Tributes poured in from all quarters to honour Guha, who made his mark in show business, marketing and advertising. Film stars including, Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Lara Dutta among many others paid their tribute on social media.
Filmmaker Subhash Ghai who shared a 25-year long friendship with Guha penned a moving tribute and said, “he 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 technician 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. He 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 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 added.
Sharing about how he helped new talent claim their space in the industry, Ghai said, “Whenever he would meet a talent he would suggest 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 in several instances.”
Ghai went on to reveal, “I had cast Priyanka Chopra in ‘Aitraaz’ on Pradeep Guha’s recommendation. He had told me she had great acting potential and is bound to be a star one day.”
Ghai also opened up about a memorable experience that helped them become friends for life. “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. The 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 had produced the Hrithik Roshan and Karisma Kapoor-starrer ‘Fiza‘. Reminiscing about writing a review of the film for the Times of India, Ghai said, “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 the 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 to date.”
Recalling the help and guidance he received from Guha while setting up his company and film school. He said, “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.’”
He added, “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 the industry and all the future film and media aspirants, for whom he is a true institution and guidebook to follow.”
Bidding his goodbye to Guha, he wrote, “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 indeed.”
On Saturday night, the bereaved family announced the death of the late producer in a statement issued to the media.
“We regret to announce the sad demise of our dear Mr Pradeep Guha. In these COVID times, the family has requested to be allowed to grieve in private and will share a date for a prayer meeting in a few days. No condolence visit at home due to COVID restrictions. Please keep him in your prayers,” the statement read.
Apart from ‘Fiza’, Guha had also produced the 2008 film ‘Phir Kabhi’, starring Mithun Chakraborty and Dimple Kapadia.