Articles // February 16,2021

The Nonconformists: Rendezvous With Veeru Murugappan

By Bhuvana Rajaram

We always wonder, how do the legacy kids make a name and identity for themselves? Will they join the family business, or will they create their own identity?

So, we asked five powerful questions to Veeru Murugappan, a passionate short-film maker and a member of one of the largest Indian business conglomerates, the article below sheds light on his responses to our questions.

Young, vivacious, talented, smiling and humble Veeru Murugappan is the Founder of Coromandel Productions and Co-Founder of Barn Media, through which he leverages the power of story-telling and human psychology to create meaningful films that help individuals and corporates create a distinctive identity for their works.

Scion of the Rs. 369 billion Murugappa group, one of India’s leading business conglomerates, Veeru Murugappan joins us for a chat on his passion, privilege and priorities. The easiest decision for a person of such lineage, is to be a part of the family business and set the stage for the next generation leadership. Does he do this or? Read further to discover how Veeru Murugappan has created the path to his purpose.

⦁ You help others create a story, how is that helping you with your life story?
⦁ Under what conditions does passion trump privilege?
⦁ How can creative thinkers contribute more to organizations?
⦁ How can the Murugappa Group become greater?
⦁ When does passion converge with legacy and responsibility?

VEERU M on his 3Ps: Passion | Privilege | Priorities

Coromandel Productions was started in 2016 with a primary motive of sharing positive social impact stories.

The idea behind his company was conceived at a time when he was overworked and stressed – he was constantly endeavouring to be the best. And this is when he took a step back, and wanted to create human stories, inspirational and happy ones of people who have battled against odds to survive and emerge successful – like an amputee athlete in UK, an artiste who has reinvented herself at the age of 50 and similar such. He beams and says that through these ventures he learnt the importance of patience and to view things in perspective, and he is hopeful that these messages are shared with a larger world.

“Having been born in such an esteemed business family I wanted to do something on my own and give back to people wholeheartedly.”

He is candid and he confesses that often enough that he has been disappointed when things were not going as envisioned. And in these moments, there is always the option of taking the easy way out and going back to business.

But it is at such times that he recalls Wayne Douglas Gretzky, Ice Hockey players’ quote: You miss 100% of the shots you never take. There are several rags to riches story we create and that is wonderful, no denying that. But it is equally hard when you have everything handed on a platter and you still want to strive hard and make a mark for yourself. It is a huge pressure and responsibility, says Veeru.

His first film was for the Madras Roundtable on the new Paediatric ward of the Cancer Society and when it was screened in front of so many people whom the family knew, he says that he had never been so nervous in his life. He understands the risk that he is undertaking, and though he has the option of falling back on the business – he hopes that he will never have to use it.

When quizzed on how important creative skills are for the emerging economy, he says that creative skills will be required hugely as we move forward and that the options are limitless. For instance, he cites himself as an example, as he was a student of Psychology which is unrelated to Journalism or Media but he is enjoying the process of furthering his passion by learning more and pursuing excellence. And he also says that he has encountered many talented individuals who have left thriving careers to do something completely different.

So, creativity is a very transferrable skill that will help in the long run.

On this note he feels that the Murugappa Group has come a long way in shedding the conservative business image to be in tune with times. He is proud of the fact that the Group is emerging out of this cocoon. He recalls how sometime back the Group had partnered on a wonderful initiative with the Chennai (one of the four major cities in India) Police and he says he shares his thoughts frequently and connects them to collaborate with worthy causes.

As a shareholder I do care and do my best to spread the word, simultaneously I am also the outsider, so I don’t interfere, but I am confident that they are getting there, says Veeru

As the world envies Veeru Murugappan’s life, he accepts that it has not been easy for him, growing up as a dyslexic child. But today he stands tall with his own team at Coromandel Productions making films of hope and spreading joy and happiness all around him. Bringing the spotlight on people who have suffered but have the courage to stand up for themselves and survive.

We wish Veeru Murugappan and Coromandel Productions all the very best.

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