Based on the British Era in India, the movie Thugs Of Hindostan narrates how a group of thugs (bandit) was becoming a challenge to the Indian British Empire which forcefully had acquired its rule over Hindostan (Indian Subcontinent).
While the Rs. 300 crore budget movie had legend actors like Mr. Bachchan and Aamir Khan, it failed at the box office and to win accolades from the critics. After sitting through almost 3 hours of the poor screenplay, bad editing, lack of suspense as Taran Adarsh rightly puts it, the film was a "king-sized disappointment"!
However, one can draw learnings from both good and a bad film. Our inspiration to see over the negatives of the film came from Aamir Khan’s character, Firangi Mallah. “A good-for-nothing, small-time Thug who makes his living by stealing necessary accessories.” who is recruited by the British to bring to them the leader of the Thugs, Khudabaksh Azaad whose role is played by Amitabh Bachchan in the movie. He is utterly selfish and an opportunist who would not think even once to betray his childhood friend. However, his charming personality, comedy and bantar will still make you like the character.
Here are 11 business lessons that you can learn from Firangi Mallah’s character.
1. There is an opportunity in every situation - both good and bad. How you perceive it makes all the difference.
Firangi does have the knack of identifying opportunity in every situation that comes to him. His entry scene itself lays the foundation of his character. He gets a Maharaj traveling alongside him to pay road tax for him and his donkey to the British toll station, later we come to know he was leading the Maharaj and his men from the beginning to a local group of thugs to get loot in exchange for few coins he was promised. He then hands over the group of thugs to the Britishers for more money.
We are not talking about betraying som0eone’s trust and putting someone in harm in return for a selfish motto. What we would like to highlight are the fact that there is opportunity everywhere and every time. You just need to have the eyes to see them and a mind to make the best use of them to get you the returns you aim for.
2. Set your goals and back it with a strong execution plan.
Firangi wishes to live like a Britisher someday in England and he has a plan to fulfill his dream and strives hard to achieve it by being a tipper for the British and winning their trust enough for them to approach him to be the one to catch Azaad.
While he acts to be very modest by saying Azaad is too big a thug for him to catch, pat comes his reply when asked to name his price in return for Azaad. Also, he already had a plan of execution to not only reach Azaad. His men but also find their secret place of shelter and report to the British.
Whether you are a business leader or an employee, it is very crucial to set your goals. It defines your execution plan and gives a direction to all your actions getting you closer to the goal. Without setting your goals, your efforts will lack focus and clarity where you are going. It is also important to have a foresight for your business as well as for the industry you belong to. Keeping your senses open to various trends and events around will help you identify the opportunities at the right time which will lead you to your goal.
3. Do not let your emotions control or decide your professional life or actions. They often blur your vision and fog your clarity.
Firangi has his eyes on his goal. So much so that his love for his childhood friend, his desire for Suraiyya nor romantic love for Zafira deter him till the end of the movie from the goals he has set for himself. He does have his moments of fun and banter but they are not too long for him to lose his path.
You can not do justice to your business or your job if you make decisions based on your feelings and emotions. Your business decisions and actions have to be guided by your understanding and knowledge of what is best for the business/ work.
Also, it is important to take time off and have some fun and celebration. After all, all work and no play would have made Firangi a shrewd and boring character!
4. Do not hesitate to ask for help whenever needed.
When he gets the assignment to find Azaad, Firangi first visits his childhood friend, Shanichar, in jail for help. In spite of the fact that Firangi was the reason for Shanichar to be there. He convinces Shanichar to help him find Azaad’s location.
Later on in the movie, Firangi also approaches Suraiyya to not only provide shelter to Azaad’s thugs but also make it possible for him and thugs to get closer to John Clive to assassinate him during the Dussehra celebrations where Suraiyya was to perform.
In Business, as well as in life, there would be numerous instances where you will not be able to do everything. You will need others to help you. It is, therefore, important to identify the time and the right person and his strength to channelize them to reach your goal. Many entrepreneurs face the problem of taking up too many things on their plate and delay things instead of delegating to their employees.
5. You may start with a goal to earn money. However, passion is what brings out the greatness within you.
Almost in the first half of the movie, Firangi's sole purpose behind all his actions is to make money until he meets Azaad. Azaad's faith that Firangi has some greatness within which he is yet to discover. Ignites a spark in Firangi. He finds his mission in Azaad's values and follows his passion rather than the money.
