Mayanti Langer and Sunny Leone talk about women defining success on their own terms. Images: Forbes India Team
held a glittering soirée to felicitate the 30 entrepreneurs and professionals who have broken ground even under the age of 30—and saw invigorating panel discussions and talks on a wide range of subjects. The soirée was an evening of conversations and celebration to commemorate the Forbes India 30 Under 30 Class of 2019
The 2019 Forbes India 30 Under 30 soirée, in association with Volkswagen India, was attended by the Class of 2019, 30 Under 30 alumni, jury members, celebrities and sportspersons. In his welcome address, Forbes India
Editor Brian Carvalho said, “Today, it is fashionable to say that youth is overrated. But it’s the younger generation that challenges the status quo and brings in new ideas to tackle old problems,” and called the evening open.
Abhishek Bachchan in conversation with Gaurav Kalra, on his tryst with sports entrepreneurship.
Actor-turned-sports entrepreneur Abhishek Bachchan, the owner of Pro Kabaddi League’s Jaipur Pink Panthers team and the co-owner of Indian Super League’s Chennaiyin FC, spoke to Network18’s Group Sports Editor Gaurav Kalra about his ‘tryst with sports entrepreneurship’. During the interaction, Bachchan spoke about how Kabaddi didn’t happen by chance. His curiosity for the sport dates back to the late ‘80s when he first saw it on the sets of his father, Amitabh Bachchan’s Ganga ki Saugandh.
While Jaipur Pink Panthers has been turning a profit since the second season, it wasn’t an easy start. In the absence of any huge investor, Abhishek Bachchan told the Forbes India 30 Under 30 audience that he’d signed three films to bankroll his team.
Kalra asked the junior Bachchan, Is he a hands-on or a hands-off boss? “I’m not the kind of boss who would sit in the owners’ box while his team played. I’m a very involved team owner,” he replied. “I travel, stay, practice with them. I’m available, and I’m at most team meetings. It’s very difficult for me to stay away.”
Despite foraying into sport, he added that “I’m always an actor first, and then a rabid sports fan, more than a sports entrepreneur.” Bachchan admitted that making business decisions as a fan first had helped immensely.
A modest Jasprit Bumrah said Lasith Malinga taught him how to use his yorkers.
Another highlight was to a rare in-person interaction with cricketer Jasprit Bumrah, best known for his expert yorkers. The usually media-shy bowler, in conversation with Kalra, spoke about how his meteoric rise has driven him to be less aggressive on the field. “As a kid, I used to copy my heroes, and try out new bowling actions every week. So now, when people copy mine, it feels great,” said Bumrah. He also spoke about how the viral video of an old lady imitating his bowling action “made his day”, coming at a dark time when India had been booted out of the World Cup.
While Bumrah is known for his venomous yorkers, he said he considered Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga, fellow Mumbai Indians teammate, to be the best yorker-bowler in the world. “Malinga has taught me how to use my yorkers and helped me get better. I think I can be better at it,” he added.
The first panel discussion of the evening saw sports presenter Mayanti Langer and actor Sunny Leone in conversation with Forbes India
’s assistant editor Pankti Mehta Kadakia. The trio discussed ‘How women are defining success on their own terms’. Both Langer and Leone have faced gender stereotypes and proved critics wrong. The 30 Under 30 audience was introduced to Sunny Leone the businesswoman, as the actor-turned-investor revealed her love for numbers and statistics. The owner of make-up and fragrance brands, and an investor in an art school for toddlers, said, “It’s good to have passion but a business idea must also make sense on paper”. Langer spoke about how sport and success is genderless, and what it takes to make it as a woman working in men’s cricket.
An inspiring panel of sportspersons, including three para-athletes, lay down the trials and triumphs of being a non-cricket sportsperson in India
Perhaps the most inspiring session of the evening came from a power-packed sports panels, featuring a mix of able and para-athletes. Moderated by Forbes India’s senior assistant editor Rajiv Singh, the discussion illuminated stories of power, grit, determination and reality, speaking on ‘Essential life lessons sports can teach you’. Panelists included Paralympian swimmer Suyash Jadhav, Paralympian javelin champion Devendra Jhajharia, blade-runner Shalini Saraswathi, Commonwealth and Asiad gold medalist Neeraj Chopra and Indian Kabaddi team captain Ajay Thakur. Apart from the life lessons that sports taught them the Indian sportspersons also spoke about how they overcame struggles to clinch medals for the country.
YouTube star Prajakta Koli delivers a masterclass in online branding
The evening also saw the first-of-its-kind Masterclass, conducted by popular Youtuber Prajakta Koli, the creator of the channel MostlySane. Koli took the young audience through the crucial steps of ‘building an online brand’ for their business. Former Miss World Manushi Chillar spoke to Forbes India
editor-desk Kunal Purandare about her journey since the crown, dealing with overnight success, and confirmed her entry into Bollywood.
Miss World 2017, Manushi Chhillar, speaks about dealing with overnight success and confirms her Bollywood debut
The evening closed with a heartfelt tête-à-tête with Dutee Chand, the sprinter who has been making headlines for all the right reasons. Chand spoke to sports presenter Mayanti Langer about her humble origins and struggles with poverty—her family would have only one meal a day, and couldn’t afford shoes. The Olympic gold was never on her mind when she started off, running barefoot. “I only wanted to improve the financial condition of my family,” she told Langer. From dealing with critics and breaking stereotypes to coming out as India’s first gay athlete, Chand’s candid chat received loud applause from the 30 Under 30 audience.
Sprinter Dutee Chand speaks to Mayanti Langer about her struggles with poverty and being India's first openly gay athlete
More than 100 delegates attended the Forbes India 30 Under 30 soirée, including entrepreneurs and professionals, representing 50 companies.