He was the star-scientist at the Indian Space Research Space Organization (ISRO) at Thiruvnanthpuram. And then it all went poof! In 1994, Nambi Narayanan, to whom goes the credit for introducing the liquid-fuel rocket technology in India, was charged with leaking defense secrets to foreign countries.
A charge that the distinguished scientist fought valiantly and won. Now the retired scientist is exonerated of all guilt. But at what cost!
Director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan who has completed two outstanding biopics about unsung heroes Sindhutai Sapkal and Gaur Hari Prasad, is all set tell the tale of the trauma and agony of a national hero who fell from grace, fought back and redeemed his tarnished reputation.
Last week, the Kerala High Court awarded Rs 10 lakhs as compensation to Prof Narayanan, a decision the aggrieved scientist applauded. But he also added that no money can bring back his tarnished image.
Three weeks ago Mahadevan secretly flew down to Trivandrum to spend four days with Nambi Narayanan. The director has returned laden with 8 hours of recorded interviews with the exiled scientist.
Impressed immensely, Mahadevan says, "What left a deep impact on me was this amazing genius' determination to win back his reputation. He did it. He brought his powerful adversaries to their knees. It is a truly inspiring story, and one that I am going to tell. Yes, I've spent ample time with Prof. Narayanan. I've come back with eight hours of recorded conversations that are stunning in their resonance regarding this nation's penchant for unmaking heroes whimsically."
Ananth found Nambi Narayanan to be, "a very venerable gentleman and thinker who looks like Sir Richard Attenborough." Prof Narayanan has not only agreed to let Mahadevan tell his story he has also consented to be an active part of the filmmaking process.
Says the excited director, "He was at first skeptical and almost dismissive. 'How can you bring together my life's stories without making the powers-that-be look compromised?' I assured him I could do it. He was only convinced after I showed him my two films Red Alert
and Sidhubai Sapkal
Happily, Malayali legend Mohanal has agreed to play Nambi Narayanan. "He heard the subject and said he's on. Now I am getting ready to shoot at some difficult locations," says the director.
Apparently Ananth Mahadevan is keen to shoot at ISRO where the scientist was disgraced. The Organization has understandably demurred at the director's request.
The biopic entitled The Witch Hunt
would be shot in Hindi and Malayalam.