“Pradeep Guha was beyond being just a media legend. I say it through my experience,” Subhash Ghai
Even with all said about Pradeep Guha who bid farewell to all of us, what I knew of him for the past 25 years, who was fondly called as PG by his close ones, has been a great human beyond just being a media person. He was a media guru and a legend, who brightened up the commercial curve of Times of India in the 1990s. He redefined the space of commerce for the entertainment world including every artiste, producer, and technicians by providing them with greater respect and position and new perspectives. Pradeep Guha guided each sector/brand to work in unison and create a happy working environment, which he truly believed should be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Pradeep Guha, a media genius, became a star amongst the stars in the entertainment industry owing to his major contributions in redefining the brands like Times of India Group, Femina Miss India, Filmfare Awards, Bombay Times Annual Party, Femina Look of the Year. He developed 'these properties' and shaped them to have an identity of their own as an individual brands and as a group. It was his keen interest in the concept of the show that led to India’s successes at the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants with Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen and Priyanka Chopra.
He made a place for himself as the most likeable media personality, owing to his own personal qualities. Whenever, he would meet a talent he would suggest them on how they can create their own identity by marketing themselves and would often offer an agreeable proposal for both the talent and his company to benefit from. I have personally observed this wonderful trait of his at several instances. I would like to share a memorable experience, which helped us become friends forever.
Once I asked him if I could shoot the audience shots of the Filmfare Award event hosted in 1999 for my song, 'Kahin Aag Lage Lag Jaave' featuring Aishwarya Rai for my film, Taal. He immediately obliged and went on to suggest that I shoot a part of the song on stage next evening post the Filmfare night. All he requested was to give acknowledgement to Filmfare Awards and Times of India in the film credits. Following morning, he called and suggested to me to associate with a brand for an in-film branding in the song, which would cover my shooting cost of two nights. I agreed and all three of us involved were happy.
Pradeep Guha was also a daring film producer, who while chairing the position of Executive Director at the Times of India asked me to write a critical review for his film, Fiza produced by him. The review was published in Times of India and became the talk of the media and film fraternity in 2000. I’m the only mainstream filmmaker to get this golden opportunity till date.
When Mukta Arts became the first public listed company in 2001, we felt blessed when he agreed to join us on our Board of Directors and taught me the basic rules of corporate culture. Later, when I dreamt of establishing a world-class film & media school - Whistling Woods International in Mumbai, he immediately supported me and my team by bringing on board several celebrities to join our cause and support us. Since then (2006) he had been on our Board till date and always guided us to follow a motto – ’maintain and update the quality every time.’
Personally, for me he was a true friend, a philosopher and a guide, who constantly supported and encouraged me to turn Whistling Woods International into a truly world-class brand, as it stands today.
We will miss him, so will our students and 2500+ alumni in industry and all the future film & media aspirants, for whom he is a true institution and guidebook to follow.
The core lesson I learnt from him is – ‘Help and contribute to people’s growth unconditionally whenever you have an opportunity at hand. The reward for doing good will follow in, sooner or later; directly or indirectly.’
Goodbye my friend. You'll be missed, yet we believe you'll always stay with us as a guide and philosopher and a great friend.
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