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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Biopic on Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy Movie in the works

Film maker Sanjay Tripathy first approached Murthy about eight months ago and is now working on the script of the film, two executives familiar with the development said, requesting anonymity.

business Updated: Jan 18, 2019 07:55 IST
Varun Sood
Varun Sood
Livemint, Bengaluru
Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy
Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy(HT File )
         

A biopic on Infosys Ltd co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, one of India’s most celebrated entrepreneurs, is in the works. But this is one movie that is unlikely to feature a song-and-dance sequence, standard fare in most Hindi films.

Film maker Sanjay Tripathy first approached Murthy about eight months ago and is now working on the script of the film, two executives familiar with the development said, requesting anonymity.

“About eight months back, Tripathy first expressed interest to make a movie on Murthy. Tripathy met Murthy at his home in Bangalore a couple of times and after much deliberation, Murthy approved the project,” the first executive said on condition of anonymity.

Murthy’s brief was simple: “Don’t distort facts.”

“It is known that Murthy took a Rs 10,000 loan from wife Sudha to start the company. This cannot be twisted. But what was discussed between them can be shown according to what the director thinks is best,” said the second executive.

Infosys, founded in July 1981, ended the last fiscal year with revenue of $10.94 billion and is considered by many as the company that put India on the global software map. Now, 71, Murthy is estimated to be worth $2.3 billion by Forbes magazine.

The movie apart, Murthy is also in the midst of penning a book on Infosys, according to a third person familiar with the development.

An email sent to Murthy on Tuesday seeking comment remained unanswered.

The son of a school teacher, the Infosys co-founder was born in Chikkaballapur district in south Karnataka and went on to do his masters from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. After a brief career as a systems programmer with Patni Computer Systems, Murthy, at 35, went on to start Infosys in Pune, with his home serving as the software start-up’s first makeshift office.

The CEO of Infosys from 1981 to 2002 and later the chairman of the company, he stepped down in 2011. He returned to the company in 2013 just for a year before stepping aside for Vishal Sikka to take over as the first non-founder CEO.

Tripathy has already submitted a 30-page script to Murthy in Hindi and subsequently sent him an English translation, said the first executive cited above. “For now, the script is still not locked and hopefully, it should be done in the next few months,” the person said.

Biopics, especially on businessmen are rare in Indian cinema. Mani Ratnam’s 2007 movie, Guru, was loosely based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance Industries Ltd.

Tripathy made the popular Turning Point science programme in the 1990s for national network Doordarshan. In 2013, he made his first Hindi movie, Club 60, which was also veteran actor Farooq Sheikh’s last movie. Mahaveer Jain may be the producer of the movie, according to the first two executives.

“Once the script is finalised, the locations will be scouted. At the same time, actors, including who will play the role of Murthy, too will be decided and then direction will start,” said the second executive.

Murthy owns 0.38% stake in Infosys while his family, including his wife Sudha and daughter Akshata and son Rohan, together own 3.45% in the company.

For now, it is not clear if the movie will show the turbulent times faced by Infosys under CEO Sikka. Murthy was unhappy with some of the decisions taken by the company during the period Sikka helmed it and flagged concerns of what he believed were corporate governance lapses. This eventually led to the resignation of Sikka and a board shake-up, which saw the return of co-founder Nandan Nilekani as non-executive chairman.

Will there be song and dance in the movie?

“Will the movie address the lowest common denominator or will it let the makers of the movie do it with honesty is the decision that will be taken once the direction starts,” said the first executive.

It needs to be seen if a movie can capture these shades of a man, who although simple in his lifestyle, was always complex in his thought.

First Published: Jan 17, 2019 16:07 IST