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Sunil Dutt's YEH RAASTE HAIN PYAR KE (1963), Gulzar's ACHANAK (1973) and the famous 'Nanavati Case' with the LAST JURY TRIAL in India. (Did You Know - 64)

19 May, 2014 | Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / Y-Z / A / Did You Know!

While watching many western court room dramas, you might be wondering looking at the ‘The Jury’ sitting in the court, as that is not the procedure followed in Indian Courts at the present. However that was not the case more than half a century before as ‘The Jury’ prominently used to be a part of our judicial system too, giving their mutual verdict on the cases based on majority of votes. And the intriguing Nanavati Case in Maharashtra was the last one having a Jury verdict in 1959 before the system was withdrawn in India.
The case was about a naval officer murdering his own long time friend, a rich well known person of the high class social circle, who was having an illicit affair with the officer’s wife in his absence. The case became a historical milestone when the jury declared the accused ‘not guilty’ and the trial judge referred the case to the high court after feeling that the jury was somehow not able to deliver the justice or was misled.
The news of the case being referred to the Bombay High Court became the talk of the town and despite all the public agitations & media buzz, Nanavati finally got life imprisonment for the murder as the ultimate justice. Later The Supreme Court also upheld the verdict as it but after much public uproar, the government granted pardon to Nanavati in 1961 and he left the country forever to settle in Canada. Studying the particular case and its questionable initial verdict influenced by various reasons, the jury trials were abolished in India in 1961 and Nanavati case was the last trial with the jury in our country.
The case became a major inspiration for few books and also inspired two major Hindi films by renowned names as mentioned below.
Ye Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke - Bobby Talks Cinema.com1. Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke / Love & Passion (1963) – The debut production of actor-producer-director Sunil Dutt (under the banner of Ajanta Arts), the film was directed by R.K. Nayyar and featured Sunil Dutt, Leela Naidu, Rehman, Ashok Kumar and Moti Lal in the lead roles. Though it begins with a disclaimer that its all based on fictitious characters and also has a filmy climax quite different from what actually happened in the famous case. Still its real inspirational source was widely known and its courtroom scenes were of immense importance, brilliantly enacted by both Ashok Kumar and Motilal playing the two lawyers.
Apart from being a tense courtroom drama, it also had some great memorable songs composed by Ravi and penned by Rajinder Krishan like “Rooh Khatam Ho Gayi” & “Tum Jispe Nazar Dalo” & more. In fact the film begins only with 3 back to back songs in the first 15 minutes itself and then slips into the court room sessions as per its basic subject. Plus the other truth about this courageous effort remains that it eventually didn't do well at the box office impressing only a certain sections of viewers and not the masses.
Achanak2. Achanak (1973) – After a decade post YEH RAASTE HAIN PYAR KE, the renowned writer-lyricist-director Gulzar made a different, experimental kind of film on the same subject which was more a story of love and betrayal instead of a courtroom drama. In actual terms, the Nanavati case only forms the basic plot of ACHANAK and the film mostly revolves around the main protagonist’s army training scenes, his days spent in a hospital, his running away from the police and the chase sequences clubbed with the flashbacks of his past till the climax.
Featuring Vinod Khanna, Lily Chakravarty, Om Shivpuri and Iftekhar in the lead roles, it does not have anything to do with the courts and was fairly accepted at the box office too as an emotional story of vengeance. Interestingly despite being a Gulzar film, it’s a song-less venture and only uses the hit song from SUJATA (1959), “Suno Mere Bandhu Re” in few of its sequences partially.
In comparative terms, both the films inspired from the Nanavati Case deal with the subject distinctively and have their individual important value in the history of Hindi Cinema. But in case you are more interested in the court case and the jury abolition plot alone, then YEH RAASTE HAIN PYAR KE is the one entirely based on the case causing a major change in Indian Judiciary.

(An Important UPDATE)
Incidentally this write-up written in May 2014 also formed a chapter of my book DID YOU KNOW (Vol.1) published in Sep-Oct. 2014, much before RUSTOM (2016) was probably even conceived.
The book has 51 chapters of such interesting information about our Hindi Cinema and is available at all reputed online portals (Indian and International), links of which can be found at this single publisher’s page mentioned below:
Hope it proves to be a good read worthy of both your time and money spent with

Tags : YEH RAASTE HAIN PYAR KE (1963), ACHANAK (1973) & the 'Nanavati Case' with the LAST JURY TRIAL in India, Did You Know Facts on Hindi Films by Bobby Sing, Unknown Bollywood Trivia, Rare Interesting Facts of Hindi Films and their making.
19 May 2014 / Comments ( 4 )

Yeh raste hai pyare ke was officially Average to Above-average on BO. I mean it was officially called BO/commercially successful of that year. It was shock to me too! because I knew that such subjects had appeal only among high class, elite audience of Metro cities. And in those days they constituted minuscule. But since Film\'s cost was well managed by Sunil Dutt, it could fetch good profits to Producer and distributors.
And 1 more thing is that...no top heroine of Bollywood was ready to do that role. Finally Sunil Dutt sighed Leela Naidu

Bobby Sing

Hi Parag,
Thanks for visiting and writing in giving your valuable time.
However regarding the film doing well or not, may be my word hasn't got any value but it has been recently mentioned at many sites due to the newly released RUSTOM.

To quote, an article at filmcompanion.in (related with Anupama Chopra) titled "History repeated itself in Rustom" says,
"The film didn’t succeed at the box office. Perhaps it came out too soon after, perhaps the audience was already sated on reality itself."

Anyway the Box office result is not of much importance here as the context is actually of the subject.
And yes the fact about casting of Leela Naidu might be true as the film was a truly experimental one.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,

Prakash Bhatia

Hi Bobby ji,
You are absolutely right about court room action in Yeh Raste Hain Pyar Ke. One of the finest one in bollywood films and high calibre performance by two greatest actors of hindi cinema,Ashok Kumar sahab and Moti Lal sahab.Infact Moti Lal sahab scores over Ashok sahab.A must see court room scene.Even this film is quite interesting and enjoyable with everyone rising to the occassion to give a very decent production.The title song Yeh raste hain pyar ke chalna sambhal sambhal ke picturised on Shashikala is quite melodious.
Prakash Bhatia

Bobby Sing

Hi Prakash Ji,
Thanks for your detailed comment and I really wish everybody watching RUSTOM at least tries to see the difference between how a court case was presented in this more than half a century old film so insightfully.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,

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