The Verdict, is based on the KM Nanavati case which grabbed the attention of the whole country. It revolves around the murder of a Sindhi businessman Prem Ahuja by Naval officer KM Nanavati. At the centre of this case was the woman Sylvia, who was a foreigner that was thrust in the courts of public judgement for her actions before the court’s judgement.
Elli AvrRam who plays the role of Sylvia might just know what that feels like. She came to Bollywood as a foreigner. After her debut film with Maniesh Paul, she was judged fit only for bit roles and dance numbers in big films. She hopes her role in The Verdict can bring her vindication as an actor in Bollywood and ease the judgement on Sylvia’s character, decades ago.
Int: What Was your reaction when you were first offered The Verdict?
Elli: I got extremely… extremely excited. I actually started to cry out of happiness, because I knew it was a meaty and beautiful role. I just knew the script would be so beautiful and I wanted to be part of the project. I still remember when I read the script I was crying because I finally got such a project where I am playing the lead and getting to show what I can do as an actress.
There’s so much in this show… I am playing a young Sylvia, a married Sylvia and a mother of three children. I am playing different shades and emotions from cheating, falling in love again, wanting to leave my husband, devastation and humiliation. How I have to face all that by facing humiliation in a country where you’re a foreigner. And then playing an older Sylvia in her 50’s which I was so excited about.
Watch a gripping introduction to her role on the show here.
Int: How did you prepare from the role of Sylvia?
Elli: I prepared myself by opening myself up completely to the role by discovering all the emotions in me. I even coloured my hair lighter, I bleached my hair to look more British. I even changed my accent to get a more British accent. I worked on my body language. I created a playlist for Sylvia with songs from the 50’s which I used to listen to on the way to the set. I used to wear special perfume with the kind of old school fragrance. This all kind of helped me put myself in Sylvia’s shoes better.
Int: Do you feel Bollywood is finally taking you seriously as an actor?
Elli: I do feel like after my work on this show, people will start to take me more seriously. Yes. And hopefully that will lead to more meaty roles and roles that will require more performance that just a pretty face.
Elli: It was such a wonderful experience. Most of my scenes were opposite Manav and he’s such a wonderful actor and it was so much fun. I mean most of our scenes were intense but it was beautiful to see how it turned out. Also I must says I had a few scenes with Saurabh Shukla and that was also a wonderful experience. Because he is also so good! Like there’s so much to learn from him because he does these small details but he does it so well. So I really enjoyed shooting with Saurabh Sir.
Watch her chemistry with Manav Kaul As KM Nanavati here.
Int: How was the bonding on set?
Elli: We all had a great bond the sets you know. We all were so sincere and at lunch we used to sit and eat together and chat. Be it with Shashant Sir our director, to the AD to the assistants, we were all like a big family. We enjoyed working together and chatting in the breaks.
Int: How would you say this show is different from the movie Rustom which is based on the same case?
Elli: Yeah our show is very different from Rustom. And anyone who will watch the show will realise this in the first two episodes if not the very first episode itself. It is so much more detailed which has come from archived documents and what happened inside the courtroom, what exactly happened in the case and what the verdict really was. You even get to see Sylvia’s point of view here, along with everyone else’s.
Int: What’s next for you?
Elli: after the show I’ll be on Inside Edge, I have another Bollywood movie that should release next year I think. I have 2 south movies that in Tamil and Kannada. Then there’s another project that I haven’t signed yet but we’re in talks for. So fingers crossed for that one because it’s a dream project.
Read the early review for Verdict here, before you check out the show for yourself with all episodes of The Verdict, streaming on ZEE5.