'Life Of Pi' star Ayush to play NRI Gujarati scientist in 'Harry'

Mumbai, March 18 (IANS) Ayush Tandon, the boy who endeared himself to millions in "Life Of Pi", for which director Ang Lee won an Oscar, has now taken up a challenging role of a demoralised boy who later became one of the youngest and finest missile scientists in forthcoming biopic "Harry".

The biopic will see how a young boy Hirji, who was not only demoralised, but had severe speech impediment and minus-20 percent academic performance, becomes one of the youngest and finest missile scientist, and then the highest paid software developer in Britain. He achieved it all through his grit and willpower.

Born in Mombasa, Kenya, to Kanji and Valben, who migrated in early 1960s from the backward Dahisara village of Bhuj in Kuthh region of Gujarat, the young Hirji, who came to be known as 'Harry' among his family and friends, migrated to Britain at the age of seven, only to be bogged down with major challenges.

"The boy scored below 20 in his academics, could barely speak coherently, had a handicapped sister and the family hailed from a very poor background. However, it was a scathing taunt by an aunt that changed the boy's life forever," said Patel.

The film will also feature Scotland-based singing star and Miss India Scotland (2011) Rameet Sandhu.

Patel, recounted how, one day, during a family quarrel, his beloved aunt Amrat, uncharitably taunted that the family with handicapped children could never prosper hit him hard on his psyche.

"There was no peace even outside the home, I was teased and ridiculed by my more blessed classmates in Willesden High School, London. I decided to self-educate myself at home, though I was practically written off by my own parents and rest of the family," Patel told IANS in a soul-baring chat.

Those little incidents spurred Patel to adapt and discover the power of self-learning, which in turn helped him turn the tables around to become the school topper, astounding all and sundry.

"This will be the key message of the movie - development of brain with logical thinking through self-learning, persistence and determination, you can do anything in life. Really, nothing is impossible," Patel smiled.

The young Patel proved with tangible results that self-learning is the best form of learning. His perseverance thereafter and constant hunger for being the best paid off and he went on to become of one the Britain's top missile scientist.

He worked for Marconi Avionics and British Aerospace in Britain on automatic guidance system used within guided Torpedo, air-air, sea-skimming, ground-to-air and intercontinental missiles for the British Defense; a far cry from the days when he scored minus-20 in his school examinations!

"The story provides strong messages to people of all ages from the age of 5 till 50, especially Indians," explained Patel.

"Everyone but everyone can do this, and the movie will show how this can be done to achieve practical results," assured Patel, revealing that aunt Amrat is now well-settled in Australia with her family and proud of his achievements.

After working for several years with government organisations (British Aerospace plc and GEC Avionics plc), one fine day Patel decided to chuck it all and do something for India, the country of his roots.

Discarding a scientific career virtually at the peak, he came to India and immersed himself into the the business of making laptops - the cheapest and yet technologically the best - for the masses, from his factory in Vasai, Thane, near Mumbai.

"My dream is for every Indian student to have only two things in his schoolbag - a laptop and a lunch-box," Patel said, as he tried to make heaven and earth to achieve this.

Living in Mumbai with wife Veeruben and sons Vijay and Ashiwn, Patel created history in India by breaking no less than five laptop price barriers in order to achieve his goal, through his company, Allied Computers International (Asia) Ltd, since 2002.

The life of "Harry" spans Patel's life from age 5-30. Harry at the age of 14-16 overcoming personal challenges shall be played by actor Ayush and an adult Harry post 21 years who tackles real life challenges shall be portrayed by actor Abhishek Tewari.

Produced by HKP Films, and directed by Anil Gajraj, the movie will be shot entirely on real locales in Kenya, Britain and India, in English-Hindi, and released with sub-titles and dubbing targeting wider audiences worldwide in second half of 2013.

As for his ultimate target? Patel says optimistically: "We shall aim for the Oscars. After all, nothing is impossibe for!"

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