Nagender Vedula, General Manager, Microsoft IT, invited the crew of Golconda High School to interact with his team at the swanky Microsoft campus at Gachibowli. Nagender we know, from our college days, when he was Ram's senior at JNTU, Kukatpally, where he served as President in his final year. After that we lost touch until we heard that he had gone away to the US on work and it was only a few years ago that I met him quite by chance at the KBR where he had come for a walk. And then when they were planning to make Golconda High School I heard that Nagender had auditioned for a role of a parent and was acting in the movie.
The role that Nagender had auditioned for was a tough one because it is that of a tyrannical Dad who believes that children should only study and not waste their time playing games. His character represents all that the Principal and Sampath fight against. In the book, the part where Vikas forgives his father is one of the most moving parts for me - always brings a lump to my throat - a sentiment shared with Keerti Ramachandra, my editor. I was quite surprised to hear that Nagender had auditioned for the role because I did not know he had any interest in acting and specially since he had a busy job. But act he did, and was kind enough to invite us to the campus to share some time with his team.
Sumanth, Mohana Krishna Indraganti, Kalyani Malik and I went to the impressive looking Gachibowli office which has a staff strength of 3500 software pros. We had some coffee and then headed straight into a big auditorium where about 300 people were waiting for us. Nagender held the show together, had fun, and played along to the gallery. There was a huge poster of Golconda High School with him towering over all else, Sumanth and Swathi which was in good humour and we all had a laugh. He introduced us, played some trailers of the movie and was even sporting enough to show the audition tape he had made to his team mates. I spoke about the book, Kalyani spoke about music and his journey and sang a wonderful rendition of the 'Aithe' song, Mohan spoke about the making of the movie and Sumanth about his role and the state of the Telugu industry. Everyone in the audience got a copy of the audio CD, the songs of which were being continuously played in the background. I met Ravi, the tall ONGC basketball player and a friend of Sunil Jyothi, and Pradeep, a young cricketer who had played for MCC when he was at Osmania for half a season. I could not meet Amit Sircar my old friend, who heads another division at Microsoft.
We wound up at lunch, chatted with some of the participants, and headed off for a lovely lunch at Boulder Hills Golf Course which is opposite the Microsoft campus. Here we were joined by Nagesh (another JNTUian), Vasudha and Hari, Nagender's teammates and split after lunch. A very enjoyable morning in all!