Author, Shawn Vij hits ‘rewind’ on Old Bollywood Values – recalling his famous Uncle’s portrayal in Mother India


Legendary Film actor – producer, Rajendra Kumar captivated audiences with his unassuming performances in the 1960s. He was relatable and his film success came in roles as the man who stood up for core values such as family and society (e.g. 1957 – Mother India).

Two generations later, Global Business Leader, Shawn Vij takes after his great uncle and strikes the same chord of VALUES on a new generation in his upcoming book, Moral Fiber – Living Our Values.

Indian millennials are inseparable from Bollywood. It is a way of life and it shows in the number of movies produced yearly (between 1,500 – 2,000). In fact, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has already said that the next 100 million subscriber growth will come primarily from India for Netflix.

As Vij states, “When I watch old black and white Indian films, I am reminded of the pure authenticity and selflessness the characters portrayed. The industry was prepared to unveil the tough realities of Indian Life, in classics like Mother India and Pyassa.” Unfortunately, we have fallen to escapism with the all-conquering song and dance movies. They are enjoyable but they have taken a life of their own.

As Phil Hoad, writer for the World Economic Forum states, “The tide may now be shifting. A fledging Indian independent film scene is prepared to ditch the songs, cut the running times and get its hands dirty depicting India as it truly is.”

Mainstream Bollywood has steered away from politics and timely issues for some time. However, for it to evolve, it must re-shift its lens and begin to unveil the ‘ugly’ and focus on issues that are meaningful. Indian Millennials want socially progressive content (e.g. climate change, inequality, fair trade, discrimination, etc.) and want to voice their values on this platform. And yes, they want to be entertained.

As Vij argues, “we have a responsibility to re-discover our values through the stories we tell one another. There is an opportunity to remind ourselves film can be used to inspire others rather than escape and numb our realities.”

Shawn Vij is an accomplished business leader who has over 25 years of industry and consulting experience. He has worked in various leadership positions for Ford Motor Company, Ernst & Young, VISA, Deloitte Consulting, Microsoft, and Intel Corporation. He holds an MBA from Purdue University, MS in Engineering from the University of Michigan and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Shawn can be followed on Instagram @shawnvij

Shawn was raised in the US Midwest and now resides in the Pacific Northwest.

His new book is Moral Fiber – A Practical Guide to Living Our Values.

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