The story is quite true for some of the entrepreneurs who start their business to just earn an income. However, things change once they realize and see the value they can create through their products and services. It opens up a wide range of possibilities and waters their passion and drive to achieve much more than wealth. It is then that they are set on a path for greatness. A path which not only aims to benefit them but society at large.
6. Having the people’s skills to connect with people from the different socio-economic background can help you on your business journey.
Firangi is blessed with a charming personality which enables him not only befriend the ruling side (British) but also the ruled ( thugs, other laymen he interacts). By doing so, he manages to enlist their support in his journey to achieve his goals.
As a business or a team leader, you are often the link between the business or the management and the employees. It is crucial that you are able to understand and connect with both sides. And, including their support to reach the business goals.
7. For any business to survive, it has to deliver its brand’s promise.
Firangi might have betrayed everyone but he offered the value he promised them in return for the money they paid him. Whether it was the local thugs or the British, he always delivered his promise. Which earned him not just the money but also the trust that once a task is entrusted to him.
Today, with so much of competition around and the consumer getting more and more aware. It is utmost important for a business to deliver the value for their money in order to sustain. This has led to tremendous importance on customer service and relationship. Organizations have strategies and processes to ensure customer satisfaction throughout their journey.
8. Networking is important for lead generation.
Credit it to Firangi's sweet and flattery tongue or his self-confidence. He is able to build a strong network of people. It makes him very resourceful and enables him to get business as well as the help he requires to complete a task.
Having a relevant, strong and large network is always a great resource to have in the business world. Whether you are a business owner or a salesperson, very often you are valued with the kind of network you carry along with you. The path to reach the right person to get a job or a deal is done becomes easier if you are well connected in your industry.
Many people may also approach you to get your help to reach the right person. Building a network is not possible overnight. It is a long process which requires effort and time to involve in relevant events and being available and accessible to others. Social media and various other offline opportunities like exhibitions, networking events etc. give you access to people from your industry.
9. Having a strong mentor beside you can take you a long way.
Firangi finds a true mentor in Azaad who has rock-solid principles. And, a strong belief that Firangi has a great potential to become something great strikes a cord in Firangi's mind and heart. Azaad's stature is infectious and mesmerizes anyone who interacts with him. Firangi, almost unconsciously, is drawn towards Azaad and is motivated to support him in his mission.
No matter how motivated you are as a business person, there always comes a time where you need to fall back on a mentor for advice. Having a strong mentor who is not only a personality in himself but also brings out the best in you can take you a long way especially during tough times.
10. Sometimes being the leader is not a choice that you make.
Orphaned after Azaad's demise, the thugs choose a reluctant Firangi to become their leader. Firangi is torn between a carefree life and a life full of responsibilities and challenges. He also has the self-doubt of being able to perform such a humungous task of leading the people.
Not every entrepreneur is a people's person or an effective leader. Some prefer to be in the operational and functional part of the business and keep the people part to someone else much capable. As the founder of the company, people look up to the entrepreneur as the leader. It becomes mandatory to be the face of the company. However, it is also not advisable to carry the torch if you are not cut for it. If you are able to efficiently pass the torch to the right person, it will be a win-win situation for all the stakeholders involved.
After Azaad's death, when Firangi is forced to take his place, he develops a sense of belongingness and cares for his people. It is this care that enables him to save all of them from British's attack and take them to Suraiyya seeking shelter.
As an entrepreneur or a business leader, caring for your people becomes integral to your business role. While you work hard for your business, it is important that you ensure your people also benefit from it.
Employee welfare has become a key function of the HR department and there are numerous organizations who go out of their way to ensure that the employees are happy professionally, mentally and emotionally by being a part of their business.
To sum it up, Firangi is not an ideal character. However, like any other Bollywood Hero, he understands the purpose of his life during the journey. He comes out flying like a blazing phoenix by the end of the movie. So, as Shakespeare puts it, “all is well that ends well”. We at PrintStop have learned a lot from Thugs of Hindostan, we have tried to incorporate all the above points.
To know more about business development you can check out our blog on, "13 Reasons why small businesses should learn from Netflix?"