Lessons learned from Bhuvan

My iPod malfunctioned (time for a new one!) this week and took my car amplifier with it (got it fixed the same day; there's only so much suffocation one can tolerate). Honorable mention to Yeh Chaand Sa Raushan Chehra from Kashmir Ki Kali being the last song it played. Working this weekend, which means today better be super-productive if I have any hope of watching what promises to be a beautiful game of soccer at the Euro 2008 championship on Sunday (Italy versus Spain, and go Germany!). Paid 70 dollars at the gas station, and there's room for more. Inflation in India has risen to 11%. Aamir Khan has started smoking again. What's the world coming to? :)

Of course, it's not all bad. Finally got back to the gym last night, a month after the move and about a month and a half after I bloodied my favorite pair of jeans upon hurting my knee while watching an Indian Premier League cricket game on my phone as I walked into a grocery store in Miami. The good news is that the knee is holding up much better than expected. The bad news is that given my current fitness level, it'll be at least another month before I can participate actively in kick-boxing classes.

Figured I could spend some time being a little more enthusiastic, then. And given the theme of the week, recalling a few of the lessons learned from Bhuvan of Lagaan seemed like a good idea. Bhuvan is interesting, for it is primarily through his character that the film speaks to the importance of (in no specific order):

1. Remaining persistent with unwavering commitment to accomplish a goal. This applied not only to the greater goal of relieving Champaner of the lagaan, but also to the cricket team's composition, the goal there being unity. See #4 below for related point.

2. Showing courage in the face of ambiguity. Cricket to Bhuvan was as alien as fish in Champaner. That he accepted Captain Andrew Russell's offer without fully knowing the path to take, but with an eye on the destination, was telling of his thought process (envisioning success);

3. Self-management and self-awareness. From Bhuvan's standpoint, the 'self' might well be Champaner. Exemplifying strategic alignment, targeting ones audience and salesmanship (of ideas). Need one say more?;

4. Being a humble leader. This one is my favorite. Not only was Bhuvan successful in sharing his vision with the people of Champaner, he was able to garner support from external influences that were instrumental in Lagaan XI's success. Through humility, persistence, and a constant focus on the end result, he was able to unite those around him (using a convincing argument of their goals aligning) while earning their trust and respect -- cornerstones of any relationship.

People representing different religions and castes coming together was beautiful. And the team's chief architect was a heck of a recruiter and marketer. The scene where the 'untouchable' (whatever that's supposed to mean), Kachra, was brought into the team was wonderful, for it discussed not only issues of caste, but also the divisions created by mocking the disabled;

Aside: Of course, Bhuvan must be doing some things right, because Elizabeth was often impressed (a lesson learned in itself):

5. Communicating effectively through body language. Bhuvan's posture oozed confidence. That he always stood with weight equally distributed across the legs was no coincidence;

6. Giving people a second chance. Lakha could have just as easily have been dismissed as a traitor and relegated from the team. Not with Bhuvan around. He gave Lakha another chance, and the latter switched allegiances in favor of the sach and saahas (truthful and courageous; words used as adjectives here, as opposed to being used as nouns in the song Mitwa).

7. Courtship. Gauri and Bhuvan weren't betrothed in the film, but their relationship was beautifully portrayed. As noted in my soundtrack review, that scene atop the hill with Gauri was marvelous!;

8. Expressing love (not always romantic). Sometimes, it's just best to let the heart do the talking. That too in a language that the opposing party understands. This is where Elizabeth could have done better (what if she had said those lines in Awadhi and not English?!).

9. Protecting animals. I am hardly a vegan, but there is something to be said about the scene in which Bhuvan was introduced. That he risked his security to save deer from being shot illustrated his compassion for animals. The world needs animals, people!

10. Shaving when one's village is suffering through a drought ;) Okay, so not quite. But Bhuvan did remind us that we were in a fictitious setting all along. That there really was no Bhuvan in real life. People like me need such reminders :)


Anonymous said...

Excellent review of moral lessons Bhuvan taught us in the movie. I love moral lessons in Bollywood.
As your newly self appointed press agent/spin Dr., hertofore you shall report that your knee was injured "from criket," samjhe? This will seem like you were playing criket, and it's not a lie, it's a sin of omission, but it sounds bahut cool. :)

Back to Lagaan: though not a moral lesson, I really liked when Gauri was chattering to Bhuvan about then man she liked having a certain type of tree in the courtyard of his home and how Bhuvan gently teased her reminding her that he was the only one with such a tree. So he busted her out, but did it in a nice way. I suppose it may then be a moral lesson of how to be a decent guy

All the best!

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you for your comment Sita-ji, and I am so honored to team with you for those spins! LOL. This one would have sounded bahut cool and not have been a lie! ;)

Agree completely about the moral lesson being how to be a decent guy (contrast with Aamir Khan in Mann (1999)).

I'm not the biggest fan of reading between the lines sometimes (and we the Indian people are often guilty of too many indirect statements, half of which I still miss in real life, lol). But the bit with Gauri and Bhuvan was excellent. So specific, yet not direct.

So now I even have pointers to add to a courtship! Although I need to be careful with narrowing things down, because something like this would only make things difficult: 'Aur ooh Bollywood ki fan hogi', lol... =)

Take care!