The infamous ‘ISRO spy scandal’ that hit the headlines in the mid-1990s is all set to be made into a Bollywood film starring veteran superstar Mohanlal as an ISRO scientist who is falsely implicated in the non-existent case by the police and the local media
The idea of a film was first conceived by journalist-writer CP Surendran and popular TV actor-turned-director Ananth Mahadevan who later met up with S Nambi Narayanan, the ISRO scientist in Thiruvananthapuram, the actual victim in the case who was falsely charged with espionage and arrested in 1994 when he was heading the cryogenics division of ISRO.“I had suggested the idea to Ananth a few months ago. We met him along with his journalist friend J Rajasekharan Nair, who stood by the scientist in his troubled times and he agreed,” said Surendran in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Narayanan, along with Fousia Hassan and Mariam Rasheeda, both Maldivian residents, and another senior Indian Space Research Organisation colleague and a businessman, were arrested in November 1994. But after a lot of media attention, the apex court in the country absolved all the accused and let them free in December 1997.
Currently, Mahadevan and his team are in talks with several production houses for this big-budget movie which will have foreign locales like European Space Agency in Paris, and NASA in the US. Reportedly 20th Century Fox and Sahara are two of the production houses that have evinced interest in funding the movie. Most of the cast, apart from Mohanlal, will be from Bollywood, added Surendran.
As for the ISRO spy case, Surendran said this was not just the story of a good man caught in a sex scandal. “It’s equally about how our society works. We prefer myths to history, fiction to facts. Take a good look around you. Everybody is into fabrication, people sit around a table in a bar or a computer in a newsroom and talk, actively contributing to an imagined reality. We are the classic fabricators,” he added.
The duo has just finished working on a movie Gaur Hari Dastaan (story of Gaur Hari Das), which is based on the real-life story of an 83-year-old independence struggle stalwart who had to battle the Indian bureaucracy for three decades to get his freedom fighter certificate. The film will be premiered at the Berlin International later this year.