B-school’s film foray
A movie by students of the
Indian School of Business is set to create some unusual
equations and trends in Bollywood, writes Vandana
Anupam Kher and Viveck Vaswani in a still from Buddha in a Traffic Jam
aside D-company. For, here comes the B-school to manage
Bollywood. When a premier business school decides to land up in
the big bad world of mainstream Hindi cinema, reasons have to be
compelling. In this case, some future honchos are trying to
define corporate responsibility, on screen.
Buddha in a
Traffic Jam, a film
with an unusual title to be released by the yearend, is set to
create some unusual equations and trends in Bollywood.
Co-produced by students of the ISB (Indian School of Business,
Hyderabad, ranked 12th among the best business schools of the
world) under the banner of Friday Night Productions with
director Vivek Agnihotri, who is also co-producing the film, Buddha
in a Traffic Jam pre-scripts social concerns and
responsibilities, which future CEOs are going to confront in the
real corporate world. No wonder, all 570 future business leaders
studying at ISB, play a vital role in the making of the film.
It all began
when director Vivek Agnihotri, whose earlier films include Goal
and Chocolate, was invited to teach ‘creativity’ by
the ISB. In a business school environment, he could not help
coming across the much-talked about ‘corporate responsibility’
and the subject triggered heated debates.
of capitalism is that you can carry corporate responsibility,
per se, only when you make huge profits. We may clap when
corporate honchos talk about social welfare projects, we all
know profits are made at the cost of keeping someone poor
somewhere. When corporates go to Bastar or to Orissa with
welfare programmes, how much mineral they have dug out from
their land to fund it! While 70 per cent of the population lives
in abject poverty, we know the reasons why entire districts turn
to Naxalism and the nexus that exists behind all these
nice-sounding concepts," says Vivek.
Director Vivek Agnihotri briefing Pallavi Joshi
understanding for it all did not dawn upon him overnight at the
premises of the business school. For a well-travelled Vivek, the
questions have been nagging his small-town sensibility for many
years. He hails from Bhopal and with scriptwriter Rohit Malhotra,
who comes from Dehradun, another politically active town, they
were able to concretise the concepts of intellectual terrorism,
contemporary Naxalism and the nexus between corporate and
political world, that disturbed them for years.
at ISB, the storyline revolves around Vikram Pandit, played by
Arunoday Singh, a student of the Indian Institute of Business,
who becomes the blue-eyed boy of Professor Jamshed Batki, played
by Anupam Kher.
professor’s influence, Vikram starts public discourses and
publishing articles under his own name that are authored by
Batki. The articles, which deal with the plight of the poor, are
posted on his blog as well as on Facebook.
evolves as it mirrors the primeval agony of the deprived in
India. Vikram offers a modern-day remedy — a radical business
idea that can bypass all red tape and political hurdles.
Gradually, veils are lifted from the faces of people around him
and Vikram realises what he is up against and he must find a way
out of the cesspool to save his life. The film reflects
restlessness with the status quo of society, which refuses to
transform itself despite several attempts at rebellion, like the
JP movement, the rise and fall and resurgence of Naxalism etc.
This also explains the title Buddha in a Traffic Jam.
B schools have no idea about the real India. It is an attempt to
bring them closer to reality," adds Vivek. On their part,
the students have learnt more than creative aspects of
filmmaking, in the process.
from marketing and raising money for the film to its promotion
and publicity classifies as a job of a business management
student. But we were also no less in creativity. We have ideated
upon the script", says Ravi Agnihotri, a student member of
Friday Night Productions.
film will, in
some way, touch the lives of young Indians, who are very keenly
anticipating a new kind of Indian cinema of purpose. I am glad
that my team and students of ISB are part of this project,"
says Vivek, director of the film. Other members of the cast are
Mahie Gill, Pallavi Joshi and Vivek Vaswani.
With the recent
developments of Anna Hazare’s social mobilisation against
corruption, the plot of the film acquires even greater
Before ISB students entered
film business, another management guru, Arindam Chaudhari,
entered film production with The Last Lear and Do