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Shay Taylor

MurthyNAYAK Foundation Sponsors South Asian Film Festival

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The MurthyNAYAK Foundation, which supports documentary work on important social issues, served as a proud sponsor of the seventh annual Washington D.C. South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF), held over the weekend in Rockville, Maryland. This festival provides a platform for outstanding alternative cinema from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka while supporting several local charities that serve the South Asian community.

Among this year’s featured DCSAFF films was the Indian drama 5 Rupya, which generated excitement in the entertainment industry. It also was a favorite of Ms. Murthy’s and Mr. Nayak’s, and they consider it a must-see for the theater-going public, when it is released. The film stars Shabana Azmi, lauded as the “Meryl Streep of India” by festival director Manoj Singh in a recent interview with Culture Spot. Singh went on the praise the film’s director, “… Piyush Panjwani has woven together a beautiful film that captures the essence of Munshi Premchand’s Idgah, a story that’s considered one of the classics in Indian literature.” [See D.C. South Asian Film Festival Returns to Montgomery College-Rockville, by Barbara Trainin Blank, Culture Spot, 04.Sep.2018.]

Those slogging through the rain for this year’s DCSAFF were rewarded with an opportunity to attend a black-tie gala at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, and to listen in on a variety of panel discussion featuring prominent South Asian actors, directors, writers, and producers. Murthy Law Firm founder and president, Sheela Murthy, had the honor of serving as moderator for a discussion on women and gender issues and the importance of diversity and representation in film. In the era of #MeToo, these topics are more important than ever, and Ms. Murthy was proud to be part of such a critical conversation.


Copyright © 2018, MurthyNAYAK Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

A Gift to Franklin High School

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The MurthyNAYAK Foundation made a $5000 donation to Franklin High School, in Reisterstown, Maryland, for their moot court competitions. Sheela Murthy and Aron Finkelstein of the Murthy Law Firm met with the principal of Franklin High School, several participants of the student moot court, and President of the Baltimore County Foundation Board, Deborah Phelps, mother of Olympic champion, Michael Phelps.

Close friends of Ms. Murthy, Patricia Lambert and her husband Chris Lambert, donate generously of their time and finances to these high school children, as well, training them for the moot courts and helping with travel expenses for competitions.

Murthy described the impact that her participation in moot court had on her own life. She expressed hope that these students will have similar opportunities to travel and participate in national moot courts with the gift from the MurthyNAYAK Foundation. Franklin High School students are winning at both the regional and national levels, and competing with top private schools, thanks to the team effort of all those who support these kids and believe in them.


Copyright © 2018, MurthyNAYAK Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Our Interest in Media

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In 2021, the MurthyNAYAK Foundation (MNF) launched a new media project – the online photography resource PhotoSouthAsia. The site showcases photographers working in South Asia, their portfolios and statements, as well as our exclusive interviews with them. The site also carries original essays and is where grants from the MurthyNAYAK Foundation for photo-related projects will be announced.

Encouragement and financial support are important to artists who have the talent and the courage to hold a magnifying glass before unpleasantness and a mirror to the face of society. By funding specific projects of photographers, MNF aims to highlight important issues, transforming ignorance and apathy into concern and action. If a picture was once worth a thousand words, film and social media have increased that exponentially. It is our goal to support emerging artists producing socially relevant work that will raise awareness, sustain involvement, and ignite social change. In order to make the most effective use of MNF’s resources, grant making focuses on specific, short-term projects. (MNF has a 501(c)(3) designation in the U.S.)

Learn more about the projects we support on the PhotoSouthAsia website.

Copyright © 2021, MurthyNAYAK Foundation. All Rights Reserved.