Gabbar Singh – A Case Study

I wonder how Harvard Business Review (HBR) has missed out a ‘Case’ on ‘Gabbar Singh’ of Sholay! Anyways, let’s make a beginning!

Early Life & Education – Gabbar Singh’s origin is fairly unknown. According to a local legend, he was born and brought-up in hilly terrains of a naxalite region in India. He attended criminal camps and was trained under the able guidance of a defamed Dakoo of his time. His General Knowledge was weak but his Jungle Knowledge was excellent.

Early Career as Bandit – He graduated from one of the famous gangs of goons. He preferred entrepreneurship over unorganized criminal services. He established his own start-up called ‘Sholay’ which was financed with 100% equity seed capital. Gabbar was an aggressive investor. He was not in favor of debt. He had his own financial ratios. The one he liked most was called – Death-Equity Ratio.

A Short Stint in Jail – Gabbar had to intern for a short span of time in prison due to over sincere attitude of ‘Thakur-Saab’. It is said that he was a terrific designer and he loved civil engineering. He used his innovative ideas and escaped from the jail in less than a month’s time (inmates et al., 1975).
The Execution Premium – Gabbar had acquired considerable expertise in Strategic Management. He believed in on-time execution in key areas of business. Among Porter’s Five Forces he considered “Rivalry” as the most urgent and relevant force. His disruptive ideas led to fall of ‘Thakur-Saab’. 

Managerial Implications – Gabbar was ‘Theory X’ kind of of manager. He was autocratic in his style. He use to read a lot about life and time of Sir Adolf Hitler. He made his employees feel guilty of their mistakes and even sacked them from life for failing to deliver on project assigned to them. Gabbar was a risk taker. He applied some Gaussian Probability Sampling Theories while killing people (e.g. what is the probability of A given B..3 goli with 6 holes and 3 men etc..). Gabbar always applied ‘Normal Distribution’ to decide the age of innocent people to be killed and sent back to town on horseback.

Takeover by Jai and Viru – ‘Thakur-Saab’ appointed Jai & Viru of ‘Yeh Dosti Associates’ as investment bankers and management consultants to execute the takeover deal of Gabbar. Their company suffered huge losses like the death of one of their partners, but eventually successfully executed the deal and carried out due diligence formalities. Unfortunately due to death of one of the partners, their firm Yeh Dosti Asso. was liquidated and the proceeds were used by Viru for his marriage with Basanti, owner of an established sole proprietary  firm named Dhanno Motors.

Conclusion and Scope for Future Research – Human Resource Management and Strategy are inseparable from each other. It’s people who plan and people who execute any strategy. Success of an entrepreneur depends, among other things, on establishing long-term goals and vision. Mission statements cannot be based on what an organisation does. They have to be based on what it is desirous of doing differently in times to come. 

Success in business and more so in life depends on courage to take on everything and anything that attempts to frighten you. To quote our fallen hero ” Jo Dar Gaya, Samjho Mar Gaya”.



References –
  • Sholay, 1975 produced by G.P. Sippy and directed by Ramesh Sippy.
  • Jhony Lever & Raju Shrivastav


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Author: anilkshatriyablog

I work as Assistant Professor in the area of Accounting at IMT Nagpur. I love teaching, writing and cycling. I follow a simple principle, 'Help ever, hurt never'.

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