Dr Prannoy Roy, who won the Mumbai Press Club RedInk Lifetime Achievement Award 2015 in Mumbai, received a warm and personal tribute from Star India CEO Uday Shankar for his immense contributions to the media industry. Here is Shankar’s glowing tribute to the man who set the standards for world class television journalism in India.
Let me tell you a story. This is from when people like us had just gone to college, and television had just come in. It was a device for occasional viewing. And suddenly one night, when I was looking for something interesting to do something a little more interesting than watch Krishi Darshan on TV – there popped a show which was talking about what was happening in the US, what was happening in the UK, in China, and there was a young man with a beard presenting a show. That show was called The World this Week, and that was my first interaction with what TV was meant to be.
Here we were, fed on a diet of what came out of Mandi House, and suddenly, we saw this show which was about information, which was about production, about technology, about graphics, and which was about credibility of presentation. And that was the day I decided that television was a viable and exciting career option, and when I say this here tonight, I don’t think I’m the only one who feels so.
A large number of people who came to television were drawn by the personality, the charisma and the opportunity or the potential to contribute because of what they saw through the eyes of Prannoy Roy.
There are very few people who can retire — at some stage I hope he will — but there are very few people who can retire with the satisfaction that they created not just a legacy, but a whole category of intellect, a whole category of industry, business, communication.
I don’t know how to describe the things that Prannoy did. This country had only Doordarshan and nothing else… this country had no reference to what modern, professional television communication could be… and in came Pronnoy with his vision, with his content, with his production and everything, and set these standards and thereby saved us almost two-to-two-and-a-half decades of the growth curve, the learning curve that all of us would have necessarily had to go through in order to get to a level of professional television communication, professional television journalism.
So when people like us came to try our hand at TV, we had a reference point. We had The World this Week, we had NDTV, we had Prannoy Roy and we had his brand of journalism. And the sheen of that brand of journalism has never been dull. His legacy lives on, and in that legacy lives on a hope.
Prannoy, this country and this community here is proud to call you its own. Thank you very much!
The RedInk Awards are a prestigious recognition of excellence in Journalism. Instituted by the Mumbai Press Club.