Animal and Sam Bahadur: Contrasting Films with Lessons for Savvy Investors

Animal and Sam Bahadur: Contrasting Films with Lessons for Savvy Investors

Animal and Sam Bahadur: One film is about a leader of men who lived his life fearlessly in service to the nation, and the other is about a bearded angry man drenched in blood laughing about male body parts and treating women like property, oh yes, in the name of his daddy.

Animal is about Ranbir Kapoor who loves his ‘papa’ Balbir Singh (played by Anil Kapoor) so much that he asks his mother why he cannot be called Balbir II like the sons of kings who took on their father’s name upon coronation. But young Ranbir has a temper, so his father sends him off to America to learn some discipline. His older sister’s husband begins to help out Balbir Singh in his steel factory business. Ranbir comes back upon hearing that his ‘papa’ has been shot by unknown assailants. Ranbir embarks on a killing spree to avenge his dad. Dad doesn’t like it but looks like he doesn’t have much of a say… Much blood is shed, many sidekicks are slashed and stabbed and the director attempts to tell us that Indian men will behave ‘animal-like’ because their dads don’t have the time for them, and will be ‘violent’ (their enunciation, not mine) because young men love their fathers.    

On the other hand, Sam Bahadur is a tiresome cinematic charting of a wiki page of India’s finest army man: Field Marshal Manekshaw. The man who fought in five wars for the country and retired in grace and won the admiration of the soldiers he led on the battlefield. The director seems to be so much in awe of the man, that the film fails to deliver any inspiring message. Despite the awesome subject, the film lacks soul.

What money lessons can be gleaned from such glaringly different films that have been released this week? Let us examine.

Succession drama in Animal: Who inherits your business?

Balbir Singh has inherited the steel factory from his dad and is totally immersed in work. His son-in-law has joined the company and his son (Ranbir Kapoor) has been sent off to the US to learn discipline and to tone that temper. Even though Balbir Singh mentions the stock price of the company, and we see the stock price being mentioned on TV – because work at the factory is at a standstill – when Balbir Singh is shot at, we never really see any board of directors get together or anyone else mention anything about the company.

Will the son-in-law (who has joined hands with the enemies) inherit the factory or will the volatile son who has never really worked at the factory?

If you own a company or are a savvy investor, take your cues from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett himself. He has famously maintained that one should resist the impulse to give your children everything just because you can. “You should leave your children enough so they can do anything, but not enough so they can do nothing.” He also said, “My kids are going to carve out their own place in this world, and they know I’m for them whatever they want to do.”

The laws of succession in India are very clear. All it takes for you to groom someone to take your place, make sure the board of your company is in the know (there are rules that dictate an annual scrutiny of the successor by the board and so on), and yes, just as Warren Buffett finally announced his successor at the company (having provided for his children through their foundations), you too can take your time and prepare yourself for the inevitable. 

And if you are working in your family business, work hard to be noticed so that you can inherit the business. If you try to game the system, failure is guaranteed.

Be like Sam Bahadur: A brave soldier of war and a great leader of men

When World War II came to our doorstep, young Sam Manekshaw survived nine bullets from the Japanese in Burma when he defended Pagoda Hill and recaptured Buddha Hill in order to save a bridge. He fought bravely in four wars after recovering from those wounds. He led the soldiers, inspiring them to never forget the dignity of their uniforms and fought with the politicians who wanted to use the soldiers to build barracks and do other menial work. ‘My soldiers are not bricklayers and carpenters, if the government wants labourers, I will send them names of contractors.’ 

He inspired dispirited soldiers to step in and fight because he was going to make sure they were protected in battle too. He knew they were getting into an unwinnable fight when the soldiers were sent to fight tribal insurgents in the North East. And yes, he strategized the win of our 1971 war for Bangladesh. 

As a savvy investor, you too have to be the field marshal of your money. Know the progress of every stock in your portfolio. Know your material so well, you know how and when to buy and sell when you are trading. 

If it is futures you are interested in, understand the market so well, like Sam Bahadur you too will be able to predict the movement of your money. He knew the day General Yahya Khan of Pakistan would actively begin the war against the insurgents/freedom fighters (Mukti Bahini) in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He is said to have predicted the date India would join the war (December 04, 1971). He was not afraid to tell the then Prime Minister that it would be unwise to send the soldiers to war in the monsoons because we would just lose soldiers plus the melting snow from the Himalayas would give the Chinese another chance to move into Indian lands should we move the troops towards East Pakistan. 

And when adversity comes to your doorstep, you are prepared because you have invested honestly and bravely, and you have the confidence to tackle any adverse movement of the market with your head held high. Just like Sam Bahadur!

Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. She can be reached on Twitter at @manishalakhe.




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Updated: 02 Dec 2023, 12:21 PM IST

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