Interview Shailendra Singh, Serial Entrepreneur, Film Producer, Author & One Of The Most Powerful Man In Bollywood

Dinis Guarda interviews Shailendra Singh, Storytelling, Serial Entrepreneur, Producer, Author, One Of The Most Powerful Man In Bollywood

Shailendra Singh has been a successful personality in advertising, business, sports and film and media industry. After kick-starting 23 successful startups in his career, entertainment maverick turned-social entrepreneur, Singh wants to revolutionise entertainment and sports by 2020 through disruptive creative content.

Now represented by Boss India Entertainment LLP, Singh brings with him 32 years of game-changing entertainment, media and communications legacy. While at the helm of Percept Ltd as joint managing director, Singh was responsible for launching Percept Picture Company, while creating and selling over 2,400 campaigns, he also planned media solutions for over 320 brands valued at $2.4 billion.

Shailendra Singh Interview focus

1. An introduction from you – background, overview, education…
2. Career highlights
3. Your company / companies, organisations and focus?
4. Cultural context in India
5. About media and entertainment industry in India. Bollywood.
6. How do you see Society 5.0 – 4IR and all areas of digital transformation?
7. What are your views on our society, technology and digital transformations?
8. What are your goals and how do you see the future of work and the main trends in tech and society?
9. With Covid-19 what ways do you envision to redesign our society with technology and social impact?
10. What are your visions for the present and future?

Shailendra Singh Quotes

“Everything divides. Only love unites.” Shailendra Singh

“The walls of Bollywood are thick and high. I want to use my 25 years of experience in the industry to launch a mirror to Bollywood. A parallel Indian cinema universe where I can help young people to climb those walls.” Shailendra Singh

Shailendra Singh Interview Quotes and Highlights

· I always say that if you really want to know anyone, you need to go back to your roots. So in my case, I never forget where I came from, a small city and rural area and I always followed my father’s teachings.

· I wasn’t a good student and my dream in my childhood was to become a famous cricket player. My life took a different path once I got to Mumbai, the city of dreams in India. But my beginnings were very humble, I started working on hospitality, earning my own money and I learned the value of hard-work, of personal growth and the importance of keep chasing my dreams no matter what.

· When I was 25, my marketing business was successful, we had more than 2,000 employees and I felt that I already achieved all my dreams. I had a small identity crisis but my father again came to me and pulled me out of that situation, he told me that life is a journey and we need to go until the end, we can’t give up in the middle of that journey.

· Hunger is a mentality in itself. How hungry we are to chase and achieve our dreams. We need to be hungry to live from the beginning to the end in the more fulfilling way we can. And in India, this concept is highly related to give too. And in that hunger, and in our dreams there always should be that part of being a giver, help others.

· I didn’t know I could make money producing films. That never was my idea. Actually advertising helped me get me into the media entertainment industry. When I first started, I told my family and they were very supportive from the · beginning.

· By that time, and thanks to my prior experience in business developments and operations I saw an opportunity in the film industry. I discovered that agencies were having million dollar contracts representing artists. So I jumped in that business and opened my own agency, with more than 600 artists being represented by us.

· I am friend with Michael Douglas, we even had a common project to make a film together, but never got made.

· India development. India is quite a new nation with only 70 years old as an independent country. It is a complex country with multiple languages, traditions and culture overall. And that makes us stronger actually. Our best resource is manpower, but also very talented people. In fact we export talent all over the world that proudly represent India. And that has allowed India to foster technology and boost innovation in different sectors such as the space industry, healthcare, etc. The growth in India has been incredible within the last few years and our potential is immense. We have one of the youngest populations in the world, our financial inclusion is growing massively, also education and literacy, technology development, infrastructure, strategic sectors, etc.

· There is a soul in India that I am not sure if that can be found anywhere in the world.

· However, there are still challenges to overcome. The pay gap and wealth distribution is problematic. In Mumbai, for example, you can be in one part of town and see massive luxury and wealth and just 20 feet away you can find people struggling to get a hot meal on their table.

· About Bollywood. Bollywood movies are all about joy, about making people happy and enjoy when they watch them. They might look like they make no sense but everything in those movies are about that, joy. All the colours, the music gig at the end, the narrative, everything is about that. For me, I think Bollywood and the Indian film industry have the power to change society for good.

· My journey in the film industry has always been related to giving opportunities to people and fostering social change. I wanted to make movies that had a social impact as well as pure entertainment. I believe that it is better to do budget movies rather than blockbuster movies because that would allow the industry to make more movies, tell more stories and give more opportunities.

· About exporting Bollywood movies. India lacks some international presence, we are not that good at exporting our culture. A good example of how underdeveloped is that industry is how Dubai is capitalizing on Bollywood movies by promoting museums, theme parks etc.

· In my professional career, I have always had something really clear. I am really drawn to make my customer happy and understand them. I might not know them all by their names but they are always at the centre of what I do. Always. The ultimate joy is to do something in business and see how that can improve people’s lives one way or another.

· The power of music. In India, there are more than 300 different languages so international music doesn’t ever get too followed in India. In fact, great artists in India are really successful in one area or another. I saw that and I really wanted to bring people together through a music that everyone could dance and feel in India. So I came across Electronic music, which is only music, no lyrics and all about energy. And I started working in promoting music festivals and trying to boost electronic music here. People loved it right away.

· One of the things I wanted to highlight in my book, which I wrote myself is this positive idea of when you enter a tunnel, there is always a light at the end of it. We don’t know if that’s going to take 10 years or 10 minutes, but we all need to bear that in mind, there is always light at the end. One thing I believe in is that everyone should feel brave enough to tell whatever they need to say loudly. It always helps.

