Searching for Sugarman – A review by Dr. D. Gupta, Amrita School of Business
Imagine that you could sing like Don Mclean, write like Bob Dylan, and had been signed on by one of the more successful promoters of your time. Imagine that you poured your talent and your heart out into not one but two albums. Two outstanding albums. And no one bought them.
Imagine that you had quietly slipped into obscurity like Rip Wan Winkle and were woken up years later by a phone call one day to find out. That you had been a legend for years, your songs an anthem for an entire generation, and your music had sold in the millions. Sold more than Elvis, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones! But in a country far away and a people you had never met. And no one ever knew. At least no one you knew ?
Imagine that you went to the country in question and thousands and thousands turned up for your concerts. And people wept in joy when they saw you in person. And told you about what your songs had meant to them in their dark days. Imagine that you stepped on a stage for the first time in years. And an entire stadium rose as a person to welcome you. And the ovation just would not stop. And you had not even sung a word. Imagine that you suddenly realized that you were a superstar. The superstar that you were always meant to be. The superstar you had long ago come to accept that you were never going to be.
Imagine that you were now on stage surveying this sea of adulation. This unbelievable reception. Imagine that you took one long lingering look at the ecstatic crowd. And then calmly went to work, rocking the stadium alive. So naturally. As if this is what you had been doing every day the past few decades.
Now imagine if this was a true story, and some one had made a documentary on it. Made a documentary on it and won an Oscar for telling your story. The person in question is a Mexican-American musician named Sixto Roudriguez and the documentary in question – winner of the Oscar for the best documentary in 2013 – is called “Searching for Sugar Man.” The documentary actually tells the story about the documentary makers search for Sixto Rodriguez. This mysterious musician whose songs had stirred an entire generation of South Africans but whom no one from South Africa had ever met. In the telling of this story it tells many linked stories, including one of a country’s (South Africa) search for its moral soul.
But the star of the story, unquestionably, is the man himself. Sixto Rodriguez. The man’s talent is obvious. But there is something more than talent happening here. Even more powerful than the story is the gentle understated presence of Sixto. Its a presence that stays with you long after the music is over. And then gently settles in for the long haul ? So you are really not surprised when days later you find yourself smiling for apparently no reason at all. Thinking about the story. Rocking away to an invisible beat. And thinking about the Sugarman. He’s got the sweets on you ?
To be born with music in your heart – what a gift. To be able to inspire hundreds of thousands with your songs – what a blessing. To remain true to your song when failure and success come knocking, to be so untouched by fame or its absence – what a life, what an inspiration! This documentary’s a keeper. And Sixto, if only we – and our business and political leaders – had your moral clarity and courage. This would be a different world.
Dr. Deepak Gupta
Professor, Marketing at Amrita School of Business
B. Tech. (IIT-D), PGDM (IIM-C), M. S. (Mktg., California-Berkeley), M. A. (Econ., California- Berkeley), Ph. D. (California-Berkeley)
Note: This is a sponsored article and has NOT been written by the PaGaLGuY Editorial Team. It is intended from an informational perspective only and it is upto the readers to research and verify the claims and judgements in the article before reaching a conclusion.