7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship Learnt from the Bollywood Movie Trishul

Trishul (1978) Image: Wikipedia

Under the weather, on a day with gloomy weather

For a change of environment, I thought of watching one of my favourite Bollywood films, Trishul. The word, incidentally, means a Trident in Hindi, and the movie revolves around three lead male protagonists.

It stars Amitabh Bachchan (the actor in the bottom of the poster for those of you may not know BBC’s Star of the Millennium) and the late actors Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor (left and right in the poster, respectively) as the leading male trio. Trishul is the story of a young man Vijay, who seeks revenge from his father, R K Gupta. The latter has abandoned Vijay’s pregnant mother for the daughter of a millionaire, and eventually becomes a construction magnate in Delhi. But let us leave the plot of the movie and move on to the lessons learnt.

Lesson 1: How To Start A Business When You Do Not Have Money

R K Gupta owns a piece of land which has been occupied by some thugs. Vijay signs an agreement with R K Gupta in which he buys the land for half a Million rupees. He raises funds from one of Delhi’s private money lenders, under the assurance that the goons will vacate the land.

Vijay then uses his own muscle power to throw the thugs out from the occupied land, and sets up his building project. Matter solved: land is cleared, the moneylender loans him money, and he pays off R K Gupta.While the approach may be unorthodox and questionable, how he achieves it is simply brilliant.

Lesson Learnt: Understand the nuances of the business, that will help you figure out ways to overcome the barriers to entry.

Lesson 2: How To Challenge The Market Leader

In Trishul, Vijay systematically destroys the moat that R K Gupta has created to protect his business. Starting from getting inside information about tenders, to defeating Gupta’s credibility in the market, Vijay tries it all. R K Gupta is shown to be a family man, and Vijay tries to create a rift within his family as well. Again, some methods may be questionable, unethical and even illegal. But there is one key lesson learnt.

The lesson learnt: Systematically go after your rival’s moat.

Long Form Poster of Trishul Movie

Lesson 3: Do Not Get Emotionally involved in the Business

Lesson Learnt: Letting the emotions get the better of you may not really the best thing for your startup or business.

Lesson 4: You Need Trusted Lieutenants

Geeta is shown to be dedicated to her work, loyal to her boss, and extremely hard working. So is a person Mehta, an old timer in the construction business who becomes Vijay’s right hand man. Vijay says it as much in his pitch when he hires Geeta,
“My business is growing and I need people like you to keep it growing.”

Lesson Learnt: You cannot build a successful business without a solid team.

Lesson 5: Use The Law To Your Advantage

While doing an inventory check, Geeta informs Vijay that soon all their projects will come to a grinding halt because of a shortage of cement. What does Vijay do? He calls up the cops, who raid the cement warehouses, and frees up the hoarded material. Ironically, the same Vijay who has broken many laws while starting his business now takes the help of the law.

Lesson Learnt: When in a bind, you can reach out to the Law to come to the your business.

Lesson 6: Lunch is for Networking

“Every company’s Director has lunch with Directors of other companies in a high end restaurant.”

Now this may seem like an ostentatious statement, arrogant even. But the key here is that he was also referring to the networking opportunities these lunches offer — a la deals struck on Golf courses. (Shekhar and Sheetal DO play Golf incidentally).

Lesson Learnt: Reminds me of the phrase “Never Eat Your Lunch Alone”

Lesson 7: When Mission is Accomplished, It’s Okay To Merge With Your Rival

Lesson Learnt: It’s all about a Happy Ending

Which brings me to the Question:

In addition to Wikipedia, you can learn more about Trishul on IMDB and Yash Raj Films.

Added later; I also speak about this post in Episode 4 of the Startup Nibbles Podcast.

Creator- Gaatha Story- Podcast of Children's Stories. Cofounder Kamakshi Media and Author. Husband, dog lover. Country Manager for FSC, India. www.amarvyas.com

Creator- Gaatha Story- Podcast of Children's Stories. Cofounder Kamakshi Media and Author. Husband, dog lover. Country Manager for FSC, India. www.amarvyas.com