Category Archives: Books

The Making of Don: A Riveting Journey with Amitabh Bachchan and Bollywood’s Iconic Classic

“The Making of Don” is a remarkable book that delves into the behind-the-scenes journey of the iconic Bollywood film ‘Don.’ Authored by Krishna Gopalan, this book offers a unique perspective on the making of a classic commercial masala entertainer, which has earned a cult status among audiences.

One of the standout features of this book is its direct access to the film’s director, Chandra Barot, who shares his insights and experiences. This access allows the author to provide readers with an engaging and thrilling narrative filled with twists and turns, much like the film itself.

The book sheds light on the challenges faced during the production of ‘Don.’ It reveals that the film had limited funding, and producer Nariman Irani was in a make-or-break situation. The lead actors, including the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, and Pran, were all busy with other commitments, making scheduling a significant challenge. Despite these obstacles, the team managed to pull together and create a cinematic masterpiece.

What sets ‘The Making of Don’ apart is its ability to uncover lesser-known anecdotes and stories related to the film’s production. Some of these anecdotes include how used sets from other films were repurposed for ‘Don,’ how costumes were sourced from roadside vendors, and how Chandra Barot lost a significant sum of his own money due to unforeseen circumstances.

The book also explores how the very concept of ‘Don’ was initially met with skepticism within the Bollywood industry. It was considered a risky venture, especially given the limited resources available for a film of this scale. Despite the doubts, the team, led by Chandra Barot, persisted and created a cinematic gem.

Moreover, ‘The Making of Don’ provides readers with a glimpse into the personalities and interactions of the cast and crew. It highlights moments such as Amitabh Bachchan’s initial doubts about playing a double role with a villainous streak, Zeenat Aman missing out on the iconic song ‘Main Hoon Don,’ and how Manoj Kumar suggested adding the hit song ‘Khaike Paan Banaras Wala’ in the second half to provide some respite to the audience.

In addition to these behind-the-scenes stories, the book touches on the support the filmmaker received from the film fraternity, including Amitabh Bachchan, who was willing to forgo a significant portion of his remuneration to support the project. The reuse of sets and the dedication of the actors, particularly Amitabh Bachchan, added to the collaborative spirit that made ‘Don’ a remarkable cinematic achievement.

Overall, ‘The Making of Don’ is a must-read for Bollywood enthusiasts and anyone interested in the filmmaking process. It offers a captivating narrative that brings to life the challenges, creativity, and determination that went into creating this timeless classic. With a rating of four stars, it’s evident that this book is a valuable addition to the literature on Bollywood’s cinematic history.”

Unlocking Your Potential: Review and Reflection on ‘Managing Oneself’ by Peter Drucker

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“Managing Oneself” by Peter Drucker is a compelling read that pushes the boundaries of traditional self-help books. The book’s primary focus is on self-management, encouraging readers to identify their strengths and develop an actionable plan to improve their lives.

Discovering Your Strengths

  • The book emphasizes the importance of understanding your strengths as a key to success. 
  • Drucker suggests a feedback analysis method to identify your strengths. This involves writing down your expectations after making a key decision or action and comparing the actual results with these expectations after a certain period. 
  • -This method provides insights into your strengths and areas where you need to improve or acquire new skills.

Focusing on Your Strengths

  • Drucker advises readers to concentrate on improving their strengths and placing themselves in positions where their strengths can produce results. 
  • This approach contrasts with the conventional wisdom of focusing on improving weaknesses. 
  • Instead, Drucker encourages readers to maximize their strengths and minimize the impacts of their weaknesses.

Understanding Your Intellectual Arrogance

  • The book highlights the importance of acquiring skills and knowledge in areas where you are weak.
  • Drucker argues against wasting effort on improving areas of low competence. This advice is particularly relevant in today’s world where interdisciplinary knowledge and skills are increasingly valuable.

Ethics and Values

  • One of the crucial aspects Drucker highlights in the book is the importance of understanding one’s values and ethics.
  • He emphasizes the need to ask oneself, “What kind of person do I want to see in the mirror in the morning?” This question ties into the concept of ethical behavior and the personal values that guide one’s actions.
  • Drucker also discusses the differing values within organizations, stressing that what may be ethical behavior in one situation or organization may not be in another.
  • He uses the example of business strategies focused on short-term results versus those with a long-term focus to illustrate that these choices often reflect underlying values.
  • Recognizing and aligning with these values is crucial, both for individual fulfillment and for effective functioning within an organization.

