Who is an effective person? "Anyone who uses his or her talent to help others and makes a difference," says Dr T V Rao in a new book, Effective People, published by Random House India, which draws salient lessons from the lives of India's most famous professionals, social workers and business tycoons.
The author of 60 books, including the well-received Managers Who Make a Difference, Dr Rao is considered the father of human resource development (HRD) in India. Apart from pioneering the departments of psychology at the Andhra and Udaipur universities, he taught at the Indian Institute of Management (IIMA) from1973-1994 and founded the well-regarded National HRD Network and the Academy of HRD.
In the excerpt below he examines the lives of two Bollywood legends, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan.
"AMITABH BACHCHAN is not only an acknowledged superstar all over the world but a lot can be learnt from his own life and the scope of his long career, the range of roles he has played, and the ups and downs he went through including an attempt to corporatize his name and achievements. Almost every movie he acted in had a message besides big entertainment value. The following are ten lessons from his life and work:
1. Create a niche: Amitabh Bachchan entered the Indian film industry when it was dominated by actors like Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Sunil Dutt and Dev Anand. While most were comfortable playing the romantic hero, he took up the challenge of doing action films, thus creating a niche for himself.
Mr Bachchan was once rejected for the role of a broadcaster in All India Radio because they did not like his voice.
2. Don't take no for an answer: It seems unbelievable that Mr Bachchan was once rejected for the role of a broadcaster in All India Radio because they did not like his voice. Ironically, today the actor's deep baritone and impeccable dialogue delivery have acquired an iconic status. He worked as a playback singer for twenty-nine movies and in 2005, even lent his voice as narrator to Luc Jacquet's Oscar-winning French documentary, March of the Penguins.
3. Accept failure, but never give up: In 1995, three years into semi-retirement from the film industry, he founded Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited, an event management and production firm. Although the company achieved considerable success in its first year, it subsequently suffered crippling losses, forcing Mr Bachchan to take up acting again in order to cope with massive business debts. In July 2000, he came back with a bang to host the first instalment of the reality series Kaun Banega Crorepati, which went on to become the most-watched TV show in the country.
4. Learn from everyone: He's worked with junior co-stars and directors half his age, but he's never reported to throw tantrums or push his weight around on set or otherwise.
5. Give everything your 100 per cent: His dedication to his craft is apparent in movies like Black and Paa. In Paa, to get into character, Bachchan had to spend four to five hours every day donning prosthetic make-up, post which he could not eat or drink normally -- and it took two hours after each shoot to get rid of it. Despite his age and seniority, he did not complain once, which is the mark of a true professional. Paa remains one of his best performances to date.
In Paa, to get into character, Bachchan had to spend four to five hours every day donning prosthetic make-up, post which he could not eat or drink normally...
6. Forgive and forget, and never lose sight of the bigger picture: To be sure, he has had his share of fall-outs, which are inevitable -- the Gandhi family, Shah Rukh Khan, Amar Singh, Anurag Kashyap, various media publications -- but there's no denying that he does not believe in mud-slinging and has graciously moved on from most fall-outs, often extending a warm hand of friendship to former nemeses. He has never used the media as a tool, as so many celebrities often do, to lash out at his detractors.
7. You may be rich and famous, but you're never above anyone: His interactions with his fans and the press are generally warm and gracious, and he makes a visible effort to remain humble and grounded. And despite the constant attention, which can get to the most patient of people, he manages to keep his cool and handles the shutterbug invasion with a smile, posing for them, answering questions and leaving them satisfied.
8. Give back to society: From his decision to support the nationwide polio campaign to his association with various charity organisations, Amitabh Bachchan has always found the time to give back to society.
9. Respect thy parents: Big B finds special purpose in revisiting his father's poems -- to him, it's a way of paying tribute to the man who raised him.
One of the very few stars known for their punctuality, [Bachchan] is apologetic even if he's kept you waiting a few short minutes.
10. Have respect for other people's time and always be punctual: B-Town biggies have a notorious reputation for holding up shoots, strolling on to sets five hours late, throwing tantrums that cause setbacks to the schedule and delaying projects by months, sometimes, even years. Not Amitabh Bachchan. One of the very few stars known for their punctuality, he is apologetic even if he's kept you waiting a few short minutes.
AAMIR KHAN is known, besides his acting, for the social commitment he has shown by doing films like Lagaan, PK, 3 Idiots, Taare Zameen Par, Fanaa, etc. and his TV show Satyamev Jayate which raises awareness on social issues. [T]he films he has acted in have a lot of messages. For example 3 Idiots has significant messages... on pursuing inner passions and talents to become something in life. Lagaan is used in many management schools as a case study to teach determination, hard work, taking up challenges and teamwork.
His latest movie PK has some interesting lessons:
1. Sometimes letting go makes you a bigger person.
2. Trust yourself and not someone who is a self-acclaimed manager of the almighty, trust your thinking and act accordingly.
3. Doubt what you see, read and hear.
4. Question what's in front of you and don't just stand blinded, accepting everything that's handed to you.
Apply your logic and brains and behave rationally not just because your religion says so, but because your mind says so.
5. Apply your logic and brains and behave rationally not just because your religion says so, but because your mind says so.
6. Listen to yourself before you agree with something you aren't fully aware about.
7. Your mind holds the power, so give yourself a chance to be enlightened.
8. Rather than blindly following something that lies behind a fog, it's better to understand the hows and the whys of a thing you have been doing since your birth.
9. It's not a sin to be curious, so never be afraid to satisfy your thirst for curiosity.
There are lessons to be drawn from Aamir Khan's life itself:
1. When you take on a project, give it everything you can. Be extremely committed to it. Focus is what differentiates the good from the great.
2. Diamonds are in the detail. Only when you focus on each and every bit of the project will you be able to create something that is a masterpiece and something that lasts forever.
3. Go with your gut feeling. Do not hesitate to try something different. If you want to create a niche, something that is different, you have to try doing things that no one else is doing. Yes, there is a lot of risk involved, but the higher the risks, the higher the rewards.
4. Good marketing without a good product might work sometimes, but good marketing along with a good product always works.
5. Be a responsible citizen. Aamir Khan is known to create responsible cinema. While making his movies he makes sure that they do not promote anything that might seem irresponsible or create imbalance in the society."
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