I distinctly remember the premiere of Na Tum Jaano Na Hum at New Excelsior, Mumbai. Just seeing my name up there as a producer in the end credits was an incredible high. Mazaa aa gaya. It was not a feeling that lasted too long though. Suddenly, that effort of having made a film over a year with a good star cast seemed futile given the rejection at the box office. The fate of the movie was sealed in just three hours. In comparison to the FMCG business, cinema felt like the fastest moving consumer goods business. I felt really low after the failure and even more so because I did not know what went wrong.
That night I sat by myself and did some serious thinking. It dawned upon me that I may never understand why the film failed. As a team we liked it but the power to deliver the verdict was with the viewer. He not only rejected it but did not even bother to say why. And that really hurt. It must have been almost dawn when I reached out for pen and paper. It was not to write a script for my next film but to put down my business mantra going forward. “One should not get attached to what one creates. It creates an unnecessary problem.” I read it a couple of times before I felt a lot lighter and then let myself go to sleep.
In business, being attached to something means you are not in touch with the present. It is important to look ahead after having learnt from the past. That thinking triggered the process of calling my entity, Future Group. And I followed my mantra all the way through. I make it a point to walk into Pantaloons regularly. There are occasions when something I see brings back a memory from the first store opened 20 years ago. I smile to myself and quickly allow my mind to return to the present. And to this day, I write to myself and encourage my colleagues to do it as well.
I mean it when I say there is no attachment. Future Capital was created with a lot of fanfare and we thought we were on the right track. However, things did not work out and today it is a bank. I have created and sold many businesses. Learning and destruction are part of the process. One has to be mature to spot the m