The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Filmi funda from Infosys chief

Mumbai, April 6: Shahrukh Khan did not turn up, but Infosys chief N.R. Narayana Murthy made up for it with his guest appearance on the last day of Frames, the annual entertainment conference held here by industry body Ficci.

Speaking with his much-discussed modesty, he apologised for his lack of specialised knowledge in this area and questioned his eligibility in addressing the entertainment industry, but topped it up with a 10-point formula for the film fraternity ' still far from being corporatised ' if it were to take the global stage in the footsteps of Indian IT.

The crowd ' of stakeholders from all sectors of the entertainment industry ' loved it, often breaking into spontaneous cheer.

'The first requirement,' said Narayana Murthy, the face of Indian IT abroad, is a truly 'global mindset'. He said the industry should go for production that is cost-effective ' look for places where films can be made cheaper and sold where they pay off most.

By global 'I don't mean the Southhalls of the UK, but the mainstream global market,' he stressed.

The industry should look at 'global themes', one of which was 'adventure', another 'history'. 'In terms of imagination, our youngsters are second to none,' he said and suggested the film industry take up the story of Tenzing Norgay conquering the Everest.

If Richard Attenborough could make a landmark film on Gandhi, 'why not a film on John F. Kennedy or Reagan' he demanded.

'It is strange that we need Westerners to make movies on Gandhi or Islam,' he said to thunderous applause.

Narayana Murthy said there social dramas of Mexico and those in this part of the world ' India, Pakistan and Thailand ' share similarities and suggested a collaboration between these countries in this genre.

The Infosys head reminded that Hollywood makes 450 films in a year and rakes in $32 billion, while India produces 800 films, but only manages about $1 billion.

He stressed the need for corporatisation in the film and television industries. 'There is greater need of progress in this area,' he said.

'To scale up, you need high quality human resources,' he added as another priority. He said the industry would have to attract 'the best and the brightest', and empower and retain them.

He said he had asked Attenborough about the success of Gandhi, and he had attributed it to project management, though done by others. A lesson from IT, he said, was that 'quality is most important to compete globally'.

As you corporatise, you need investors, 'not just from India, but from all over the world'. He said Indian companies should not be afraid of even 100 per cent foreign investment. Last, there is lot of 'violence and rape scenes' in Indian films. 'Propagation of such values to youngsters' is not a good thing, he said.

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