Saturday, 25 April 2009

Luck by Chance

Though the movie is pretty old, I finally found time to watch this very recently. As I was watching it, so many thoughts flew past my mind which I thought I would share here along with the story itself:

‘Luck by Chance’ is the story of an aspiring actor Vikram (Farhan Akhtar) who wishes to make it big in Bollywood like many other people. He has friends who think that he does not even know the basics of acting, let alone playing the lead role. But his girlfriend Sona (Konkona) believes in his abilities and supports him all the time. At around the same time, the biggest production house in bollywood, the Romy Rolly productions is having a movie made with to launch the daughter Nikki (Isha Shravani) of a yesteryear’s superstar Neena Walia (Dimple Kapadia). It so happens that the original hero of the movie, a famous Bollywood name, Zaffar Khan (Hrithik) refuses to do the movie halfway through the shoot and the production house is looking out for new faces for the lead role.

By a master stroke of lady luck, and of course some help from his girlfriend, Vikram finds himself doing the lead role of the movie. And once he acquires the celebrity status, his life-style changes drastically – he cheats on his girlfriend with beautiful women of the movie land, he belittles his friends as if they dint mean anything, and all the stuff that we usually associate movie people with. During the end of the movie, the lead protagonist realizes how self-centered he has become with his new found status and tries to patch up with his old buddies.

I felt good after having watched the movie and was thankful that someone had the guts to make such a movie. It was a movie about what actually happens in the movie land and someone had taken the pains to show to the outside world its harsh realities. People with real talent struggle for years together to get a role in the movies. After that they have to prove themselves in the industry. The struggle for such people somehow never ends. The lucky ones however manage to make it big overnight and stay at the top for years.

It was at that time I realized that this argument holds true for almost every field where the competition is stiff. There are some lucky ones who always manage to get the same success with a level of preparation that is less than most of the others. And even after too much of preparation and inherent talent, some people never seem to achieve success.

As an example, let us consider the case of one of the toughest entrance exams in the country. This exam is conducted by the premier management institutes in the country for entry into their MBA courses. Close to 3 lakh students take up this examination in the hope of gaining an entry and finally, only 1500 people make it. Thus, the pressure to perform on the day of the exam is immense on every test taker and it is only the performance in that 2.5 hours that decide whether you get to the next stage or not. Students spend years and years preparing for that most important 2.5 hours of their lives in the hope of cracking the test. But due to immense competition, it is only quite a few of them who finally get to go the next stage.

These days, whenever I speak to a friend of mine, the conversation is always about a co-worker of hers who has acquired celebrity status of late by cracking this tough test. I have heard this colleague’s name so many times in the past few months that the name keeps echoing in my ears all the time. Thankfully for me, it is a God’s name :) Till a few days ago, he was just a normal person like any other in the industry – a bachelor who stayed with his friends close to office, working as much as the job demanded, sometimes even on weekends, and seemingly satisfied with his job. But a few days ago, he just sent a mail to his teammates at work saying that he was selected for not one but four of the premier management institutes of the country for a MBA course which made him a celebrity almost instantaneously. His usually quiet desk at office suddenly had turned into a hotspot where people from all over the workplace flocked and asking him all sorts of questions. They asked him how he had managed to crack such a tough exam with such less preparation, how he had managed to keep his cool under pressure in such grilling interviews, asked for tips from him so that even they could crack the exam next time by following his lead and so on… he had become a hero.

I find it quite funny when people give so much importance to what successful people say or do. They feel that if they imitate whatever the successful people do, they will also become successful in life. In college, there are people who borrow books from only those seniors who would have got high marks. There might be a student who might have made the best possible notes. But those are not important. What matters is how celebrities behave. Consider a student who has prepared for an examination for years and years and has adopted the best possible study methods. All those are irrelevant if the student does not do well in the exam. On the other hand, people flock to get that invaluable, ever so precious piece of "preparation-tip" from a successful student even if that student has done it merely by luck.

This guy had no plans of giving the test in the first place. He was happy with his work. But he stayed in a PG room where his friends prepared for the test day in and day out. It was just because of them, he took up the test. Out of three sections in the test, he never used to score in one of them and had given up hope. During the final days of preparation, when many people in office take holidays to prepare for the test, this fellow had worked even on weekends as the job demanded him to do so. He had given up preparation completely and as admitted by him, he had written the test “just for time pass”. He did the two sections by himself and in the third section; he had marked the answers randomly. It was a risk and it had paid off. It was his day. His friends had written other entrance exams and could not manage to get into any of them. But he, who had taken up the exam just for the sake of them, had made it to the top most institutes in the country making everyone envious of him. Besides, there were far more deserving persons who had given their best shot and he had snatched the initiative from one of those people.

What saddened everyone the most was the way that he acted after getting through. Even he was aware it was purely luck that had got him there. But the taste of success had made him so much self-centered and proud. He would no longer work the same way he did earlier, he would crib about the work that he did making the others at work uncomfortable; he would not help others if they were stuck and he even did shrewd calculations about leaving the work on a favorable lucky day.

