Reading the End Credits

 | October 19,2013 12:45 pm IST

This seems to be an amazing Wimbledon for the Indians. Both Sania Mirza and Leander Paes hit the gold.

Bhupathy came a close second with the silver. We really do well in a team. Even of two. Whether it is a girls' team or a mixed team or a men's team. (Though it is another facet of the matter that we never do individually well. Even management books are written by a team, more often than not.)


Why, the only time we make a name for ourselves is in a team effort. Whether it is Monsoon wedding, winning the Golden Lion, or it is Asian Beat hip-hopping in America. When Punjabi-MC collaborates with Jay-Z, merging bhangra with American rap.*


For the moment though, there is enough manna dropping from the heavens. As I sip my share as an Indian fan, I wonder on the rolling end credits of every success - of the unsung labor of every single individual that makes a team. That makes a magnificent end product.


We often get up and walk as the names start rolling by. In an animation film, we may perhaps pause to acknowledge that Sebastian Cabot was the deep baritone behind the mesmerizing Bagheera**. Or that the commanding voice of Hopper as he snarls, "Ideas are very dangerous things,"*** is actually that of Kevin Spacey. (Reminds me of an erstwhile boss, every time I hear that.)


But what about the light boy, pray? Or the computer specialists who designed Shrek?**** Yet, each of them added his/her bit. In that untrammeled, pure fun we all had for an hour or two. Within the theatre of life.


In a "Which role do you play in a team", questionnaire*****, I remember getting thrilled with high scores on "Plant." And looking around guiltily with a zero in "Shaper." And a rather dismal score in "Company man". It had something to do with Internal/External focus on one axis and Competition/Collaboration on the other. And each role (there were more) falling somewhere in the four quadrants.


Until the professor pointed out that for a perfect team, you need someone with a gift for every role. A "Plant" for ideas and creativity, a "Shaper" for driving when the team falls asleep when the tunnel is only half dug. A "Company man", to type the last draft and correct the spelling mistakes others have made in their bombastic creative spells. Not to forget the "Chairman" who will soothe ego clashes and make everyone contribute to the mushroom pizza's bill - the unruly Plant included.


(My ecstasy with the iconoclastic Plant fell soon enough. When it was disclosed that most times the Plant lives in another planet. That twirled merrily in its own goofy atmosphere.)


The invisible "Company man", with his meticulous eye for details, complements the overarching vision of the Chairman. The Shaper converts into ground reality the amorphous ideas that the Plant creates. Finally, the product emerges - to tantalize the senses of the consumer. Whether it is an enthralling animation of Cinderella, or the Tech company that comes first in the Information Technology Top 100 - beating both others and the tech-slump.******


What is seen is so insignificant when compared to the work behind doors. Where every role has its special meaning. And contributes in a way which is unique. Yet the credit typically goes to the spokesman of the company. To the Ari Fleischers of the world. Who remembers the speechwriter?


So next time you watch "Kabhie Kabhie", definitely enjoy the sheer perfection of Shashi Kapoor's smile, Rakhee's tears and the Mukesh intonation in the background. Then wonder about the lyrics, the music direction, the lighting and the flowers. But do not forget the jewellery designer who designed Rakhee's nose-ring. Stay awhile as the credit rolls by. I rest my case.


* In his latest single "Beware of the Boys", Jay Z has his rhymes dancing to Bhangra. Reference: "Little India", June 2003.
** Walt Disney, Jungle Book.
*** A Bug's Life, Pixar/Walt Disney.
**** Won an academy award for special effects in animation if I remember right.
***** "Meredith Belbin Team Role Questionnaire".
****** The IT top 100 by Business week, June 2003. Headed by Nextel Communications/USA followed by Dell and Samsung. Infosys is ranked 74 in the list. Decided by revenues/growth/return on equity/ total return and profits.