Author: chahat garg

University Institute Of Law, PU Regional Center Ludhiana.


Movie: Rustom

Director: Tinu Suresh Desai

Release Date: 12 August 2016


This movie is inspired from the landmark case of KM Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra (1959) after which our judicial system changed. The movie is based on true incident. It is concerned with the murder of man who was involved in a affair with Naval officer wife. The role of Nanavati, the Naval officer is potray by Akshay kumay (Rustom Pavri), the role of Nanavati wife, Sylvia, is played by Ileana D’Cruz (Cynthia) and the role of Prem Ahuja, Sylvia lover is played by Arjan Bajwa (Vikram Makhija).


The story begins with the marriage of Rustom and Cynthia in 1931. Due to the Rustom being away most of the time for his naval assignments, Cynthia fall in love with his friend Vikram who agreed to marry her provided she divorced the Rustom. However she found that Vikram is being involve with other girls too. When, on 27 April 1959, Rustom returned home from one of his assignments and found out about love affair of Cynthia and Vikram makhija. He went to collected his gun to naval office and then to Makhija’s house. When Vikram Makhija deny to marry Rustom wife by giving the statement “Do I have to marry every women that I sleep with”, Rustom shot him thrice and surrender himself to police. Now the question arose whether he was guilty under culpable homicide or intentional Murder as in former he was charged with 10 year punishment, in latter he was charged with life imprisonment or death sentence. Earlier he was accused under Section 302 of IPC but declared not guilty by session court of Bombay. But then the case went to the Bombay High court which agreed with the prosecution charges of culpable homicide under Section 299 and sentenced him to the life imprisonment. Later the case went to Supreme Court and it held the same conviction.


As discussed above, Rustom was first convicted by the session court where jury decided his case and by the 8:1 it is declared that he is not guilty for any crime. After this verdict of jury in sensational murder of a man by a naval officer in 1959 the jury system was abolished in India although the jury trials still continue in the cases of matrimonial issues. Further this case went to the Bombay High court on the appeal of Vikram Makhija sister played by (Esha gupta) and they found Rustom not guilty under section 302 of IPC that is Murder. However during deciding this case there is a conflict between the judges and at the end Bombay High Court with the prosecution’s argument the murder was intentional and sentenced Rustom to life imprisonment for Culpable homicide under section 307 amounting to murder. Later, on the day 24 November 1961, the Supreme Court held the same conviction. He served 3 years in imprisonment after which he was released on the grounds of his good behaviour.


This movie is based on real life incident of Naval officer KM Nanavati who was Parsi and Businessman Prem Ahuja. The incident revolves around the murder of wife’s beloved. I liked the movie and all the actors played their part well. The courtroom scene, especially has been shown quite well. Everybody should watch this movie once as to understand the facts of landmark judgement. However several books, web series also have been made on this case which is equally liked by the people.


After thoroughly discussed it can be said in India the crime of adultery had given a birth to the crime of murder which is amounting to culpable homicide. Moreover in the movie the accused was designed as a Naval officer whose crime committed was got accepted by the society. Therefore by referring the case to High court on jury being erroneous this was something amounts to corruption in judiciary resultant of which was abolition of jury system in succeeding Criminal procedure.

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