Friday, July 9, 2010

Management and the Movies

Walk into any bookstore and chances are you’ll find at least a quarter of the store stocked with books on management. If the store is in an airport, I’ll wager it’s close to 70%. Luminaries like Peter Drucker, CK Prahlad, Tom Peters et al smile down on you benevolently, encouraging you to purchase their book and change your life forever. You steal a glance at the man in the grey suit, purchasing Tom Friedman’s latest along with the 90 page flavor of the month, Who Moved My Mouse. You feel you are missing out on something, you feel you’ll be less of a manager if you don’t read these books. You feel you need to spend thousands on these hardbound tomes, to earn your pay.

I have an alternative. Go to the movies. Watch films like The Godfather. Twelve Angry Men. Apollo 13. Braveheart. Watch the greatest movie ever made, Sholay. Go ahead and combine business with pleasure. Trust me, you’ll learn a lot.

Need to know how to get someone to agree with your point of view? Make him an offer he can’t refuse. How to convince eleven peers to reconsider their opinion? Observe Henry Fonda’s Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men. Intense collaboration, critical decisions being made as the clock is ticking away? The pressure cooker ‘Houston, we have a problem’ situation in Apollo 13. Inspirational leadership in the face of insurmountable odds? William Wallace in Braveheart or King Leonidas in 300. Take your pick.

In closing, do consider of course, our very own Thakur Baldev Singh, from Sholay. Recruiting skills? Check. Watch the khote sikka dialog and the train robbery scene. He sure knew how to identify talent. Mission statement? Very clear, very precise: Gabbar, alive. He also displays an amazing utilization of scarce resources in achieving that objective. The Thakur’s only shortcoming though, was that he was a hands-off manager. Not his fault, of course.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Having A Point Of View

The problem with movie watching these days is not about the quality of the movie or getting tickets. It's about going in already biased, with an opinion about the film. An opinion that comes from what your favourite reviewers are saying. An opinion based on Twitter feeds. Based on Facebook reviews and status messages.

Let's face it, you already know you are going to either hate the movie and post snarky tweets about it or you are going to find it ├╝ber cool and talk about how it references twenty three Hollywood films no one's heard of before.

Look at Raavan. No, I do mean it. Watch the movie, for crying out loud. Then call it Mani Ratnam's Aag if you must. If you have watched Aag, of course.

Not that I believe the movie is great. I saw the Tamil version and found it quite boring. Aishwarya Rai looked as delicate as ever, jumping over waterfalls notwithstanding. I found the Karthik - Hanuman angle tiresome and forced. I also thought the songs were the worst ever from the Mani Ratnam - AR Rahman combination. On the other hand though, the cinematography is brilliant, Vikram continues to impress and the climactic fight on the bridge is one of the best action sequences I've ever seen in an Indian movie.

Do I recommend it? Not really. But I did walk in thinking the movie was going to totally suck, based on all that I had read online. I'm glad I realized I was being biased. My point of view may be idiotic, but at least it's my own. So there.