Media Mogul, Star Mentor, Bossman - The Legend of Pradeep Guha

From Bollywood to the corporate world, from friends and colleagues, eulogies pour in for Pradeep Guha

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Media Mogul, Star Mentor, Bossman - The Legend of Pradeep Guha
The hallmark of great men most often goes beyond the boundaries of their own personal achievements, fame and success. Their ability to elevate and inspire others that come within their orbit makes them simply unforgettable. And so it was with Pradeep Guha who has left an indelible mark on all the lives that he touched in the course of his brilliant media career.

 A multi-faceted entrepreneur, literally till he tragically breathed his last, he was the Managing Director of 9X Media Pvt. Ltd., a television broadcasting company, with five satellite and two digital channels.

With a brilliant career spanning many decades prior to 9X Media, Pradeep Guha had also served as the CEO of India’s largest publicly traded satellite-broadcasting network, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.  Prior to that, he was also associated with the print medium for 29 years and was President and Executive Director of The Times of India Group.  At The Times of India, Pradeep was the Publisher of The Times of India, Femina and Filmfare brands for 10 years.

In a moving tribute, former Miss World and Hollywood celebrity Priyanka Chopra Jonas shared her feelings about her mentor, Pradeep Guha, on Instagram: “You were always my forever champion. Your random calls of encouragement, your zest for life and ambition was something I have admired so much. I’ve had very few constants in my adult life and outside my parents; you were one that I truly saw as my mentor. You saw something in me I never knew I had. You never shied away from reminding me on how I could be better. You always lead with charge. I’ve learned so much from you PG. With such a heavy heart I say a final goodbye to a huge constant in my adult life. I’ll miss the laughter, the gossiping, the stories, the encouragement. Will keep striving to make you proud. Picture abhi baaki hai.”

This was a recurring sentiment in every expression of grief from friends and admirers - an unbridled admiration for his ability to uniquely combine empathy and enterprise. Describing Pradeep Guha as one the earliest corporate highfliers of this generation who blazed a trail through the 80’s and 90’s, MK Anand, The Times Network Managing Director summed up Pradeep Guha succinctly in his tribute in, “PG, as he was known to most was unique. This was a man who made ordinary people do extraordinary things. PG did not ever make you feel lesser if you achieved less. He simply made you achieve more time.”

His interests were wide-ranging as was his influence. Pradeep Guha was also associated with many bodies in the field of media, marketing and advertising – as President of the Indian Newspaper Society, Chairman of the National Readership Studies Council, President of the Advertising Club Bombay, Chairman of the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) and the first Chairman of the Broadcast Audience Research Council among others. 

Pradeep Guha was also responsible for enlisting India at the Cannes Lions Festival and was its first Country Representative from India for 10 consecutive years.  He helmed the conceptualisation, organisation and execution of Asia’s largest biennial advertising Congress, AdAsia that was held in Jaipur, India in 2003.  As Chairman of the Steering Committee, Pradeep Guha recently oversaw the organisation and execution of the World Congress of the International Advertising Association which was held in India for the first time (in Kochi) in February 2019.

The Advertising Club of which he had been the President, mourned his demise, describing him as “Industry Doyen Pradeep Guha, A leader with big ideas”.

Pradeep Guha’s board affiliations included Raymond Ltd. (India’s leading textiles and garment manufacturer), Puravankara Projects Ltd. (leading developers of commercial and residential properties), Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd. (a publicly listed filmed content company and one of the first corporate entities in Bollywood) and Whistling Woods International, India’s largest training institute for film, television, and other creative arts.

Cinema always fascinated him, and he had a production house of his own. Under his banner, Pradeep Guha produced critically acclaimed and commercially successful films like ‘Fiza’ (2000), ‘Tehzeeb’ (2002) and ‘Phir Kabhi’ (2009). He, however, wore his film accomplishments very lightly.

Given his large-heartedness and generosity, he made lifelong friends in every field. Friends, who admired and loved his dynamism and chutzpah. And it was no different in the film industry.

Acclaimed Filmmaker and Founder and Chairman Whistling Woods Subhash Ghai said, “Goodbye my friend Pradeep Guha, the dearest of all. I will always be indebted for your genuine love and support and we all at Whistling Woods International for your enriched guidance as a director on board since its birth. You were the maker of many in our industry. God bless you, RIP my friend.”

Former Viacom 18 media Pvt Ltd. CEO Raj Nayak in his tribute on social media described him as “A true legend, he was the original trendsetter, and a stalwart of the media and entertainment industry.”

A fitting tribute indeed, to Pradeep Guha, a dynamic media baron, and so much more.

Image Source: Instagram/subhashghai1/priyankachopra/m_koiralatwitter/rajcheerfull