Ashish Lal, Founder, and Director of RedAsh Films Private Limited, a Mumbai-based reputed film production company, shared his insightful journey from being an Xth board exams topper to entrepreneurship without any external support at all.
Q. Hi, Ashish. You are a successful entrepreneur today. You were the Xth board topper in your school. Do you think only toppers can be successful entrepreneurs?
Ashish Lal. Firstly, I’m a work-in-progress entrepreneur. Secondly, yes, I was 1st ranker in my Xth Board exams in my ICSE school. It definitely helps in giving you confidence that your attitude towards work was right. Irrespective of whether you are a topper or an average student, if you have those sets of attitudes, you will eventually succeed in any field. Also, once you degrade and lose the right attitude towards work, you’ll fail in any and every field, especially in the long run.
Q. Can we know specifics of what were your leanings in that phase as a student that helped you in today’s phase of entrepreneurship?
Ashish Lal. Yes, specifics are important, otherwise, it just seems like vague intellectualization that doesn’t help anybody. These are some of the specific learnings from that success as a teenager:
- Eye for detail: I did not go to another paragraph in a book till I understood everything about that paragraph. If I couldn’t, I marked it and then cleared my doubts asap, but never assumed things. The more detail-oriented you are, the more successful at that work you become, and vice-versa.
- Hard work: I used to study an average of about 12 hours during the 45 days of preparation left we were given before the board exams. The minimum on any day was about 11 hours and the maximum was about 14 hours.
- Love your work: Even after working such long hours daily, I used to feel fresh and motivated every single day. It was only because I loved studying.
- Ownership: I was the owner of my studies, not my parents. My parents never had to ask or push me to study, especially after VIIth standard.
- Self-discipline: Self-discipline is the ability to do what is to be done when it is to be done, whether you like to do it at that time or not. We hear a lot of people talk about doing what you love. However, when you go into details, you’ll realize that there are parts that you have to do that you don’t like at all. If you don’t have the self-discipline to be able to do those parts as well, there can be no permanent success. For example, overall, I loved studying, but I did not love studying Civics or Biology. In spite of that, I had among the highest marks in those subjects as well. It was because I was self-disciplined and did not do things as per my mood, but as per my understanding of what is the right thing to do.
- Integrity: Integrity is among the highest virtues of humankind. If you are honest with yourself, your work, and others, then success, however you define it, will kiss your feet one day. I never ever lied to my teachers, parents, students, or myself about anything; this kept me away from any psychological or practical complications and helped me focus only on my work.
These 6 values are something that I still uphold today, after 25+ years of passing out from my Xth standard. As I’ve become more experienced, more values have been added.
Q. Ashish, this is gold! You could publish a book on this. Let me now come to the present phase of yours. You did your engineering at IIT Delhi but eventually ventured into filmmaking. Why?
Ashish Lal. I felt depressed and disillusioned after I started working in the corporate world. I didn’t know that so much hard work in studies would lead to such a mundane life. Somehow, it just didn’t excite me at that age, though now I understand the value of that kind of life as well. I contemplated a lot about what it is that I could be good at and would love to do all my life. I had been an ardent member of the Dramatics club at IIT Delhi as an actor, writer, and director. I realized that the film industry was a place to be. Being a middle-class guy, I couldn’t quit my job just like that. I worked, saved a bit, and then quit.
Q. Thanks, Ashish for sharing such valuable insights into your life’s journey. Can you share something about your company? I heard you haven’t taken any funding in the last 15 years.
Ashish Lal. Yes, I haven’t, and am pretty clear that I don’t want to go for funding for RedAsh Films. We obviously need funds for Bollywood films, but the modus operandi is such that the equity to the investors is given in the project, not the company. I made sure to create a self-sustainable model where corporate film projects could meet our needs so that we could have strong creative control over what and how we wanted to do our entertainment film projects.
RedAsh Films provides end-to-end services, from ideation to scripting, shooting, editing, and animation. It has 3 separate divisions:
- Corporate Films – ads, learning and development, explainers, and corporate AVs for esteemed global clients
- Entertainment Films – Bollywood feature films, short films, TV/web series, music videos, etc.
- Knowledge Films – transformational online video courses under the brand name RedAsh TV
One can check two of our websites.
If someone wants to connect with us, they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.