16 career lessons from Rohit Shetty

“My job is to make superhit films”- Rohit Shetty

16 career lessons from Rohit Shetty

Rohit Shetty

Rohit Shetty is one of the most successful directors in Bollywood, with a string of benchmark INR 100 Crore (approx USD 20 mn) hit movies. Is his success just a matter of chance or is there a science behind the juggernaut? Can ordinary people learn important career lessons from his success?

Here are 16 lessons that I think are worth learning from his success:

#1 Start early

Rohit Shetty started his career at 17 years as an assistant to the director of the movie Phool aur Kante in 1991.

#2 Follow your passion

Born in a family of film fanatics, Rohit was always interested in movies. He decided to follow his passion early on and did not waiver from his decision.

#3 In the initial years what you learn is more important than what you earn

Shetty earned barely few hundred Rupees at the beginning of his career. What sustained him was his passion and zeal to learn film-making.

#4 Be a good apprentice

For the first 13 years of his career, Rohit was an apprentice to several directors, working as an assistant. This phase helped him to observe and learn the nuances of film-making and he was willing to pay the price instead of craving instant success.

#5 Nurture long-term relationships

Shetty developed a rapport with Ajay Devgn and the partnership continued for more than two decades. Ajay Devgn has acted in all his films before Chennai Express. It is a partnership that clearly helped both of them to scale new heights in their careers.

#6 Master the craft

Shetty has perfected the art of popular film-making – casting, sketching out memorable characters, encouraging actors to give their best, amazing comic and action sequences. He is a master of the action-comedy genre, with a supreme gift for comic timing and sense of humor. He explains the making of Singham in this Youtube video.

#7 Appeal to core emotions

His films appeal to the core emotions of being entertained, having fun and more than anything else, never-ending laughter.

#8 Know your audience well

He knows his audience very well and caters to common people who like being entertained. He is not after the overly-intellectual or making movies only for critical acclaim.

#9 Know your medium well

Through his years of apprenticeship, he understands film-making better than most other people as a medium for telling funny stories. He has clearly done his 10,000 hours of practice and perfection early in his career.

#10 Preserve the core of your success formula

He has developed his success formula as pure entertainment, comedy and unique action scenes. He preserves his success formula while expanding on it in different scenarios. He has also displayed a fine business sense by expanding his successful franchise in the “Golmaal” series.

#11 Have fun

More than anything else Rohit Shetty gives the impression of having fun while doing what he loves. He has also indicated in interviews that he likes to insulate himself from critics, newspaper comments and negativity. This helps him to focus on what he is passionate about. Ultimately he focuses on what needs to be done, staying true to his vision.

#12 Dream big

Rohit Shetty wants success on a larger canvas. The scope of his dreams has increased with his career. His choice of stories, characters and the portrayals reveal that. He just goes from one level of success to a higher level.

#13 Thrive on chaos

Rohit’s movies are fast-paced, comically hurtling from one disaster to another at a frenetic speed with countless twists and turns; with nary a dull moment. While the conventional critics have criticized him for lack of a strong storyline, his plots are rich in terms of surprises.

#14 Create a sense of drama

He is a master of dramatizing the moment. Every moment in his films is milked for its full potential of comical intrigue. A classic example is the dramatic and funny manner in which the heroine proposes in the movie Singham. There is also the famous climax scene in Singham, that was considered inspiring enough for the entire Goa police force to watch the movie together.

#15 Push the envelope

Rohit has pushed the envelope for action scenes in his movies. In each movie, he makes them more spectacular, dramatic and engaging.

#16 Provide value for money

And finally, it is rare that a viewer comes out of a Rohit Shetty complaining or asking for their money back. He provides complete value for the money spent with non-stop laughter, chaotic plots, over-caricatured characters, hilarious spoofs on older movies, memorable songs and a lot more.


  1. Have you identified your passion and do you care enough about it?
  2. Are you willing to go the distance and learn the craft?
  3. Are you willing to do it just for the fun and passion for your work?
  4. Do you network and nurture relationships that matter in the long run?
  5. Do you dare to dream big and to make it happen?




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Sharad Verma is currently HR Head (CHRO) for Sears Holdings India.

Sharad’s blog on leadership, talent and innovation is available at www.iSharad.com. Sharad has been named one of the Top 20 Social Media HR Influencers by SHRM, featured as one of the Best HR Heads in India and his column featured in the top 5 most read career advice on Star career website.

A graduate of the prestigious XLRI, Sharad has more than two decades of HR experience. He has previously been Global Head – Human Resources for Polaris Consulting & Services Ltd, Director, Human Resources for SunGard Global Technology, Head of Human Resources for Berkadia (subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway), Monster.com, and The Bank of New York Mellon India.

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5 thoughts on “16 career lessons from Rohit Shetty

  1. Just one thing. I deeply love Rohit Shetty – not because of his success, but because he is man with a golden heart. He is a good human being and that is enough for a fan like me to admire him.

  2. Rohit Shetty u r the most adorable and one of the most talented director in bollywood. I believe one I also can be also become a gud filmmaker/ director like you.

  3. Why have I not seen this before? This is so well put. I really loved reading this. Rohit is the most amazing person I know, so real, honest and hardworking. And I’m so glad you have written an article on his good points (not that he has any bad) its just that when an Indian is successful fellow Indians like to put him down, but you’ve praised him and given him the respect he deserves, I thank you for that. Even in his films, that message of goodness is always there. He deserves it all and much more!! 🙂