Pradeep Guha, the Gentleman, the Genius

Arijit Bose

Mumbai: Pradeep Guha, the media maverick left an indelible imprint on the media world. But his work transcended media boundaries. In a book Pradeep Guha: The Legend I Know featuring some of the biggest media magnates, corporate czars and flamboyant faces of India, the late leading light of the media fraternity gets a befitting tribute celebrating his life and times.

The book opens from the point where Pradeep is holding a meeting with his fellow comrades at his office at Vistas. He is shown as a meticulous planner with a sharp attention to detail. Someone known to create a smooth passage which leads to opening of roads ahead.

From the very beginning Pradeep’s story delves on how he always was a man who believed in the theory of lateral thinking. Taking a leaf out of the Edward De Bono book, childhood friends like Ullash are shown as venerating him as the problem solver in the gang. To quote the book – a man known to build corridors to bridge the gap.

A trait that friends say was not visible in the time when he was at St. Xaviers Bombay. Pradeep Guha is shown as a man who is awe inspiring and one who led the pack well.

The first signs of his terrific acumen came to the fore when he setup Social Thinking and Responsibility with Lancy Fernandes and Eric D’ Souza. His skills in the social sector were commendable reads the book as he became part of a  Block Development initiative under the banner of Caritas.

Working on a Food for Work programme he would often go zip, zap, zoom on a triple seater Java. Not only was Pradeep a man of total innovation, his man Friday – Das was a great help. When the youngsters including Pradeep Guha realized that without a proper job, life would be very rough, Pradeep Guha followed the advice of Daryll D’ Monte and joined the Times of India as an Advertising Executive.

After this he not just worked at ToI, he also worked on his own organization. A happy meeting ground 1 Seagull was soon registered as Centre for Education and Documentation. The ground floor at Suleman Chambers came cheap as no one wanted to buy it. With the fantastic setup at the Centre for Education and Documentation, Pradeep not just scripted success, he also nurtured good talent early with names like Anjum Rajabali, Mukarram Bhagat and Hazel joining him in his endeavours.

Close friends recall how he enjoyed life, his film promotions, the revenue generation plans and a principled professional above all. His friends say that consistency and meticulous planning were his greatest weapons which made him a success. From Taposh to Pradeep and then PG his sharp memory is something that all agree with. The book chronicles how Pradeep with his sharp understanding made the Cannes Festival a roaring success. On the Indian front, he created brand Femina which had tremendous lasting power.  Pradeep is shown in the book as someone having childlike curiosity an attribute which maketh a media moghul. He is also referred to as someone who did not take his success too seriously.

A Flamboyant showman who loved to exude charisma and class. As an adman Adasia would remain one of his high points reads the book. Friends and confidantes write in the book, Pradeep was the go to guy for all bigwigs when it mattered. He commanded respect from the doorman to the who’s who. Known to break the rules for better output, he was a true blue crisis manager at heart. Rising from Centre for Education and Documentation he went on to play a role in the Board of the Times Group.

He loved eating good food especially kosha mangsho and luchi. Several celebrities like Archana Puran Singh, Anu Malik, Shobha De, Gulshan Grover, Celina Jaitley, Lara Dutta Bhupathi among others recall him as a great human, a friend so full of life. He coached young men and women who went on to lead top positions. The book documents the story of the first jacket for a print publication under Lintas Worldwide.

A manager, leader and good human being all rolled in one. A man of ideation, innovation and someone who had the werewithal to make a dream a reality, he is described in the book as someone who enjoyed tremendous trust in the glamour world. The book does not forget to acknowledge the Day in the Life of India campaign brought to fruition under his tutelage at The Times of India. It also refers to his stints at DNA, Zee, Star TV among others.

His compatriots call him an ace Talent hunter, collaborator, the man who combined style, glamour and festive celebration into one with the not to be forgotten persona with impeccable mannerisms. As someone who wanted talent to bloom, his push for the AFAA/ IAA Fastrack program to help nurture young talent gets a special mention in the book.

He knew how to respect people when they were down and out. Built brands and built relations for a lifetime. Had unwavering values. Pradeep had the terrific knack of picking winners from losers. He was a Staright shooter, firestarter, nimble networker, sharp as a tack, constant and reliable shoulder.

He was extremely eager to learn new things in tech and business areas, always updated about what was on in the media. Build the rate card Mastermind as someone good at revolutionizing sales. He added a dash of oomph and glamour to ad sales that made it a glamorous business.

Lastly the after hour parties of the debonair gentleman at his Khar home with ladylove Papia by his side made him the truly stylish media moghul with a twinkle in his eye. As a new generation is ushered in, in the media space, it is the likes of Pradeep Guha who will inspire countless millions to enjoy the media high fully but not without staying rooted an ethical in functioning.

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