Kannada film,starring Sudha Murty


Written by Saritha Rai
| Bangalore |
Published:March 13, 2010 3:28 am

The world knows her as Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy’s wife,a computer scientist,a committed social activist,head of the Infosys Foundation and a prolific author.

Now ’s career has swerved in yet another,unexpected direction. ,59,will act in a Kannada called Prarthane (prayer) where she plays the role of a reality-show judge.

Shooting for the movie begins next week and Murty’s role will span 25 minutes and stretch right into the climax.

The film revolves around the touchy topic of globalization’s impact on culture and illustrates this through the slow obliteration of Kannada language and local tradition. Ironically,in 1981,Sudha Murty’s life savings of Rs 10,000 helped seed Infosys Technologies,one of the icons of globalization in India.

In Bangalore where Infosys is headquartered and its founders and their families already have larger-than-life images,Sudha Murty is a gentle celebrity. She is often seen at book launches and the theatre,dressed in her trademark cotton sari,sporting a big red bindi on her forehead and Mysore mallige,the fragrant local Jasmine flowers,in her hair.

Sadashiva Shenoy,a film critic-turned-newbie director,will direct her in her maiden film. Shenoy said Murty readily agreed to act when he narrated its theme. But she had three conditions — no make-up,no garish saris and no styling.

Shenoy says he concurred,but is already plotting breaking the no-make-up clause. “She has a strong presence so I don’t have to do much but a little make-up and brightly coloured silk saris will look good on the big screen,” says Shenoy.

The movie which also stars Anant Nag and award-winning actor Prakash Raj will have equal measures of melodrama,suspense and romance,says Shenoy. It will be a commercial film. “What is the point of making a film with a message if not to reach the widest audience?”

Murty has already etched an identity distinct from her husband. She spells her last name ‘Murty’,without the ‘h’ that is in her husband’s last name. She is a Master’s in computer science,who chose to stay in the background as her husband and six other founders established Infosys.

Murty now drives the social work of Infosys Foundation which donates computers,libraries and toilets to rural schools,and helps upgrade hospitals,among other things. She has authored dozens of books and even scripted a television serial on Zee called Dollar Bahu.

Shenoy said he wanted a strong Kannadiga personality in his film and immediately zoned in on Murty. “She is a pure Kannadiga and though she helped make a success of Infosys,her behavior,language,dress has not changed one bit,” he says.

Shenoy rues the fact that in Bangalore and elsewhere,young people who join software companies undergo a metamorphosis in very little time. “Their dress,accent and food habits change…they go from ragi mudde,(millet balls,the rural staple) to pizza in no time,” he says. And that,says Shenoy,is the ultimate paradox. “The owners of Infosys have not changed but their employees have.”


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