Monthly Archives

January 2021

Mirzapur Mantra 4: Conquering insecurities – Day 1946

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Insecurity breeds manipulation: Kaleen Bhaiya’s son, Munna is the inheritor of his legacy and is groomed for the crown. But rather than revel in his position of authority, Munna destroys himself feeling threatened by his employees. He is all the time insecure and therefore easily manipulated by those around him.

The first lesson for every employee on a new job is to have faith in yourself.  Your colleague is not your competitor but supporter, so conquer your negative emotions for there is nothing more embarrassing than an insecure team member. If you are on a higher post and playing games, it is all the more pathetic, so consult a coach and sort out your demons.  I seriously recommend every company must have a private coach.

In a specific scene of the series, Bablu tells his father, ‘My job is like any other profession. It calls for commitment and I look forward to appreciation and promotions. 

Haven’t all of us said this to somebody at some point in our lives? Let’s hope, this time the big bosses are listening to us.


Mirzapur Mantra Part 4: Never let go off your team – Day 1946

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Indulge at the right time: Guddu and Bablu Pandit were Kaleen Bhaiya’s most devoted employees and served him selflessly. But an over confident action set a rot in the trusted relationship. The tension could have been resolved via dialogue but both built walls of hurt leading to bitterness and multiple tragedies. When an employee is part of an organization, he is absorbing the ideology of the company. He is absorbing the skills of his seniors and with time, he blossoms to become an asset to the organisation. It is always foolish to let go off such an employee for the sake of extra money or attention. A good leader will always find a way to retain his devoted employee because losing him is sprouting yet another competitor.

Never underestimate your competitor: Kaleen Bhaiya has ample opportunities to eliminate Guddu and Bablu but he bids time because he undermines their prowess.

That is his biggest folly because Guddu snd Bablu prove fatal for both, Kaleen Bhaiya and his son Munna. During most of our review meetings to analyse our performances, we are so focused on our immediate competitors that we invariably overlook the dark horse steadfastly galloping ahead of us. The moral of the story therefore is to never underestimate anyone, anytime!!

To be continued

Mirzapur Mantra Part 3: Team spirit – Day 1945

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Rewards motivate: When Guddu requests Kaaleen Bhaiya for a Luna/ Moped, Kaleen Bhaiya presents him with his Royal Enfield inscribed with ‘King of Mirzapur’. Now this is a gift beyond Guddu’s imagination and propels him to work harder and aspire higher. Kaaleen Bhaiya is an astute leader and knows when to overwhelm his employees, he further surprises the boys when he invites them to join his family for dinner and the boys are overjoyed. Almost all corporate offices today, grant special budgets for the recreation of their employees. All bosses know that all work and no play make office a dull place, which is why they pep up the surrounding and offer incentives to build up team spirit.

A wise CEO knows that a team that laughs together, excels together! 

Never abuse authority: In one of the crucial scenes of the Mirzapur narrative, Guddu, who is now soaring as Kaaleen Bhaiya’s aide, makes an unsolicited decision of killing their business rival. Naturally the boss is outraged that his protegee has crossed the line of authority.

The conflict becomes a turning point in the relationship. This should be a forever learning lesson for all of us at work that no matter how qualified we think we are; we don’t have the authority to surpass/ supersede and break the protocol.

To be continued

Mirzapur Mantras Part 2: Training – Day 1944

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Train well, understand better:  Kaaleen Bhaiya personally trains the boys, assign them tasks, test their potential and when they succeed, gives them bigger challenges. Guddu and Bablu know they are being watched and they have faith that if they falter, Bhaiya will not allow them to fall. In all corporate companies, the employees have to learn some things and unlearn many things and this trial-and-error process is called training. Some are unable to handle the vigorous training and quit. Some, in excitement, mishandle a project but like Guddu and Bablu know that their seniors will do the damage control for them. 

In business the client is always right: When Bablu discovers that old customers are not any longer buying guns from them, he decides to distribute free guns to all traders to regain their trust in the product. Bablu is able to strategize this because Kaleen Bhaiya entrusts responsibility on him. In every organization, there comes a time, when the product becomes mediocre and the services fall below standards and yet nobody is accountable for it.  However, whenever a team/ individua is specifically held responsible for a task/ project, the result has always been positive. The best feedback is always directly from the client.  

To be continued

Mirzapur Mantras Part 1: Hiring – Day 1943

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Many years ago, it was Ram Gopal Verma who said that the D company is exactly like a corporate office except that while the corporate does normal business, the D company deals with crime.

Over the decades, the other crime films have taken this formula further and the latest series Mirzapur has emerged as a Mantra for Management Course.

So, for those who have not watched the series or don’t intend to watch it, here’s a recap of the plot and the characters. 

A tycoon, Kaaleen Bhaiya is a carpet exporter and a mafia don heralding from a small town, Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

He hires two boys (Guddu and Bablu) and prepares them for a dangerous journey. 

My take away from Mirzapur is not the crime, not the illegalities, not the violence and certainly not the cuss words but the magical management lessons – so are you ready for the 8 Mirzapur Mantras?

Hire the best and follow your heart: In Mirzapur, Kaleen Bhaiya hires Guddu and Bablu purely on instinct. He likes their audacity and their attitude and takes a chance. The guys are inexperienced with no background in crime on the contrary, Bablu is an IAS aspirant and yet both are ready to explore a vocation they know is dangerous. This is what happens in all IT companies all the time. During recruitments the offices pick candidates not necessarily on qualifications but on the basis of a spark and spirit. There are so many instances when a mechanical engineer is offered a chemical placement and a biotech engineer, offered an electrical placement. The recruiter knows he is taking a chance and so does the candidate, and yet, both are willing to travel the path unknown because adventure is so attractive.

