Mogambo Khush Hua! Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Bollywood Villain - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Mogambo Khush Hua! Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Bollywood Villain

Aug 19, 2014


You must be wondering what the evil Mogambo, drumming his rings on his marble globes laughing that doom-filled laugh proclaiming 'Mogambo khush hua!' can teach you about leadership. But think about this: He was running a globally successful, extremely profitable empire, had an army of well-functioning, high-tech, highly-loyal employees, had an enormous throne to sit on, and was always khush.

To obtain that kind of success and happiness Mogambo had to be a brilliant leader. So let's set aside his evil destructive streak for a few minutes, and see if we can learn something from his unique leadership style.

  1. Dream as Big as you Dare.

    Mogambo lived larger than life. He was not afraid to dream ridiculously big dreams, and was not afraid to announce them to the whole world. His goal was to destroy India - not just a galli, not just a city, an entire country. He wanted the whole world to proclaim 'Hail Mogambo! King of India.' He didn't care if people would laugh and say 'That's impossible!' He believed in himself, and with that courage of conviction he chased his dreams.

    And that's what a great leader does. Aim high, dream big, and reach for the stars. Because the only person who needs to believe - is you!

  2. Sell Your Vision to the World.

    Mogambo sold his vision and mission with such conviction that he had everyone in his empire on board. He explained in great detail to everyone gathered in his lair how and why he would conquer India, until they were moved to chant 'Hail Mogambo! King of India!'

    A good leader must communicate his vision with clarity and conviction. Everyone who works with you should believe in your purpose as a company, and work towards a common mission. So call as many company meetings as you can in your lair (or you might prefer to do so in your conference room) and tell them exactly where your ship is headed.

  3. Lay out Elaborate Plans for Your Success.

    Mogambo did more than just dream, though. He took action. He designed and set into motion a brilliantly evil plan to fulfill his evil mission, which included missile creation and bomb manufacturing, and even polluting the whole country's rice and daal with kankar-pathar (stones) - a detailed and innovative strategy.

    If your dream is big then your plan must be detailed, innovative, yet simple to execute. Do whatever it takes to make your plan materialize. Be innovative, be different, and try every possible strategy.

  4. Inspire Loyalty in Your Team.

    Mogambo had an army of loyal soldiers, including the trusted advisors Daga and Teja. They faced untold dangers (such as the invisible man who beat them up) for their work and went out of their way in service of the business. He rewarded them well, lavishly praising their good work, often announcing 'Mogambo khush hua' to show his pleasure, and I'm sure they all became rich in the job as well.

    A loyal and talented staff is the strength of any leader. You should cultivate a loyal team by ensuring that you acknowledge their work, remunerate generously to show they are valued, and guide them when they need direction and support.

  5. Harness the Power of Technology.

    Mogambo was using technology never before seen in any evil Bollywood empire, such as an underground pool of steaming acid with automatic sliding doors, and robots patrolling his lair. Technology is developing so rapidly most people find it intimidating to keep up, but in today's fast-paced world if you're not moving ahead you're falling behind. Don't let that happen, get on board with technology, and it'll take your business across the world.

  6. Don't Micromanage, Trust your Employees.

    Mogambo sat there on his throne clicking his fingers on the globe laughing his wonderful resounding laugh, and completely trusting his people to do a good job. He gave them clear instructions (whether it was to destroy India or take over an orphanage) and his staff went about their business to the best of their capabilities, solving problems and dealing with challenges along the way. In fact, they only turned to him for help eventually when things got out of hand, like being attacked by an invisible man, Mr. India. Then he stepped in to take care of it.

    That's what a good leader does - he provides support, guidance, and training to ensure his team can do a good job, and he is not afraid to delegate. Good training and reporting systems imbibe an efficient work flow and maintain trust and autonomy between a leader and his people.

  7. Understand your Market's Nuances.

    Mogambo was well-versed in the market for evil goods, and he found his niche customer base. Realizing that no Indian would want to buy a gold statue of a God (Hanuman) stolen from a temple, he looked to see where his target customer was (abroad) and adopted international business tactics. As a leader, be willing to look beyond your comfort zone for success. The world is your market, so zone into your niche and cater to your customers.

