Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What the film 'Rajneeti' can teach us about business and life

What do you get when you cross the 'Godfather' and the famous Indian epic 'Mahabharata'? An awesome hybrid called Rajneeti, made by one of India's best independent film makers Prakash Jha.  Read about the film on Wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raajneeti). It resembles Godfather in the characters(2 brothers-one hot blooded like Sunny Corleone and other cold blooded planner like Michael Corleone who reluctantly takes power after the death of his brother), action scenes(policeman trying to murder the godfather, revenge, death of characters in car blast). Mahabharata resemblance is in the successor nomination(favouring brother over son like how Pandu was seen the successor,  abandoned child(like Karna, Ajay Devgan), Krishna like Nana Patekar, Duryodhan like Virendra Pratap Singh etc.I could go on and on but it is best to read the books/watch the films.

But some lessons one can takeaway from this.
  1. Even the 'good guys' play bad:- vote rigging, murders, suppressing dissent(thus provoking cousins to revolt), tampering with electoral nominations, false promises 
  2. Playing to the gallery:- The public court was used to great effect in the film('janata ki adalat') and it applies even more in this media savvy age
  3. Organization counts:- Nana Patekar's character proved the difference between the two warring families, as he supplied the cash/brainpower/organizational on ground power. He played the dual role of Shakuni(supporting his nephews, grey area) and Krishna(convincing his nephew Samar to shoot the character representing Karna). 
  4. You get burnt if you play with fire:- Entering politics(or business for that matter) means your actions will be endlessly scrutinized. Personal and business attacks become part with the course. 
  5. Crush the enemy even after an overwhelming win:- In the film, even on the eve of the landslide victory, the enemy is lured to its death. This ensures no lose ends. Even in life, going that last 1% is important('attention to detail'!) to ensure 'no comebacks'. 
  6. Good and bad is shades of grey: Most versions of the Mahabharata(barring Ira Pande's Yuganta) lionize the winners(Pandavas) at the expense of the losers. Prakash Jha's sensitive shooting and plot, does show the viewers that injustice was done on both sides, and that it is the winner that dictates the history books!
 This post is atypical for me, and probably more on the cynical side. Still, this is what I feel.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Is Facebook becoming the new Orkut?

I know Orkut is still quite popular in Brazil and a few other places; but Facebook is the 'in thing' for quite some time. But unless it reins in the commercial aspects from marring the user experience, it runs the risk of losing its way like Orkut. When launched, Orkut was the only social networking site of its kind, and soon became a craze even in India. But if things proceed at their present

Facebook WAS designed initially for connecting campus residents closely, but now incoming batches make this a circus. People whom you have barely met before(like long lost school juniors/seniors), those whom you have not seen(incoming junior batch), distant relatives-everyone joins in the feeding frenzy to befriend as many people online as possible. A person who makes 300+ Facebook campus friends, may not even walk till the next dorm to chat in person. And this ruins the experiences. Would YOU want random friend updates from someone whom you hardly knew, but whose friend invite you had accepted for fear of not upsetting him/her? Like how Facebook allows you to filter your information for a select circle, it is high time for doing so when it comes to updates.

And then, the ever ballooning apps irritating updates, privacy controversies etc, do nothing to enhance the reputation of Facebook. They have remained 'cool' so far largely thanks to the user friendly interface and hip image, but if the number of ad breaks/commercial space usage increases, I for one would reconsider.

Takeaway:-Facebook/Orkut(ok to be fair most social networks) stretch the meaning of 'friend'. It is a personal choice whether you want a small network whom you know well/have met in person; or whether you want the equivalent of a huge visiting card collection of strangers.