To be continued

Movie Review – The White Tiger – Day 1942

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Film: The White Tiger

Date:  22.01.2021

Director:  Ramin Bahrani

Writer:  Arvind Adiga Ramin Bahrani

Cast: Adarsh Gourav, Priyanka Chopra, Rajkummar Rao

Ratings: 3 stars

This is a strange film where you are disturbed while watching it and disturbed after the film is over.  On the surface, everything is sane and logical but as Balram Halwai/Adarsh Gourav narrates his dark story of rise from poor village in India to successful entrepreneur in modern India, you are rendered speechless by his blind ambition and cold-blooded behaviour.

 Balram is a sharp mind and angry when he is removed from school to toil like his older brother. When he gets older, he is determined to leave this village and follow his dreams and recognizes first the opportunity when the landlord visits the village with his sons. Balram is hired as driver for the America returned Ashok/ Rajkummar Rao and his wife Pinky/ Priyanka Chopra-Jonas) and he makes himself indispensable to his masters.  Life appears rosy until a tragedy occurs and Balram feels betrayed and trapped by the people he served selflessly. It is the beginning of a revolt against an unequal system and a craving for a new identity.

Balram is now a successful entrepreneur writing mails to a Chinese CEO visiting Bangalore for a tech conference. Gourav is proud of his journey and unapologetic about his misdeeds, he says it was necessary to dismantle India’s ancient and crippling caste system. Director Ramin Bahrani’s film is a faithful adaptation of author Arvind Adiga’s 2008 release book by the same title. The Irani-American filmmaker is a keen observer of  society and humanity and this is evident in all his films be it his debut film Man Push Cart to his more recent effort, 99 Homes, where Bahrani through emotionally charged stories questions the economic and political systems of a country, in this case India.

The positives of the film are the writing, cinematography, music. It is not easy to juxtapose the diverse worlds of modern India without becoming judgemental but Bahrani accomplishes that without drama or indulgence. All the performances are first be it Gaurav’s grandmother in the poor village or the autocratic landlord, Mahesh Manjrekar. Rajkumar Rao and Priyanka Chopra are convincing as the America retuned couple but the film finally belongs to the writer Arvind Adiga, to protagonist Adarsh Gourav for making Balram with all his demons so palatable. And finally, to director Ramin Bahrani for serving a dark, demeaning story with a cherry dressing that keeps you wondering what’s going on in the minds of the characters.

Bhawana Somaaya

Writer, coach and finally actor Day 1940 –

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What kept Kher going was his dream that one day he will be able to make a film. He was finalizing his script one afternoon, when he received a call from casting director Mukesh Chabbria’s office asking him to urgently come for an audition. “Mukesh knew me since my NSD days and had called me for various auditions over the years but nothing had clicked so I was apprehensive. This was for Scam 1992 and I did what was expected of me at the audition and came away. I had no expectations from the audition and I was told that director Hansal Mehta had no expectations of me, in fact sir did not believe that I was Gujarati because of my surname and wasn’t confident if I would get the nuances right in my dialogues but then he saw the test and wanted to watch me improvise further. I got a call to reach Hansal Mehta’s office soon. I did and I learnt that Pratik Gandhi was playing the lead.  I calmed down because Pratik and I had worked together and knew we’d be able to connect and that’s what happened. Hansal Sir was watching us and smiling, he had confirmed the younger brother and at that moment, he knew that he had found Harshad’s older brother, Ashwin Mehta as well”.  

When dreams die hard – Day 1939

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During one of the shows, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs he was assigned the responsibility of coaching the kid anchors and his efforts were well appreciated.  Word spreads very fast in the film world and soon Kher was called to coach celebrities on television shows. Life was finally getting comfortable for Hemant Kher and he decided it was time to launch a novel initiative, Rolexplore that would coach actors get into characters.

Says Hemant Kher, “Coaching is an emotional experience for me because when I came to Mumbai, I didn’t have anyone to guide me in my career, therefore, I would like to help as many as I can, so that nobody is lost or sad and does not waste his time or talent”.  Soon Hemant Kher was bored of writing for television and longed to direct his film.

It was not easy to quit television that gave him security but the artiste in him was restless. Opportunities to coach actors continued however and coaching for films was different from coaching for television and Hemant Kher enjoyed exploring characters with Jacky Bhagnani, Neeraj Sood, Pratik Gandhi, and Kritika Kamra for Mitron. Infact Kher was so good at his job that most of the filmmakers wanted him to play a pivotal character in the film as well so there was a part for him in Ravanleela, in Notebook and more…

To be continued…

Meet Ashwin Mehta, older brother of Harshad Mehta – Day 1938

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Hansal Mehta’s Scam 1992 gave birth to a star called Pratik Gandhi for sure, but there was another in the film that everyone noticed and has been curious about ever since, Harshad Mehta’s older brother Ashwin Mehta played by Hemant Kher, whose life turned 360 degrees ever since the serial released on the OTT platform. In show business, it is always that one project that changes destiny and for Hemant Kher that project was Scam 1992.

For years, Hemant Kher struggled for a break in movies but nothing came his way. Grown up in Surat, Kher graduated from NSD in Delhi and arrived in Mumbai with a trunk full of dreams but nothing happened.  Time went by and Kher decided to take whatever came his way, mostly writing assignments. He did non- fiction shows such as Jhalak Dikhla Ja, Just Dance, India’s Best Dramebaaz, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Dance India Dance, Indian Idol, Amul Master Chef on television and was appreciated because not everyone can script shows to make them appear unscripted. And Hemant did this for more than ten years writing close to thirty shows.

To be continued…