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Not Just One But Five Worthy Startup Lessons From 5 Superhit Bollywood Movies

Small and true confessions before I share this post. I had this post of Startup Lessons on LinkedIn and had few interactions.  Until I got into a chat with few of my friends who said you would have received better audience and like-minded people to suggest you some more movies if you were at The Rodinhoods. So I am expecting something good to happen.

Bollywood is the Mecca of entertainment in India. It has been making films reflecting our society since Alam Ara. And most movies are like a mirror to us, for example, Mother India.

Some had so much tenacity and undying spirit in its characters that it left grooving lessons which can inspire a startup to fuel their business from the day one. Believe it or not, films are not always stupid.

Why just the movies, today hype and hoopla surrounding a film starts right from the storyboard and continues till the screening process. It is no longer limited to ‘muhurat’, music release, and fanfare premier. Today the whole thing has received a heavy shake with steadfast marketing mix.

We no longer have ‘Sholay’ or Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ type of movies that runs non-stop for years, raking moolah in a slow burn. It is the very first weekend of the film that decides it fate. But that’s another part of the story, I can take up that later.

Coming straight to the point. I have just found some of the Bollywood movies spreading awesome entrepreneurship lesson to the startups. Making a movie is the biggest risk-taking business, as none of its cast and crew knows what will be its fate after it reaches the theaters.

At Innofied, we have been helping startups almost every day with pre-consultations, brainstorming and building the web & mobile products that bolster their brand. And that’s where I noticed people, who miss a mark to be called the PERFECT STARTUP.

So thought to share some out of the box startup lessons to all the would-be startups to inspire them in a filmy ishtyle. Let’s see the movies that I have chosen in this listicle is going to teach all startups –

Manzil (1979, a Film by Basu Chatterjee)


#Lesson 1:  Failure Comes But You Need to Move On

Let me begin this ride with the movie of my favorite actor, Amitabh Bachchan. Manzil is a film of an ambitious, unemployed young man who dreams of a startup. He launches a galvanometer business, but the company fails due to stiff competition in the market and he is burdened with debts. To make the matter worse he proposes marriage to his girlfriend by lying to her. Another prick in the butts come directly from his would-be father-in-law who is a lawyer. He sued him as he was a fraud. But he mends his way later and emerges a winner.

The film teaches us to be ambitious, asks us to follow our dreams no matter what our economic background is. Most importantly it teaches to accept mistakes and failure and learn to move on. It teaches you take a defeat in your stride and stand up strong and determined after each time you fall.

Sholay (1975, a film by Ramesh Sippy)

# Lesson 2: Risks, Competitors, and Great Talents You Need to Embrace All

Probably the biggest blockbuster of India till date and one of the awe-inspiring movies that aspired many people to take the roads to Mumbai. The movie ran for 100 months and had hit the masses like never before. The movie teaches some of the spanking startup lessons which we continue to follow even today.

  1. Risks are hard to avoid. Being a startup we need to learn taking risks before we launch our business. You remember the famous dialogue of Gabbar, “jo daar gaya samjho maar gaya.” Building startups are like walking on steep edges as Gabbar, you have to take calculated risks.
  2. Hiring the best talents is one of the tough tasks that all startups have to endure. And that’s what Sholay taught too. Thakur knew that he is old and won’t be able to catch Gabbar, so, he delegates the work to two younger people, Jai and Veeru.
  3. Do not underestimate your competitors as soon as your start up start gaining success. Just the way Gabbar underestimated Thakur in the climax of Sholay saying, “Tu kya ladega mujhse Thakur”. But see Thakur beat Gabbar just using his feet. Though a poor Bollywood melodrama; but the truth is that never take anyone for granted.

The Lunchbox (2013, a film by Ritesh Batra)


# Lesson 3: Clearly Focus on the Purpose of Your Startup

Straight from the yester years to current time. Three years back there was this movie in the theaters that has gathered some favorable critic reviews. The Lunchbox, starring Irfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur is a movie about finding the purpose in our lives no matter what is our age. In the humdrum of our busy life, we forget our way and purpose. The film asks the million-dollar question – “What do I really want to do with my life?” The film stress on the fact that we must not avoid asking this question throughout our life and it is even applicable when you launch a startup. “What purpose my startup brand is going to serve?” “Am I happy with the growth?” “Is it possible to offer more to my customers?” And equally important is to realize who I am (you cannot replicate your startup, it need to build its own unique identity)

Band Bajaa Baraat (2010, a film by Manish Sharma)


# Lesson 4: Your Startup Need to Be Passion and Ethics-Driven

This one has some real inspiration for every startup. Young and budding college goers who are inclined upon opening their new business, and want to try out the hard luck in the markets. They can surely draw some cool spur from Band Bajaa Baraat. Just like other Indian masala movies it has a similar storyline where a boy meets a girl, they fight and start liking each other, starts a business and again fights and then with twists and turn they reunite to restart their venture and a new life. (Awww..too long)

For every startup, BBB has set some great examples.

  • You do not need to have a giant degree to become a startup entrepreneur, you just need the passion. Right from the start Anushka and Ranveer work together to build a great team for their wedding planner business. It should have members who love to share responsibilities, work together, share profits, and enjoy what they do. Equal passion can rock your startup.
  • Size is never a matter, however,  your startup needs to compete large players. And to compete, you do not need to cut prices on assignments. In BBB, with their “Shaadi Mubarak” venture they compete against large players by providing personalized service and creativity that large players fail to provide at times.
  • Ethics are the foundation of your business. When you start small there are moments which can make you bent on taking unethical ways like exempting taxes or not paying employees. But if you start weak, you become weaker. When the BBB team starts a business, the hero tries to steal power and save some extra bucks, but the heroine reminds that this was not their foundation on which their business stands.

Sultan (2016, a film by Ali Abbas Zafar)


#Lesson 5: Setbacks Come, But Have a Plan to Overcome Them

Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma’s new movie of this year is a smashing hit. But besides having an amazing storyline it has also imparted some serious startup lessons to the startups for sure. The biggest lesson which I incorporated the other day while watching the movie is never to lose confidence. Life would be having ups and downs and so do your business.

Sometimes the setbacks are hard to bear like the way Sultan and Aarfa lose their newborn baby in the movie. Similarly, when you run a startup you will see attrition, cash flow problems as you are bootstrapped, compliance issues and much more. Whatever may be the situation you must not lose heart and work towards solving the problems to evolve as a winner in the end.

And another lesson is to do proper planning and then execute so that setbacks become easy to avoid. When your startup is budding and yet young, you need to have a plan to execute it successfully. Until you have a plan you do not know what to do exactly. When Sultan decided to become a wrestler, he made a plan for one-month practice, he executed it well and finally got paid off. So be like Sultan!


These are my list of movies which I think have taught some great startup lessons for every inspiring startup . Do you have some more in your bag? Do share it with me and let us spread the magic of Bollywood and fuel startups better, every day.

Originally Shared On: LinkedIn


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