Hi! Today is June 15th 2007; the day “The Boss” is rocking the town. Finally Shivaji is being released worldwide and this is supposedly the biggest release ever with the maximum number of prints hitting the screens. This movie has all the ingredients to make it big. A big banner, a huge budget, the biggest star in the country, a world global music director, a blockbuster director with no flop history, a sure hit formula and the expectation of millions are the ingredients for a sure fire success story.
Now if you have watched the English news channels of late all of them have devoted huge airtimes to the Superstar. I was initially puzzled at this hype created by the northern media houses while our local media have downplayed it comparatively. Then I realized that they were trying to come to terms with this phenomenon that is The Superstar and his
Movies. They were just unable to digest that their big daddy of Bollywood, Mr. Amitabh Bacchan has had his thunder stolen and made to look as a mere mortal. One channel actually ran a SMS poll to see who was bigger AB Sr. or The Superstar and the result was a hands down victory for the Superstar with over 82% voting for him. Remember this was a national poll and though the sample may be urban and restricted this gives some perspective to anyone trying to understand the phenomenon.
First the facts gleaned from Headlines Today:
Fan clubs : AB – 20, S* - 63000
Remuneration / film : AB – 3 Cr (or 1 Rolls Royce and 1 Re if you insist) , S* - 35 Cr
No of movies / yr : AB - 20, S* - 1 every 2 years
Also the movie “Muthu” of S* has grossed 3 Mn in Japan and has spanned a legion of crazy fans in Japan.
Frankly if you ask me there is no competition there can be only one S*, all the others are mere imitations. Having put to rest this great debate that kept our TV channels busy I just want to give you my take on this phenomenon.
Why is the Superstar a superstar? Well there may be several reasons but to me there are two.
1) Feel good factor: My HR lecturer during my MBA days used to call his exams as “At home with MBA”, what he was trying to impress upon us at that time was that we should dispel all negative feelings, fears, tensions, worries about exams and be comfortable. All of us have our comfort zones, he wanted us to make exams too a part of the comfort zone. What S* has been doing in his movies is to get us into that comfort zone for that brief interlude of 3 hours from all that worries, tensions, anxieties that we have as part of our daily life. His movies follow the simple triumph of good over evil that is the hallmark of all hero-oriented stories right from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha.
Good music, the thumping of bad guys, a few jigs in the S* way (you still cant call them dance), good comedy (often self depreciating, remember the snake jokes where S* shows his fears), sexy women, some sentiment, no double entendre jokes and oodles of style and we have the perfect mix to take us to the utopia where good always triumphs and where we find that superman will save the world of all its ills, though for a brief while.
2) Now this formula has been flogged to death by so many and even AB Sr has done it but why is it not enough? Because S* has got style baby. He has style and tones of it. Ask any fan and they will tell you. The legendary flip of the sunglasses done by anyone else will look foolish, the flip of the cigarette (now replaced by chewing gum after Mr. Anbumani), lighting the match without a match box, the S* dance (well ok, I’ll make a concession after all he’s S*), the hairdo, all of it speaks style. S* can talk English, walk English, laugh English, so what if it sounds like Englipish he can do it with style. Being a non smoker I abhor smokers but when S* smokes I cant help admiring the way he does, only John Travolta in Broken Arrow has come remotely close. But way to go S* you have now decided to chew gum on screen. And in that you are as good as Jackie Chan.
My takeaway in life from the superstar are the two above mentioned. In my field of work (marketing) we need to use both and I can assure you that these two can be a surefire method to succeed in life too.
Whether it be a client or a friend any good relationship will develop only when both are at ease with each other or feel good with each other. So also in marketing when I meet a new client it helps to do some homework on the client, however a lot can be gained by careful observation. By observing the person and the place various openings for breaking the ice can be found. Often the feel good factor can make or break the deal and so it is crucial. And this will not be taught to you in B-school.
Next is the clincher, style. It is the single most important ingredient that can make the difference between the star and the superstar. Having compared AB Sr and S* let me move to another comparison on the cricket field. Brian Lara and Shivnarain Chanderpaul are both West Indian and both are left handers and are contemporaries, the similarities end there. Both are run getters and both have been the rocks of Gibraltar on which the hopes of Windies were built after the exit of their stars. Ability and talent are available in plenty to both and they can both play an attacking as well as defensive gritty innings in both forms of the game. What keeps them apart is style. Lara is the Prince simply because his backlift and bat swing are so beautiful that they are worth watching again and again. His style is unparalleled and the adulation he commands befits a Prince.
To an aspiring success hunter here is the secret tip. You must have stuff in you (else try to get it in you), you must make yourself and those around you feel good at all times and find your style of doing things and do it so that you are remembered not just for what you did but how you did it.
So go ahead, just do it, but do it with style. As for me let me see how I can get a ticket to Shivaji knowing fully well that all shows for a month are fully booked. Thalaiva here I come!