I have always been fascinated by the movies. Ever since my childhood. The fascination grew stronger when I started working and I had to travel outstations extensively. During those travel trips, apart from the touristy things over the weekends, I started catching up with movies as these were the best alternative if there was nothing else to do after returning from work on weekdays and over the weekends. I would end up watching about 6-7 movies every week. I had many good friends who graciously opened the doors of their libraries and loaned their personal collection of movies to me. After having watched so many movies over a period of time, I have now come to the conclusion that movies indeed play a big role in our lives. They are a very powerful medium that touches all aspects of lives in one way or the other. As a medium, it can be leveraged in a much bigger way than being done at present.

Naysayers and contrarians may argue that movies do nothing but the dream peddling. So What? How does it matter even if they sell dreams? After all, most of the discoveries take the first baby step in the dreams of the inventor. Management thinkers are unanimous on at least one thing that to succeed in career and life one has to be a big dreamer. Only dreamers can challenge the status quo.

I had seen a movie "12 Angry Men" long time back in one of the corporate workshop that I attended. The theme of the workshop was "Team Building and Conflict Resolution". It was a 5-day residential workshop involving many participants who were business leaders at the various levels in the organisation. There was a half-day long session around the movie. The facilitators who were also from the senior leadership used the movie and various anecdotes to drive the point that every individual has two types of behaviors - One is "predominant behavior" and the other is "back-up behavior". As a managers or leaders, we have to be aware of the individual behavior so as to be able to effectively work with them.

I was deeply impressed by the movie and the way it connected with the business problem that we all face. It made me a strong votary of the concept that movies can be an integral part of any educational initiative... whether it is at school or college or even for higher education. Over a period, I have watched various movies many of which I felt could easily be included in any education process. There are many movies that many schools, colleges and institutes have started using as a part of the formal educational curricula to aid and augment the teaching effort.

I was cleaning up my cupboard last weekend when I stumbled upon my notes of the above workshop. The idea struck me to write this blog recommending movies for management students. I refer to management students to all those who are still in colleges as well as those who are at various levels of the hierarchy in respective organisations in their careers.

My recommendations are:

Remember The Titans[1]

is on top of my list. It is a 2000 American drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by by Boaz Yakin. The movie is based on the true story of African American coach Herman Boone portrayed by Denzel Washington. The movie revolves around a school football team of 1971 wherein there were frequent clashes within team members which were more of racially motivated. The head coach Boone goes about making a winning team from that fragmented group. He uses lots of interesting team building activities during this process that are very much relevant even today.

It is a perfect example for management students as to how to build a team when the team members come from diverse backgrounds. The film carries a very important lesson around the factors to be considered when you start building your teams. You may have the best talent but if it does not gel into a cohesive team, then you will reach nowhere.

There was an Indian movie in Hindi inspired by this one named "Chak De India".

3 Idiots[2]

is a 2009 Indian comedy-drama film co-written, edited and directed by Rajkumar Hirani. It was an adaptation from novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. The film has leading Indian star cast including Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor among others. Original movie has been made in Hindi language. It has already been remade in Tamil. There are plans to have a Chinese, Hollywood and Italian remake of the movie. The movie is about a class of engineering students who are chasing their dreams to succeed in their careers. In the way, they are trying to anything that will fetch them good scores. One of the students in the batch had the contrarian thoughts to this theory and the movie revolves around him and his gang.

The key message that the movies drives is that one shall chase the excellence & not the success because success will anyways come to you if you excel in what you do. Do the things with passion and whatever you are good at and then no one can stop you from success. A very important management lesson delivered in a humorous way.

12 Angry Men[3]

is a 1957 American drama film which was adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. Written and co-produced by Rose himself and directed by Sidney Lumet. The movie centers around a court trial and tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they start the discussion to arrive at a unanimous decision on a guilty verdict for a boy accused of murder of his own father. When the movie begins there were 11 jurors in favour of guilty verdict and 1 juror played by Henry Fonda against it. However, in the end 12 are against guilty verdict.

I saw this movie for the 1st time in one of the corporate workshop that I attended on "Team Building and Conflict Resolution" and there was a half a day session around the movie. I was deeply impressed by the movie. This film is a superb lesson in the art of “persuasion” and “consensus building” especially where the team is coming from diverse background with lots of preconceived notions. These traits are essential for any business leader. There are film adaptations in German, Russian and Hindi languages. The Hindi adaptation is titled "Ek Ruka Hua Faisala".

The Pursuit of Happyness[4]

is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the movie has Will Smith playing as Gardner for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

The message which movie has for management students is that if you have a dream that you want to achieve, you have to be optimist and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve it. You have to keep your mind positive and remain confident that you can do it. Indeed there will be a bumpy ride on the way but stay focused on the goal

The King's Speech[5]

is a 2010 British historical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. Colin Firth plays King George VI who, to cope with a stammer, sees Lionel Logue, an Australian speech and language therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. The movie is about the would-be king who suffered from speech problem due to which he would stammer. This had impacted his confidence in leading the nation. The movie is about how he meets an unconventional therapist who was not a doctor by qualification but had treated lots of Australian war veterans who had impaired speech due to shell shock during the war.

The message movie gives to management students, whether in college or in various stages of career, is that if you are like many of those leaders who know the issue but struggle with asking for and accepting the help that you might need to perform to your highest potential, you are depriving yourself—and your organization—of your true potential. Overall, a good movie set-up in a non business scenario driving a great business message for the management students.

[1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210945/
[2] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1187043/
[3] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050083/
[4] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454921/
[5] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1504320/