10 Sep 2018



The School of Management organized an Expert Lecture on “Leadership and Team Building – The Lagaan Model on 24 August 2018. The beauty of managerial aspects from the movie Lagaan were captured by Prof N.K. Kakkar, Professor and Advisor, Maharaja Agrasen University, Himachal Pradesh. This was an add-on in  JRD Tata lecture series.  This session taught the students the importance of leadership and team building and captured the influential nature of the character Bhuvan from the movie.  Prf. Kakkar motivated each student to not only behave like a winner but also  to emerge out as a winner by relating certain events of the movie to personal life experience.

  • Lagaan (released worldwide as Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India) is a 2001 Indian epicsportsdrama film. The story revolves around a small village whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, find themselves in an extraordinary situation as an arrogant officer challenges them to a game of cricket as a wager to avoid the taxes.   Kakkar recalled how Gail proposed a challenge  in February 2002 on the front page of  Times Of India – “Can movie Lagaan be a model for managerial aspects?” This is when he along with his students (JIMS, Rohini) started working on this project. He proceeded in the following way:

Winners and Losers, both are physically the same but it is the attitude that makes them different-

Winner Loser
Focuses on the part of the answer Focuses on the part of the problem
Says “Let me do it for you” Says “That’s not my job”
Find answer in every problem Find problem in every answer
Says “It is difficult but possible” Says “It is not at all possible because it is difficult”


Prof. Kakkar highlighted that in the corporate world, it is the attitude of a winner which helps one to groom and shine brighter. Winners always carry a positive attitude towards life.

Prof. Kakkar shared some wonderful concept of an exercise to justify the significance of attitude.

When we assign A=1, B=2, C= 3 ….. Z=26

K+N+O+W+L+E+D+G+E = 96%

H+A+R+D+W+O+R+K = 98%

A+T+T+I+T+U+D+E   = 100%

The facts in the session proved how Bhuvan in the movie changes everybody’s fate by his positive attitude.

Problem in the movie: Villagers are forced to pay double taxes even if there is no rainfall the very year.

“Problems in a way have solution in disguise.”

“Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.”

For example: The Cricket Ball. Every Ball delivered in an over brings threat/problem for the batsman but it also brings an opportunity to score and win.


“Whenever there needs to be a change, there is always some oppositions.”

Except Bhuvan, everybody gave up even before accepting the challenge. But Bhuvan took it as an opportunity and emerged as a leader.

We can witness from several clips from the movie that Bhuvan tried convincing others even after facing a lot of oppositions. He faced discouragement but he didn’t give up. He held a positive attitude throughout.

The session taught that Team Building involves the following steps-

  • Selecting the right members.
  • Providing them necessary training.
  • Motivating all the members to work for the accomplishments of common/shared objectives.


Team functioning brings synergy.

What makes a good team?

  • Goal clarity: a good team will never have doubts of their individual and accumulative goals.
  • Role clarity: the members of a good team know what exactly their jobs are and how they need to perform.
  • Mutual trust: there should be a sense of belief among the members of a good team.
  • Mutual support: there should be a sense of understanding and a wave of uplifting each other in a good team.
  • Good communications: there should be no communication barriers in a good team. They should exchange information in a effective way.
  • Self-Control and Self-Evaluation: the members of a good team need to evaluate one another and also themselves to track their progress and have control of their tasks.


A team can be effective only if it has a good leader. A leader is a person who is

in-charge of the team and can influence everyone in the team.

Leadership style is also based on the maturity level of the participating team members:

Bhuvan’s leadership qualities and how he formed his team:

  • A leader must have self-confidence but he needs support of people.
  • He was motivating and stating that the game is easy and showcases his talent and how to play.
  • He failed but didn’t give up.
  • A leader has to exhibit an example by taking the lead himself.
  • People are always afraid of the unknown but the leader has to lead.
  • Every leader needs a coach which justifies the role of Elizabeth in the movie.
  • Bhuvan chose Goli because he has the ability to throw a ball and aim properly.

Prof. Kakkar showed the students a never seen side of a piece of entertainment which portrays some very important aspects of management. The movie Lagaan indeed teaches us the importance of leadership and team building, the essence of positive attitude in life and the need of a change for a better tomorrow.