Prem Ahuja and they had a passionate affair . Prem ( Prem ironically means love in many Indian languages ) had other girlfriends and Sylvia felt acutely jealous of them as she was deeply in love with Prem . She wanted to divorce her husband and marry Prem but Prem Ahuja was a philanderer---he refused to marry her , leaving her distraught . Deeply disturbed , one night she confessed about the affair to Nanavati who was so shocked and hurt by the confession that he wanted to shoot himself dead . On being calmed by Sylvia , Nanavati dropped her and their children to Metro theatre for a movie as the parents had promised the children a movie treat . Then Nanavati went to confront Prem , but not before he had gone to the naval base to get a pistol . He asked Prem to marry Sylvia and accept their children . Prem refused . Angered by this Nanavati shot Prem Ahuja dead and surrendered himself to the police .

    The ensuing case brought to confrontation two rich business communities of Bombay who were both refugees from other lands---the Parsi community to which Nanavati belonged were people of the Zoroastrian religion who came from Iran centuries ago , and the Sindhi community to which Prem Ahuja belonged were more recent Hindu refugees from Pakistan . Parsis made huge demonstrations to free Nanavati . He was publicised as the upholder of the asian concept of honour and the killing was presented as upholding family values and honour . The fact that Nanavati had given Ahuja the chance to marry his wife , that he still wanted to spend the rest of his life with his wife inspite of her perfidies , the fact that his wife now stood by him , the fact that he had surrendered immediately to the police---all this was presented as proof of his high moral character and upbringing . A Parsi owned newspaper ( The Blitz ) ran a passionate campaign to free Nanavati . This tilted popular opinion in favour of freeing him . The jury was influenced by this and voted to free Nanavati . But this was not accepted by the court . Jury decided trials were banned in India and remain banned till date . Nanavati was given life imprisonment . But public opinion stoked by the Blitz newspaper was not ready to accept this . Finally three years later Prem Ahuja's sister was induced to ask for a pardon for Nanavati , in return for freeing a Sindhi man also---this to placate the powerful Sindhi community which was baying for Nanavati's blood . After he was freed , Nanavati and Sylvia remained together but migrated to Canada to escape the repercussions of the scandal . Nanavati died in 2003 while Sylvia is still alive today .

    Coming to the movie , it shows a large part of this and is good when showing the real life events . The first half of the movie holds your attention with some good scenes and decent acting , but the movie meanders and is too longish after the interval / intermission .
    Begins to falter when it adds an angle of Nanavati ( he is called Rustom in the movie ) unearthing corruption in a military deal of buying an aircraft carrier from Britain , and then unexplicably and unconvincingly protecting the officers involved . The prosecuting lawyer ( Sachin Khedekar ) acts in too melodramatic a manner and so does sister of the murdered person ( Esha Gupta ) . They are too loud in their overacting . On the other hand Ileana D'Cruz acts well as Cynthia---as Sylvia is called in the film . She looks so sweet and delicate and vulnerable . Akshay Kumar is okay as Rustom / Nanavati . Obviously his patriotism is hyped to the maximum extent in the movie---he was a volunteer to the navy not a conscript . Some real fun is added by the comical performance of the editor of the Blitz , who sits in the court every day to influence the proceedings of the trial—to the extent that he is jailed by court order on several occasions ; not a real life event but a cinematic liberty taken by the director . Also comic is the performance of the maid of Rustom’s house , who pointblank asks the judge what he would do to his wife’s lover if he caught them cheating !! Songs and music are good and sentimental---appropriate for the situation . Overall the film can be called as a decent watch , but not too fantastic .

    But women are liking the movie a lot more than men as they have liked the fact that Rustom / Nanavati is shown to be deeply caring about his wife even after her affair with another man , and chooses to live with her after all the saga . Also he is shown to be protective about her even during the trial , seeing to it that her named is not dragged in the mud in any way . Generally he is shown to be a strong proponent of women's dignity and honour throughout the movie---a smart move by the director , which may yield rich dividends at the box office in the coming days .

    Verdict---Decent .
    #1 ashdoc, Aug 15, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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