· We are all different from the outside but we are all the same on the inside. Our blood has the same colour, our heart beats the same. Sadly, we are shown all the time how different we are. We are being told that from different factors: religion, nation, race, etc. We should add a new column in our passport: planet earth’s citizens. That is what really matters.

· COVID-19 has a great lesson in it. It shows us how important small things are and how we have neglected them. Healthcare worldwide has been forgotten and now we are paying the consequences. I think we all should stop for a bit and check what our priorities are.

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Shailendra Singh Biography

Shailendra Singh is a force of nature. A person that created a formula that is about looking at success as a balance between fear and hunger. In his 3 decades building some of the biggest businesses in India he has been creating a name for himself and making an impact in multiple industries.

Shailendra Singh has been a successful personality in advertising, business, sports and film and media industry. After kick-starting 23 successful startups in his career, entertainment maverick turned-social entrepreneur, Singh wants to revolutionise entertainment and sports by 2020 through disruptive creative content.

Now represented by Boss India Entertainment LLP, Singh brings with him 32 years of game-changing entertainment, media and communications legacy. While at the helm of Percept Ltd as joint managing director, Singh was responsible for launching Percept Picture Company, while creating and selling over 2,400 campaigns, he also planned media solutions for over 320 brands valued at $2.4 billion.

As Jt MD of Percept, Shailendra Singh has produced over 72 full-length feature films. He has been ranked as 12th most powerful man in Bollywood. Shailendra Singh was awarded 16 national awards including Best Film & Best Director for Kanchivaram; curates, writes and directs the third most viewed short film channel in India – Long Story Short Films.

Shailendra Singh is the bestselling author of F?@k Knows and The True Story of Sunburn; created and sold over 4000 ad campaigns; conceptualized and executed over 2500 of India’s largest live events; launched India’s first global and local talent management agency for sports, music, movies and fashion; brokered deals valued at over $4 billion across cricket, football and boxing – including the largest cricket sponsorship deal in world history.

Beyond films, he may be best known as The Inceptor of Sunburn – Asia’s largest dance music festival – and Guestlist4Good, which broke records for live events and charity. He is Asia’s largest music promoter and the only Indian ever to be ranked in the 50 Most Powerful People in EDM (inthemix).

In January of 2020 it was announced that Reliance Entertainment, India’s leading film studio, and Shailendra Singh have united to produce two biopics for the young India. Shailendra Singh says, “I am inspired to make biopics and films on the true events that celebrate India, build Brand India and inspire the youth of India – the youngest population on the planet. The biopics on the life of MS Bitta and Kings United are just the sparks that I have been waiting for with which to light a new fire in Bollywood. Building on my legacy of seventy odd movies as a creative producer, making films for the youth of India is my new innings in film making.”

Joining hands with Shailendra to produce the content-rich films, Shibasish Sarkar, Group CEO, Reliance Entertainment, expresses, “It’s great to associate with Shailendra who perfectly balances entrepreneurship and creativity. We are excited to bring both the stories to the audiences across the globe. “

Shailendra Singh helped Sequoia India become the country’s biggest venture capital firm and also led its expansion into Southeast Asia six years ago. He’s cultivated unicorns including Indian payment platform Pine Labs, Indonesian e-commerce marketplace Tokopedia and Gojek, a ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia that competes with the likes of Uber and Grab. More recently, Singh led early round investments in learning platform Unacademy, eSports platform Mobile Premier League and card payment app CRED. He’s also the investor behind Sequoia India’s new startup accelerator, Surge, which launched last year with a cohort of 17 companies, 11 of which have gone on to raise funding rounds that together total $160 million.

Books and publications

F?@K Knows Paperback – 2 Jan. 2013 by Shailendra Singh (Author)

Shailendra Singh’s debut book F?@K Knows. The book on February 7, 2013,  has claimed the #1 spot on the Nielson Bookscan non-fiction bestseller list. It has also been at the #1 spot on the Crossword Bookstores top ten list.

Funny and candid, yet rich in insights on how to really live life on your own terms, this unconventional self help manual is unlike any book around. What do you want from life? Are you on the right track? Are you truly happy? If your answer to these questions is F?@k knows! , then this book is for you. Find the answers to life’s most important questions with the help of uber successful entrepreneur, Shailendra Singh, cofounder of Percept and inceptor of Sunburn. Told with sparkling, flavourful and in your face humour, this book will advise you on how to: Find yourself (Because you are probably lost. Admit it.) Follow your heart (Because if you don t then you ll die unhappy, you stupid f?@ker.) Achieve your goals (You know you want to.) Live life like you give a f?@k (Because. . .why not?) Candid and thoughtful, F?@k Knows will show you how to really live life on your own terms, to do what you want to do and not what you have to do just because your father said so! A book for young India, in witty and in your face prose, that tells you how to get it together and be happy. The book offers unique and simple ways to achieve your goals: making F?@k It lists, practising Chi F?@k Po, among others. Shailendra Singh, a highly successful entrepreneur, details his life mantra and discusses topics as diverse as the real function of the gut, the joys of cheesecake/real love, why we should use word f?@k more often, etc.

Sunburn Festival

Sunburn is a commercial electronic dance music festival held in India. It was previously in Vagator, Goa, India every year, but now has been shifted to Pune in Maharashtra. It is Asia’s largest music festival. The festival is an amalgamation of Music, Entertainment, Food and Shopping, and was ranked by CNN in 2009 as one of the Top 10 Festivals in the world. The Festival was incepted by serial entrepreneur Shailendra Singh, while Jt MD of Percept. Under his captaincy, the festival grew to be ranked the 3rd largest dance festival in the world, after Tomorrowland and Ultra as per the IMS APAC Business Report 2014. Spread over 3 days, the festival has multiple stages with artists playing simultaneously.

Links and resources


F?@K Knows

Other books