  8. Persevere - Don't Let Failure Knock You Over.

    Perhaps Mogambo's greatest quality was his perseverance. Even in the face of stark opposition he believed in his dream and pursued it with the greatest energy. He knew that to succeed he would need solid will power and the ability to get up and keep going when he is knocked over. When threatened with a challenge, the invisible man, he fought to his bitter end. A leader doesn't give up. He knows that failures are just hurdles on the way to success.

  9. Maintain a Good Work Environment.

    Mogambo's lair was amazing. There was lots of space, great décor (a lit-up muliticoloured map of India) and even a pool (although it was filled with acid). Unfortunately it was underground... perhaps a leader should think about somewhere with sunlight and air instead? He also dressed the part of a leader. There is a saying 'Don't dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.' And Mogambo sure dressed royally, as a world conqueror should.

  10. Stay Positive.

    'Mogambo khush hua', he announced over and over again, letting everyone know he appreciated their work, and that it made him happy. And in turn his employees were happy. They loved their jobs and their leader. So stay positive, and everyone around you will feel positive too.

  11. And the Most Important Lesson of All: Do Good, Not Harm

    You must be wondering by now, if Mogambo had such great leadership qualities, why did he fail in his mission to destroy/conquer India? If his vision was so clear, why did India survive and Mogambo get defeated?

    The answer to that question is the most important lesson you can learn from Mogambo.

    Mogambo had one major failing. He dreamt for himself. His goal was for himself. It wasn't for anyone else to gain from and in fact harmed everyone but him. There's one simple rule a good leader should follow 'Do no harm'.

    Obviously then, don't be evil. Don't threaten, don't destroy, don't bomb, and don't take over an orphanage, because 'good' will come along and defeat you, every time. For every Mogambo there is a Mr. India out to set things right.

    So choose to be Mr. India. Let your goal be noble and productive, both for yourself and others, and then follow Mogambo's leadership qualities to achieve good in the world.


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20 Responses to "Mogambo Khush Hua! Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Bollywood Villain"


18 Sep, 2015

It's ok, nothing great since all these points are recalled by many thinkers in several articles before. You have rearranged it properly, however thanks since it's good to remind some people who lack these qualities every time.


17 Sep, 2015

An excellent article on leadership qualities. Hoping to see many more articles like this one.

Praveen Bahuguna

25 Dec, 2014

This was a great article, which I happened to read by chance yesterday, while reading a book by Jack Welch. I analysed to draw parallels with some other personalities, but found that the leadeship qualities matched closest to Mogambo. I have forwarded the same to the Top Management in my organisation for pondering over it.

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25 Nov, 2014

it very nice to talk.


23 Aug, 2014

Awesome article. Keep up the good work


21 Aug, 2014

Thank you all! I'm glad you all saw the article in the spirit it was meant... I do believe the story of Ramayana reflects this idea ... I am now trying to read it again to glean lessons I can use in future writing... Kiran: Mogambo was pure evil... but I was trying to use his example as humour to contrast what is good ... leadership ability is nothing without good intentions... which is why Mogambo failed, why Hitler was felled... my point is that with his talents just imagine if he worked for good .. the whole of India would have risen and Mr. India would have supported instead of defeating him ... so we should learn from him but not do as he does Prashant: I do not think I am innovative enough to get lessons from rakhi Savant .. hehe...but who knows everyone has something to teach so maybe I'll give it a shot ;p

G Krishna Moorthy

20 Aug, 2014

What an article! I liked it. It is wonderful and it is different. Analysis is brilliant. All the Positives have been captured and the essentiality of discarding the negative thing was highlighted in a magnificient manner. Please keep it up.


