The man who started his career with an internship at Yash Raj Films (YRF) chose to set up his own company, DSB Group, in 2015. Devir Singh Bhandari’s company operates three units: filmmaking, providing security products and solutions, and helping companies figure out their CSR activities.
But Devir was always keen to do more and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic launched a new startup. Delhi-based Klover began as a one-stop shop for everything that could help people avoid contracting the coronavirus and aimed to help India beat the coronavirus.
Now, the filmmaker-entrepreneur, who believes that extemporising is his forte, has come out with a book. Titled Yuva Bharat: The Heroes of Today, the inspirational book traces the journey of more than 60 eminent young personalities who began from scratch and made it big.
The book includes the journeys of people from all walks of life, including actor Rajkummar Rao, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bhindra, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, OYO Founder Ritesh Agarwal, Cricketer Hanuma Vihari, tennis player Rohan Bopanna, chef Ranveer Brar, director Ali Abbas Zafar, and actors Chitrangada Singh, Rakul Preet Singh, and Aditi Rao Hydari. The 366-pager has been published by Bloomsbury.
Devir’s aim with his first book is to inspire readers, especially young ones, to “get up and take charge of their lives”.
In an interview with YS, Devir speaks about why he chose to write about these people, the importance of resilience, experimentation, and embracing uncertainty, and why he hopes his book will inspire youngsters across India.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
YS (YS): What does Yuva Bharat mean to you? Why did you choose this title for your first book?
Devir Singh Bhandari (DSB): Yuva Bharat is more than just a book. It is not even a state of mind; it is more like a Bible for existence. It does not preach; it ignites the fire within.
If you ask what Yuva Bharat means to me, I will say it has been a journey, and my guide and companion on that very journey.
There is no more relevant time for the title Yuva Bharat than today. As the world emerges from COVID-19, so does the realisation that India and its people played the most crucial role in curbing the spread of the pandemic. Given the humongous size of our population and the number of Indians who travel globally, we prevented global numbers from rising by imposing the biggest lockdown in the world.
In the country where COVID-19 vaccine has been made available at the speed of light, the force of our youth cannot be ignored anymore. And just like Young India, Yuva Bharat is about endurance, the strength of human resilience, and beating all odds.
YS: You are an entrepreneur and now an author. What role do you want to play going forward?
DSB: As an entrepreneur and author, I feel a self-realised responsibility to motivate and inspire youth and lend a hand towards nation building. That has been the focus in every endeavour – be it through the movies I have made, the products and services we launched during COVID-19, and our social initiatives. The very act of inspiring positive actions is extremely satisfying. That defines my purpose.
YS: What do you want to achieve with this book? Why did you decide on these stories?
DSB: The idea behind the book was an extension of who I am as a person and my life experiences. Raised in an Army family, I have travelled across India extensively and seen tales of vigour and fearlessness unfold in front of me. In my weak moments, those stories inspired me to gather my strength and brave it all. That is what gave birth to Yuva Bharat. The book wants to remind everyone that the “hero lies in you”.
YS: Who does Yuva Bharat target?
DSB: The book is for everyone as there is never any right age or right time for inspiration. You get inspired when the heart is ready. That said, I feel the youth stand to benefit hugely from this book as they stand at the cusp of change. Yuva Bharat aims to be the road map to their inner success.
YS: What were some of the key findings or interesting things you learnt at the time of writing this book?
DSB: I thought I had figured it all out by the time I was ready to pen Yuva Bharat. That is exactly when I realised that I had only scratched the tip of the iceberg. The tales that unfolded, the stories that came to the forefront, the moments that were relived, the eyes that got moist, and the hands that trembled…Yuva Bharat transformed me at each step. Each time I read and reread the pages, something new sprung up. Only one emotion remained constant: that victory begins the moment you say “I have made up my mind.”
YS: Tell us about the most fulfilling and challenging aspects of writing your book?
DSB: Writing Yuva Bharat was an extremely fulfilling experience. When you have been exposed to wonder and magic that has shaped who you are, you have an unexplainable urge to share it with the world. You yearn to tell everyone that if you could do it, so can they. “Don’t give up just yet.
There was no challenge technically, but writing was extremely challenging internally for me. It was catharsis. It brought me face to face with my own fears, my comfort zones, my unwillingness to change in certain areas.
One day, it broke the ego I never knew I had. Another day, it highlighted fears I had buried long ago. And one day, it challenged what I had learnt to bring home the realisation that sometimes the key to victory is to “unlearn”.
YS: Your book has success stories that span politics and movies to entrepreneurship and sports. How did you manage to weave different themes? Is there any reason you chose different stories?
DSB: The inspiration and themes have come from my own life and what I have learnt from people around me. When you are from a defence household, the content of conversations and the people you interact with is different. Real people next door have inspired me in ways I could never imagine.
If I had my way, Yuva Bharat would go on endlessly. To me this book is like sitting around a bonfire with a stranger you meet on a backpacking trip and exchanging experiences and narrating tales endlessly. You do not realise when dusk changed to dawn for you are still just halfway through your stories.
YS: From your own journey, what is your advice for young entrepreneurs and first-time authors?
DSB: A few words that have guided me always: only and only do what feels right in the heart. And as an entrepreneur, think from your heart; it will always help in the greater good.