Prabhudheva starrer dance film AnyBody Can Dance is a film which surprised many by proving to be an entertaining hit. While everyone was mesmerised by the film and its breathtaking dance moves, many an important lessons of life and entrepreneurship must have escaped the audience’s notice. Here are 7 of the most striking ones!
ABCD - AnyBody Can Dance is a surprise package. It has managed to impress the audience and also returned some good numbers at the Box Office. For a film without any star power or big names backing it, it’s no mean feat. Directed by Remo D’Souza and starring Director-Choreographer Prabhu Dheva and choreographer Ganesh Acharya in lead roles along with a bunch of newcomers, the film also offers some valuable lessons in entrepreneurship, which I call here: ABC of Entrepreneurship: Any Body Can Start-up!
1. Any Body Can Start-up
If you’re reading this at your office, please consider the option of not reading any further and instead start typing a resignation letter to your boss. In the movie, Vishnu (Prabhu Dheva) was a choreographer for Jehangir Dance Company (JDC), owned and managed by Jehangir Khan (Kay Kay Menon). When Jehangir hires Chris as a choreographer in Vishnu’s place and shunts him to a desk job, Vishnu decides to leave. So, if you’re not happy with your job, or think, your superiors don’t value your contribution to the Company or worse still, as it happened in Vishnu’s case, you’re given a role which you don’t deserve or enjoy, it could be a good time to consider starting your own venture. Look for a partner or co-founder like Gopi (Ganesh Acharya); and who knows, in the future, you may be able to become bigger than your last Company. In short, don’t compromise; and if Vishnu could, so can you!
2. There can be only one leader
When Vishnu started teaching dance, Rocky and his group were among the first to join, while D and his gang would watch from outside. Finally, when they moved in, D showed some moves which Rocky couldn’t do and he bragged that he could actually teach him. To this, Vishnu apprehended him saying that he is free to join the classes, but, there’s room for only one teacher. Similarly, in a start-up, there can only be one leader who can steer and guide the team to its goals. It’s very important to have clearly defined roles and hierarchy, especially among co-founders who bring different valuable skill-sets to the Organization; this helps all the employees and various other stakeholders to be completely in sync with the Organizational structure.
3. Don't gamble with your money
In a start-up scenario, and especially in pre-revenue stage, money is a super critical resource and you often don’t know where the next rupee is going to come from. While it makes little sense to spend money unnecessarily in a start-up environment, taking risks with money where the risks are high and outcome is uncertain is a strict no-no. When Rhea joined the team at DDR from JDC, and decided to take everyone to ‘Down Under’, they decided to bet the money which Vishnu Sir had given to them to buy speakers. The team was clearly not prepared for a contest like this. While start-ups may not go to the extent of gambling, founders need to be extra-careful to not risk investor or their own money in high risk projects. Spending money budgeted for a critical asset (speakers) on something else is also not advisable. This incident also showed the risks of taking a product to the market before it is ready or before adequate internal testing.
4. Build cohesive teams
Less than cordial relations between team members or in-fighting can be a huge risk to any team, especially when it comes to a start-up, it can potentially jeopardize the success of a venture. Value system of co-founders and the first few key employees being similar definitely helps and is often critical to creating long lasting success. It’s very important for the leader to keep the team together and resolve simmering issues of discontent amongst team members – especially with key players whose ability to work together will largely determine the outcome of the team efforts. D and Rocky were two key members of DDR team, and Vishnu Sir made them work together towards their team’s goal. When D and Rocky were trying the ‘Break the wall’ move, and not succeeding, Vishnu Sir pointed out lack of trust as the reason behind their failure, and addressing this trust deficit played a key role in resolving this issue. Also, we can see that D and Rocky gave Chandu an opportunity to be the lead dancer in the reality show’s semi finals. Co-founders and team members in a start-up need to trust each other, as they often bring diverse complimentary skills to the table. It’s also important for the leaders to give opportunity to second rung of key players.
5. Follow your passion
When Jehangir shifted Vishnu to an admin job, he decided to leave JDC since his passion and heart was clearly in dancing. All he wanted to do is teach dance lessons to students and that’s what he has been doing for many years at JDC. He couldn’t think of any other way to live his life. D’s father ran a meat and poultry shop, and wanted his son to follow suit. However, D had other ideas, and dancing was his passion. He followed his passion and joined Vishnu Sir’s dancing classes. Entrepreneurship is about following your dream and passion. Following your passion can lead to a much more enriching, fulfilling and meaningful life. As with Vishnu’s life, starting up can also lead to changes in lives of many others you work with. Vishnu changed the lives of the DDR team members, as he brought purpose to their lives and put them on a track.
6. First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win
Vishnu lived by Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words. When Vishnu decided to leave JDC, Jehangir Khan could hardly imagine that he could one day turn to be his nemesis. He was not even bothered when his lead dancer, Rhea left JDC for Vishnu’s DDR. He largely ignored Vishnu. At the audition of Dance Dil Se (DDS), when DDR faltered, he mocked at them and ridiculed Vishnu in particular by calling his team as jokers meant to entertain the audience. He even requested the channel and the judges to let them move to the next round, as he clearly didn’t consider them as a threat to his team. When DDR started doing well in DDS, Jehangir realized they were no longer minnows as he imagined them to be and even indulged in ‘unethical’ practices like trying to wean away his team members or stealing their dance plan or even manipulating the channel to get to perform before DDR. However, Vishnu and DDR finally emerged as winners by staying on course and being true to their mission and focused on their goals. A founder’s life is no different. When you decide to start, be ready to be ignored and ridiculed, and be prepared for a fight which could get ugly. But, if you persist and persevere, you will taste sweet success.
7. Starting-up is like D-A-N-C-E
Discipline - Awesome - New - Confidence - Expression
Vishnu’s definition of DANCE can also be good start-up guiding mantra. Start-ups need to show Discipline in following their business plan and staying on course. It’s important for founders to not get carried away or get distracted while pursuing their goals. Start-ups need to focus on creating Awesome product and service for users, which they have not seen or experienced ever before. Start-ups are associated with innovation and they should be working towards creating something New, which could lead to disruption in the marketplace or the industry. Start-ups may be lacking in people or resources, but one thing which should be always in abundance in a start-up environment is Confidence! Confidence to create great products which will potentially change the lives of many, and definitely the lives of the people involved with the start-up, in a positive way. Finally, for founders, a venture is often an Expression of their own dreams, passions and value system; and the DNA of founders is often stamped on the Organizations they create. Founders will do well to follow Vishnu who wanted his students to dance as a medium to express themselves and their passion, and not guided by hopes of garnering just audience appreciation, unlike Jehangir who asked his team to dance to impress others. Don’t embark on an entrepreneurial journey to just impress others. By only being true to their core, entrepreneurs can build great Organizations.
So, these are a few of the things I learnt from ABCD – Any Body Can Dance. What about you?
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