20 Aug, 2014

Great write up on Mogambo , a typical villian. Almost all villians or bad men, who have been initially very successful have had all the good qualities in them. But as a result of success and possibly, over ambition they have ultimately been felled by the Hero. This is reflected in our mythology; Ravan and Ram; Kans and Krishna. In late and middle 20th century, Hitler was a great leader, but he went awry and was felled by the combined forces of Allies. If Hitler had succeeded , he would have been the Hero, who brought up Germany from the ignominy of defeat in World War One , to the level of conquering entire Western Europe. How do leaders get Loyalty ? Well loyalties are bought ! Difficult to digest. Let me give you an example. Akbar had loyal Rajputs , but he BOUGHT their loyalty, by giving them positions and concessions. Britishers bought loyalty of Indian soldiers by classifying and glorifying certain castes and communities as MARTIAL. I am not a cynic, but these are hard undeniale facts. So we must, as you say, learn even from Villians. I loved your rticle as it is hard hitting but factually and actually very correct. GOD bless you. Regards. Manohar

M V Mallya

20 Aug, 2014

Mogambo is a bollywood Villain whose leadership qualities are analysed nicely. But Ravan is a villain in Ramayan, who had excellent leadership skills and moral values. May I reqeust you analyse the same and enlighten us.

CN Tilgulkar

20 Aug, 2014

Wow. what a analysis ! Its really Hatke, catch line is how you can take from negatives , positive traits. If you know Ramayana, at the end Rama also respected Ravana for his abilities. Rather he prevented Laxmana from insulting Ravana. Liked very much

rupa murali

20 Aug, 2014

Nice article again... its simple and nice....

CK Swarnkar

20 Aug, 2014

Nice Article , this will encourage many persons.

Prashant M. Deshpande

19 Aug, 2014

Usually I tend to ignore the old fashioned topics on leadership which usually have nothing new to offer. But I must confess that the title itself was so inviting that I was forced to read. I must agree, my time was very well spent :) Global market, use of technology, work environment... Wow ;) ;) Who on earth will choose Mogambo to get her point across than one innovative thinker... You thinking is "out of the box" for sure !!! Apun bhi Khush Hua :) Wondering... Who's next? Public Demand: Rakhi Sawant


19 Aug, 2014

I liked the earlier articles by the writer. This time, I feel the analogy is incorrect and harmful. Mogambo ruled by fear, killing his people who failed. I enjoyed the movie, the late Amrish Puri's acting and the sheer evil of Mogambo. However, I certainly would not count him as a role model for leadership ! What is the writer trying to prove by using such examples ? What is next ?! Shakaal from Don ?! Gabbar Singh from Sholay ?! Dr. Dang from Karma ?!

Arvind Kumar

19 Aug, 2014

I really liked all the leadership qualities that you mentioned in your article, you excellently co-relate everything. They will definitely be helpful for me. But in the end I am totally disagree with that, a mission is mission, it is not right or wrong. I understand that the people must be motivated for good only, but when you are talking about a mission, it is mission not good or bad, it is just a perception. Dawood is doing same kind of work and I think he might be successful in his own term, might not be in my own criteria or your criteria. I think for point no.11, something more have to be thought out. With Best Regards, Arvind Kumar

Jateen Damani

19 Aug, 2014

Anisaji, I am always eagerly awaiting your emails and have been reading all your articles with a lot of interest. Even at the age of 54, I find a lot to learn from your articles. Reading "Mogambo Khush Hua! Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Bollywood Villain" has been a great treat and with a different angle of a villain. If you have an inclination you can learn what is good for you even from a villain. Superb Madam, keep it up!!!!!


19 Aug, 2014

An excellent article. FABULOUS AND PAR EXCELLENCE. Never thought we could learn so many leadership lessons from Mogambo or even relate Mogambo with leadership qualities as we understand. A truly new perspective on Mogambo. Who next? Gabbar Singh? Well written article that we can relate to easily

nitin borse

19 Aug, 2014

Its nice and different view of analyzing Mr. Mogambo...

Turab Dedanwala

19 Aug, 2014

Really an inspiring article with well thought wordings. What is needed is the action. It would have been more useful if the action points were also listed out under each thoughts to be reenergised.


19 Aug, 2014

Well written article. Do appreciate your point of view.

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