By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS) Actor Viraf Firoz Patel finds it quite poetic that, being a Parsi, he gets to portray the Sindhi businessman who was allegedly killed by the Parsi Naval officer KM Nanavati, in the upcoming web series “The Verdict: State vs Nanavati”.
Parsis as a community are a small minority of the Indian population. The story of the show is based on the real-life case of 1959 — KM Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra — where Indian Naval Commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati was accused of the murder of a Sindhi businessman, Prem Ahuja. Viraf plays Prem Ahuja.
Asked how he looks at the whole incident, Viraf told IANS: “The Parsi community is not really altruistic. They are trying to save the reputation of their community, as well as the reputation of the country. In this particular case, that is what they tried to achieve. Kawas Nanavati came from an affluent household. There was a sense of entitlement in the upbringing and also the fact that he was one of the finest officers of the Indian Navy, that he did pick up the gun at a point of rage to kill someone. But here is the irony — It is a very poetic thing that a Parsi guy (himself) is assigned to narrate the character of a Sindhi man who is killed by a Parsi! The moment this realisation crossed my mind, I found it poetic. I had a smile on my face, on the poetry of fate.”
Created and developed by Ekta Kapoor, the show features Manav Kaul, Elli AvrRam, Sumeet Vyas, Makrand Deshpande, Soni Razdan, Saurabh Shukla among others.
The story of Nanavati is well known, and the Akshay Kumar film “Rustom” has already narrated the incident on screen. Won’t the show come across as a sort of repetition?
“When the script was offered to me, the question that came to my mind was why were we even doing the show because ‘Rustom’ was quite successful. I said I would audition for the role, and read all the episodes to get a clear idea. From the beginning, I was sure I would not repeat anything that has been done already,” he said.
Emphasising on how the show intends to focus on the complexity of the whole situation, the actor said: “We human beings are complex. Society tends to condition our mind and simplify everything by putting the tags of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and then we manipulate situations accordingly. This show tries putting all aspects on the table.”
The show has tried to capture the story by exploring the involvement of various characters in the case in a nuanced manner.
According to the actor, a film has the limitation of time and format that often needs the story to be oversimplified. In case of this story, this could leads to the overlooking of certain aspects that may be instrumental in the court decision.
“Yes, there is evidence that Prem Ahuja was a womaniser, but he was also in love with Sylvia and wanted to marry her. These possibilities added complexity to the character of Prem Ahuja,” he added.
“The Verdict: State vs Nanavati” will start streaming on the OTT platforms ZEE5 and AltBalaji from September 30.