Nobody had the guts to film me: ex-ISRO scientist Nambi on national award

Nambi describes national award to ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ as an ‘emotional moment’

Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: 26 August, 2023 4:41 pm IST
Nambi Narayan in an exclusive interview with TNI shared his views on Rocketry winning the 'Best Feature film' award

Thiruvananthapuram: Nambi Narayan, the former ISRO scientist who was acquitted by the Supreme Court two years ago in the 1994 espionage case, has revealed that no filmmaker was willing to undertake the challenge of bringing his life story to the big screen. However, the film “Rocketry: The Nambi Effect,” which has recently been honored with an award for the Best Feature Film’ at the 69th National Film Awards, defied all odds.

In an exclusive conversation with The New Indian, Narayan – who headed a ISRO division responsible for developing cryogenic engines – said that he did not expect his story to get the recognition given the blockbuster films like ‘RRR’ and ‘The Kashmir Files’. 

Rocketry movie is based on the life of Ex ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayan
Rocketry movie, based on the life of Ex ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayan wins award for ‘Best Feature film’ in National Film Awards

“I approached many in the Malayalam film industry but they did not agree to it as they felt it is not worthwhile doing it. They felt that they could not make money out of my story. An actor whom I approached was worried about opposition from a few quarters and hence he too withdrew”, he said.

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It was actor R. Madhavan who saw the compelling narrative potential in Narayanan’s story and took it up as his directorial debut. “He agreed to take up the challenge after reading the entire story. He faced a lot of challenges initially. But later when the movie was screened for a selected audience in Mumbai, I saw people coming up with a heavy heart and many were in tears. I was personally expecting an award in the ‘Best Actor’ or ‘Best Director’ category,” he shared, hailing the recognition as “great achievement for the entire team”.

Narayan said he decided to share his story with the world through the silver screen because he wanted “the young generation to know about my ‘unbelievable’ story”.

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Along with fellow scientist Sasi Kumaran, Narayan fought a long legal battle against allegations of transferring confidential documents related to ISRO’s cryogenic engine technology to enemy nations in exchange for money and sexual favors. The case rocked the state and the national politics after a faction led by AK Antony and Oommen Chandy rebelled against former chief minister K Karunakaran over the latter’s alleged involvement. 

The scientist was later cleared of all charges by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), blaming state police officials and then Intelligence Bureau deputy director RB Shreekumar for his false implication.


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