ALTBalaji and ZEE5’s latest series The Verdict- State Vs Nanavati deals with the sensational court case of 1959, which revolved around a decorated Indian Naval officer Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati who walked into the Mumbai home of his businessman friend and wife’s lover, Prem Ahuja, and fired three gunshots at him. Following the incident, he surrendered to the Mumbai police. The case looked simple, but it kept Bombay on its toes for almost three years.
In an exclusive interview with Thestatesman.com, one of the star cast, Angad Bedi opened up on the Nanavati’s case and the perspective of lawyers in the show.
The Verdict – State vs Nanavati is based on a crime of passion. What was it like to be a part of such a show?
It was a wonderful experience. I always wished to work with Shubhash Kapoor who has given some good courtroom films including Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2, Phas Gaye Re Obama. The Verdict – State vs Nanavati has given me that opportunity to work with him. It has also given me a chance to form a great equation and a relationship with Ekta Kapoor. For me, she is one of the best producers we have in our country who really care about passion and talent, and also supports not just actors but various technicians.
Before this happened, all my projects have been commercial including Tiger Zinda Hai, Inside edge and The Zoya Factor. The only non-commercial and well-received project was Pink, so I wanted to be in a position where I can push myself as an actor and The Verdict made it possible. Also, it was a pleasure working with star casts like Manav Kaul, Sumeet Vyas, Makrand Deshpande, Soni Razdan, Saurabh Shukla, Kubbra Sait and many others who are just phenomenal actors. For me, the base of performance is acting and that’s where I want to reach.
Having movies like Achanak, Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke, and Rustom, which is based on the same historic case of Parsi naval commander Kawas Nanavati, what made you opt for such a show and why do you think people will watch it?
There are so many films based on similar stories but are made in different forms by different people in the same space. In The Verdict – State vs Nanavati, the story is the same but the perspective is entirely different. When Rustom happened, it was based on Akshay Kumar’s (Rustom Pavri ) perspective but the show will tell you the outlook of three lawyers i.e. Ram Jethmalani, Chandu Trivedi, and Karl Khandalavala.
Also, the way series has been shot and shown in the 1950s era is completely different. Everyone knows the story but at the same level, there is a certain gravity that has shown which has great connectivity with the audience.
How are you maximizing the appeal of the show?
It is overwhelming. As of now, the rating on IMDb is 9.3 which is phenomenal. The way the series has been shot and the characters have performed is something that is enticing the audience. Also, the editing being so crisp and edgy is also appealing to the masses. Usually, the Indian audience is obsessed with drama which they will get to see in the series.
Being a lawyer (Karl JamshedKhandalavala) in the series, how will you justify the Indian legal system in terms of Nanavati’s case?
I am not trying to justify the system. I have purely worked on the demand of the script. But, then the comparisons are drawn which is actually good. Especially, in Nanavati’s scenario, we have tried to project what has happened in that fateful accident. ‘Three gunshots were fired, there was a dead body’ but how did that case move forward and why did this one man walk away freely. There are various aspects to it. We did that as a part of the screenplay so we just cannot take a court beyond that to discuss what is right or wrong. But, at the same time, I think the Indian legal system is doing their job very well.
Your character has some dark shades too, does it?
No, my character doesn’t have dark shades at all. Considering Pink where Mr.Bachchan has asked some pertinent questions in Pink, but that doesn’t mean his character was dark. I think, this character is just doing its job. Karl Jamshed Khandalavala is the person who has never lost a case in his life but then he is going to ask those questions in the courtroom because he wants to win the case. It’s just a set up to what is supposed to come in front of all. In fact, he is the guy who has stood up and fought for Sylvia and for the woman’s right in a world where there was chauvinism to the highest extent and where men used to mistreat women and not consider them as equal. He is the only man who stood by Sylvia Nanavati and won the case. He started to fight for Kawas but he realised that everyone was making her the villain and then started to fight for her wife Sylvia.
What are your upcoming projects?
Now, I have Inside Edge 2 coming up. I am really looking forward to it because that is one role that I love portraying. Then, I have a film with Jhanvi Kapoor titled Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. As of now, we have a March 13th release.