5 Learnings From ‘Bahubali’

Movies, music, TV serials, and cricket sell really well in India, with a promise to be the perennial Fast Moving ‘Entertainment Goodies’ (FMEG) for the masses as well as the classes. Considering the fact that more than 65% of India’s population is below 35 years, and also that the average age of Indians is expected to be 29 years by 2020, young India will continue to say ‘yeh dil maange more...’ for any craft that strikes the sweet chord of balancing quality and cost.

 

There is an ever-increasing demand to consume ‘value for money’ goods and services. IPL, for instance, was a phenomenal success in this regard. It catered to this demand of consuming entertainment by spicing up cricket with ingredients like movie stars, music, and dance, and aptly presented it on TV, to suit the affordability and comfort of one’s living room – and this was savored by both the Tea and Beer sipping palates. Irrespective of the Industry, the basic principles of selling and doing business are the same, and so is customer behavior.

 

Thanks to social media, people are a lot more conscious about the quality of the content they consume and are also a lot more judgmental about the motive with which something is presented to them. Businesses selling their offerings with unconvincing motives, despite the good quality, seem to lose their credibility over a period of time. For instance, Google has built itself on the foundations of a very strong value system, which explains why they spend so much time in ensuring the best fit hire for their organization.

 

Learning 1: Nurturing an organization with strong values is extremely critical to build a sustainable and successful business. Hence, hiring the right team and consistently coaching them to evolve and grow along with your organizational culture is the key to build high performance teams.

 

One would have expected a grand scale movie like Bahubali to be made by someone from the Hindi or Tamil film industry. However, it was made by someone from a relatively smaller Telugu film industry aka Tollywood.

 

The film industries in Hindi and Tamil, which are the most successful film industries in the country, are today struggling to produce genuine hits. The former is confronted with a strange challenge of an identity crisis, and more so in the last decade, wherein the target audience comprised of people from Central Asia, Africa, and a particular community from the Subcontinent. Hence, the title, storyline, star cast, songs, and the entire packaging of most of the movies are tuned to somehow satisfy the taste buds of these people, with a ‘taken for granted’ attitude towards the liking and sentiments of a majority of people in India. The assumption that the majority population in India will anyway accept whatever is shown to them (though true to a certain extent) can in no way be a sustainable approach for a film Industry that claims to represent the entire nation.

 

In the case of the Tamil film industry, it is clearly unable to come out of the hangover of Rajinikanth aka Thalaiva, and also the stereotype that it has created for itself for producing VFX movies. It does not seem to not have its own Prabhas or a Mahesh Babu, and hence, is failing miserably in an attempt to manufacture a blockbuster.

 

Learning 2: Complacency and growth do not go hand in hand. There is always a startup in transition that is transforming itself into the next unicorn and a Bahubali competitor. Having a clear mind, clean heart, and the passion to grow are the three most important faculties for self-development.

 

“Complacency and growth do not go hand in hand. Having a clear mind, clean heart, and the passion to grow are the three most important faculties for self-development.”

 

The reason why people across the world like Indian movies is because of their love for the Indian people and their unique secular culture. One should not manipulate the portrayal of culture merely to cater to people from a particular community, and more so for monetary gains. This is worse than vote bank politics because a visual medium such as movies is an extremely potent tool that can influence the mindset of an entire generation to follow.

 

In the case of the Bahubali series, the team did not have any hidden political motive, nor was it clutched by any self-created stereotype. It had a great story and an amazing narrative style, which was showcased to near perfection, with the result that it gained international acclaim.

 

Learning 3: Mixing business with politics is as dangerous as drunken driving. Leadership that has an absolute focus on business, with a genuine philanthropic bent of mind, is bound to succeed sooner or later. People will always appreciate quality work with clean intent, and it does not matter from whom it comes.

 

The success of a film or a film star has an amazing impact on enhancing the pride of the people of that region. Hence, producing at least one commercial blockbuster every year is extremely important to reinforce the pride of its people in their language and culture. For instance, films are an inseparable part of a Teluguite’s life. If you want to strike an instant connection with a Teluguite, just talk about films. However, for the Hindi film industry, South India even today means only the erstwhile ‘Madras’.

 

And what about the other states and languages of the country? Well, the Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, and Bengali film Industries have largely made strong story-based movies and have added many national awards to their kitty. They have not really been in the big league of producing commercial hits. The people of these states have predominantly been a lot more inclined towards traditional fine arts such as Classical Music, Literature, Temple Architecture, Painting, etc. However, things have started changing in the last couple of years. In their attempt to make commercially sellable movies, they have been blindly copying Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films, ignoring the general preferences and liking of people of their respective regions.

 

Learning 4: Understanding your customers well and customizing your offerings wherever required, and being sensitive to the sentiments of your customers at large in case of PAN India and world offerings, are the key principles to build a scalable and sustainable business.

 

Learning 5: Digital outreach on a consistent basis helps in establishing positive engagement with your stakeholders. Also, publishing genuine success stories of leadership instills greater pride and belonging in every member of an organization.

 

There is no greater satisfaction than empowering your team to achieve greater milestones by choice than by force. And there is no greater joy of success than winning the heart of your competition with your work.

 

“There is no greater satisfaction than empowering your team to achieve greater milestones by choice than by force. And there is no greater joy of success than winning the heart of your competition with your work.”

Keshav Sridhar is a Business Consultant & OD Specialist. A seasoned HR Professional, he comes with an experience of 15 years and has worked with Google, Partygaming, BITS Pilani etc. and has been a Training Consultant for many Educational Institutes and Corporates. Keshav is an Engineer and has done the Certified Learning & Development Manager and Master Trainer & Facilitator programmes from Carlton Advanced Management Institute.

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