IIM Lucknow’s Manjunath Shanmugam: Purpose-Driven Personality and the Value of Values1
“Manjunath stood for his values – integrity, honesty and being straight forward. His mother was the foundation of his value system.”
-- Ganesh Raj, Manjunath’s childhood friend and a supporter of the movie Manjunath
It was a breezy evening at the picturesque campus of IIM Ahmedabad where Sandeep A. Varma (writer-director of the movie Manjunath), along with Manoj Sashidhar, the Joint Commissioner of Police (Ahmedabad), Raghavendran Shanmugam (Manjunath Shanmugam’s brother) and Pavan Mamidi (Faculty of Business Policy at IIM-Ahmedabad) finished the first in a 5-part panel discussion series on the legacy of Manjunath Shanmugam (Manjunath). Promoted by Manjunath the film’s satellite partner, Zee/& Pictures, this series was meant to sensitize the IIM students of the higher order needs of life. As Sandeep A. Varma (Sandeep) stepped out of the auditorium, after animated discussions with the students of IIM-Ahmedabad, he was reminiscing his journey over the last 7 years of research and filmmaking on Manjunath and several thoughts criss-crossed his mind. Most importantly the question of whether Manjunath should be revered as a real hero or an emotional fool?
On May 9th 2014, Manjunath, a biopic on Manjunath was released in theatres across India. The movie did not elicit a very good response from the Indian cinemagoers as it was fighting for attention from amongst eight other Bollywood movies. The movie’s box office collections would have picked up as days passed by,
but the trade was impatient as the film could not rake in the moolah in the first two days of its release. Consequently, the movie was prematurely withdrawn from the theatres.
Sandeep, the writer director of the movie was disappointed but still quite happy. Disappointed, as the movie could not be a commercial success and therefore the reach of the message intended to be conveyed was limited. Happy because he was victorious, despite the hardships, in having made a feature film on Manjunath, an IIM Lucknow (PGDM) graduate and an employee of the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOC), who was murdered brutally at the age of 27 for honestly performing his duties.
1 With valuable inputs from S.Raghavendran, Sandeep A. Varma, Akhil Krishna, Ganesh Raj, Unmesh Sharma, Sudhanshu Vats, Nitin Malik and the movie – Manjunath