Taking Responsibility for Relationships

  • Drucker emphasizes the importance of effective communication in managing relationships. 
  • He advocates for taking responsibility for communicating who we are, what we know, and what we want to achieve.

Planning for the Second Half of Your Life

  • Drucker also talks about preparing for the second half of your life, emphasizing that planning should start early.
  • He encourages readers to contemplate their long-term goals and what legacy they want to leave behind.
  • The book also highlights the importance of considering how one can contribute to society and make a difference in the world.

In conclusion, “Managing Oneself” is an insightful and practical guide that encourages readers to understand their strengths, improve their skills, manage their relationships, and plan for their future. Through actionable advice and practical exercises, Drucker has created a timeless classic that remains relevant and useful in today’s fast-paced world.

To apply the principles from “Managing Oneself” and better manage yourself, consider reflecting on and answering the following questions:

  1. What are my strengths? Use feedback analysis to identify your strengths. What do you excel in naturally? What skills or talents do you have that set you apart?
  2. How can I improve my strengths? Once you’ve identified your strengths, consider the ways you can further develop and utilize them. How can you leverage your strengths to achieve your goals?
  3. What are my values? What are the principles that guide your decisions and actions? What do you hold most important in your life?
  4. How do I perform best? Reflect on your past experiences and identify the conditions under which you work most effectively. Are there specific environments, times of day, or methods of working that enhance your performance?
  5. Where do I belong? Consider the type of work environment and company culture where you best fit. Where can you contribute the most and find the greatest satisfaction?
  6. What should I contribute? Reflect on the unique impact you want to make in your work and in the broader world. What kind of difference do you want to make?
  7. How can I take responsibility for my relationships? Consider how you can improve your communication skills and effectively manage your relationships. How can you better understand and leverage the abilities of those you work with?
  8. What are my long-term goals and how do I prepare for the second half of my life? Reflect on your future ambitions and the legacy you want to leave. How can you start planning now for the long term?

By reflecting on these questions and putting the insights you unearth into action, you can become the CEO of your own life and effectively manage yourself for success.

Before starting an assignment, inspired by “Managing Oneself”, ask yourself:

  • What are my strengths? Identify skills and talents relevant to this assignment.
  • How do my values align? Ensure your values match the assignment’s objectives.
  • How can I perform best? Determine strategies to maximize your performance.
  • Do I belong in this assignment? Assess if the assignment fits your skills, interests, and career goals.
  • What unique contribution can I make? Contemplate the distinct impact you can offer.
  • How can I manage relationships? Plan your communication strategies for effective collaboration.

Related Video Link:

Amitabh Bachchan in Deewar, before taking up an assignment.

Nostalgia and Critique: Ghose’s Doordarshan Journey

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Having grown up watching Doordarshan, a channel that held a special place in my heart as my father, an actor-writer-director-producer, had dealings with Hyderabad Doordarshan, I approached Bhaskar Ghose’s book ‘Doordarshan Days’, with a mix of nostalgia and curiosity. The author’s portrayal of his journey, albeit tinged with criticisms, struck a chord with me due to my personal connection to the world he describes.

Bhaskar Ghose’s memoir offers a multifaceted view of his experiences. While it’s true that he indulges in some cribbing, I appreciate the way he captures the essence of his times with a touch of humor. Growing up with stories of my father’s struggles in the industry, I can empathize with Ghose’s frustrations stemming from the political and bureaucratic challenges he faced. His account of his attempts to revolutionize Indian television resonates with me, as my father also dreamed of pushing creative boundaries within the constraints of the system.

However, I do find myself disagreeing with Ghose’s tendency to view himself as a solitary hero battling against all odds. He might not give enough credit to the collaborative efforts of his colleagues and contemporaries. I understand his desire for recognition, but it’s important to acknowledge the contributions of others, like the successes of shows like Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat, which he tends to downplay or dismiss altogether.

Ghose’s detailed descriptions of individuals he encountered during his journey provide an insightful peek into the inner workings of the industry. While his portrayal might lean towards being critical, it does provide a valuable perspective on the challenges faced by those in power. His interactions with ministers and colleagues, as recounted in the book, give readers a glimpse into the dynamics of the political and bureaucratic landscape of the time.

In the end, while Bhaskar Ghose’s narrative might be colored by his personal perceptions and grievances, I appreciate the effort he has put into sharing his experiences. As someone who has heard stories of the intricacies of television production and bureaucracy from my father, I can understand the complexities he faced. This book serves as a reminder that the history of public broadcasting is shaped by a multitude of factors, and it’s important to consider the perspectives of those who were at the helm, even if their viewpoints are at times contentious.