Not all people are like this guy though. There are ones who really work hard to make it big in life. And when these people make it big in life we feel happy. One of my batchmates at work has also cracked this test this year and has made it to his dream institute. His story is one of hard-work and determination. As compared to the other person’s story, this one is far more motivating and inspiring. Luck was necessary in both cases – but the way in which the latter behaved was totally commendable.

We need to have luck and complete faith to achieve what we aspire for in our lives. Some people are helped by lady Luck more than the others. But assuming that this luck will always be with us till the end of our life and acting smart will serve no purpose. Also, if luck does not favor you even after all the hard-work you did, there is no need to lose hope. It is important to have complete faith in yourself. Ultimately, life will give you what you rightly deserve - not by chance; but for certainty.


Saravanan said...

Aptly said regarding the success.

Lovely post bro. BTW, once you taste success it is very hard to keep yourself at the ground level. The humility in people is lost when they attain the success. He who is successful and humble leaves a lasting impression on others. At least that is what has happened to me.

Glad to know that couple of guys who cracked to the CAT are your friends/acquaintances.

None is interested to know the failures of a person, they prefer to know the success story so that they can get something out of it. Truth is that, it is better to know both the failures and success story as it helps us learn better.

Naveen said...

Interesting post. I read this in a jiffy (engrossed in the match b/w RC and DD). Nevertheless, I did get your idea very clearly. My point of view is that greatness doesn't come just by one stroke of luck, but it has more to do with the attitude towards life itself. So, in a nut-shell, it is not just one set of good marks or one good year at work that makes one great. Unfortunately, most people don't quite understand this. Now that you've mentioned this friend of yours, who recently cracked one of the toughest exams, the kind of attitude he puts up in office these days, I'm just interested to see how he fares in life and I wouldn't be surprised if he starts to complain about this new path he is set out to tread on. I've come across many such people in the past. A certain change in behaviour when one is just about to quit work, like the one that you've written about, that is absolutely mindless. Such people simply have no regard for something that has given them a head start in life. I'm sure that a job in a reputed company would have mattered more than anything else for this friend of yours a couple of years ago. And by disregarding it the way you said he did, it clearly shows his lack of character and maturity. Such people rarely make it to the top and even if they do, I'm sure they won't be able to sustain it.
One the flip side, I've also come across people who treat everything with a kind of intent that makes me admire them, even if they do not quite taste success in everything they do. But, such people are rarely noticeable. You'd find them giving their 100% in everything they choose to do, willing to learn and rarely complain about the stuff they do when it doesn't quite turn out the way they want it to be.
So, people with bad attitude, flaunt their success, and people with good attitude, well, they don't have to flaunt anything, it just shows.

Naveen said...

Oh man! RC lost yet another game. Somehow this happens every time I write when RCs are playing. They were doing alright just before I started writing my previous comment. Anyway, very recently, someone just dished out a killer blow on a certain someone in office, and I just happened to be around the vicinity. I think it is best that we discuss it over lunch. No hard feelings about what I had to say about this friend of yours. I just pity him for what he is and I hope he does well in the future.

Anantha said...

Ummm... I too do not like people who *change* after tasting success.

But, I did not get whether ur frnd just got a call from 4 IIM's or did he manage to clear the GD, interviews etc of all 4? (in which case it is mind boggling)

There may be a factor of luck in clearing these tough entrance exams, but I do not think he could get a seat in IIM's by just having luck beside him, there must be some thing special about that guy... A spark of genius?!

Shashia said...

I agree with your last line when you say we must take advice from both the kinds - the ones who make it and the ones who don't. But I prefer not to call the latter as failures as ultimately "success and failure are what we define for ourself" (one more gem from the movie)

Thanks for your wonderful insight upon he article. What you have predicted is something that we will have to just wait and watch. But I completely agree with your last line - good attitude need not be flaunted; it just shows.

@Ananth Anna,
I acknowledge that this guy is close to a genius. For he has accomplished a feat with so less preparation that the others fail to do even after years of hard-work.

He got interview calls for all the 7 institutes and made it through the final process of four of them. As self-acknowledged by him, he says he dint do "that well" in GD/PI in any of the seven. He also says that he is not "too comfortable" speaking in a group. He says it is the academic record that got him through. Or maybe he does not speak too much of himself - some kind of chupa rustam i believe

Anantha said...

Holy cow! He made it through 4 out of top 7 institutes of Asia(arguably world)?!?!??!

If he says he did not do that-well after all this, either he is too too too modest or pretending he is modest...

Anantha said...

Ohh btw, forgot say few lines abt the movie LBC.

I liked the portrayal of protagonist very much. He is street -smart, he is opportunist, he is talented and upon that luck favors him!! All these traits are there within each of us, there is a Vikram within each and everybody. May be we do not have the guts to say we too host all these qualities and have been using it with/out our knowledge in the road to success :-/

Shashia said...

Yes, we all make use of all the things that you say in our road to success. But most people would want to deny that they do. :)