Bollywood’s latest attempt at more realistic cinema is this drama inspired by the infamous OJ Simpson-like Nanavati murder case that gripped India in 1959 with a spicy mix of extramarital sex, politics and murder. Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) is an upright naval officer who discovers that his wife Cynthia (Ileana D’Cruz), who was raised in London, is having an affair. He shoots dead her lover Vikram (Arjan Bajwa), a millionaire Casanova and promptly surrenders to the police. At the subsequent trial, a sympathetic jury declares him innocent.
Director Dharmendra Suresh Desai focuses on the court proceedings and successfully portrays the influential role the Indian tabloid press played in real life whipping up populist support for the ‘wronged husband’. The court scenes pack a punch but much of this film comes across as an unintentional comedy packed with witty one-liners. It also fails to delve deeper into why the actual case was so significant, ignoring the fact that it was directly responsible for the abolishment of jury trials in India.
Kumar is in serious mode and brings a certain dignity to his one-dimensional character. Frustratingly, an unconvincing subplot is concocted in order to justify Cynthia’s cheating. Anyone interested in knowing more about the ‘three shots that shook the nation’ is advised to turn instead to Indian author Gyan Prakash’s compelling account in his bestselling book ‘Mumbai Fables’.