Ronnie Screwvala: The man behind UTV

One of the most important business sectors in the circuit is movies. With movies, one could earn millions. However, this is a very difficult line to proceed as a businessman. Well, Ronnie Screwvala is one of the biggest personalities in the Bollywood circuit. He is the founder and CEO of the famous UTV Group. His companies include UTV Software, Bloomberg UTV, UTV Motion pictures and many more to name. Read this article to know about the story of Ronnie Screwvala.

Rohinton Screwvala Quick Facts
Ronnie Screwvala- Personal life and background
Ronnie Screwvala- Initial days
Ronnie Screwvala- UTV Group
Ronnie Screwvala- Change of events that transformed UTV into a mega-brand
Ronnie Screwvala- Philanthropy
Ronnie Screwvala- As an inspiration

Rohinton Soli Screwvala Quick Facts

Name Rohinton Soli Screwvala
Born 8 September 1962 - Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Age 57
Citizenship Indian
Title Founder UTV Group (Now Walt Disney India), Founder Trustee of Swades Foundation, Founder of Unilazer Ventures, Board of Advisor AIESEC India, Founder of RSVP Movies
Net worth $2,597,531 (as of Jan 2020)
Wife Zarina Mehta

Ronnie Screwvala- Personal life and background

Ronnie is Parsi by blood. He had completed his studies at Cathedral and John Connon School. His father was an employee for British firms J L Morrison and Smith. He is married to Zarina Mehta. Ronnie met her during his initial days at the theatre with Pearl Padamsee.

Ronnie Screwvala- founder and CEO of UTV Group
Ronnie Screwvala- founder and CEO of UTV Group

From his childhood, he had a keen interest in theatre and has been a part of the acting crew in a few professional plays with Bombay theatre. He has worked with some big names like Pearl and Alyque Padamsee. He has produced over 70 films and some of his famous works include Rang De Basanti, The Namesake, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Jodhaa Akbar, and many more iconic movies.

Ronnie Screwvala- Initial days

His actual entrepreneurial journey started way before UTV came into the circuit. During his initial days, his father wanted him to become a Chartered Accountant. But, he was sure that business was the field that attracted him. Hence, to achieve that, he was looking for business opportunities. Later on, while he was on a trip to England, he got a chance to visit a hairbrush factory. He came across two discarded fully functional automatic toothbrush making machines. Hence, to open up the doors of business, he purchased it. As soon as he returned to India, he started with a business. The business was concerned with making toothbrushes. Many years later, the business became one of the largest producers of toothbrushes and was supplying goods to mega-brands like Colgate.

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Apart from the toothbrush business, he had started his own cable network company by the name of Network. During those days, he used to go door to door ask asked the residents to sign up for the network. This was a good business idea because, at the time when Doordarshan was the only channel available, this network provided a three-hour video channel providing movies. Initially, this business started with just 30 houses. Later on, it expanded to popular places like Cuffe Parade, Colaba, NApeansea Road, Breach Candy, and Hanging Gardens within a short period.

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Ronnie’s idea was way ahead of the time. Well, it is very surprising to see that at a young age, Ronnie understood the importance of good service. He made sure that his services were for the betterment of the entertainment sector as he provided his customers with family-oriented content with good picture quality.

Ronnie Screwvala- UTV Group

Ronnie and Zarina founded the UTV Group which is now a household name in the country. This company was founded in 1990 to provide television content to broadcasters. Also, this company was the first independent production of India and the company started working by taking up advertisements and movies. Later on, the company started producing quiz shows. One of the biggest hits of the company was the Mashoor Mahal.

Ronnie Screwvala- founder and CEO of UTV Group
Ronnie Screwvala- founder and CEO of UTV Group

Within two decades, UTV expanded into broadcasting, gaming, film, and various other business. For the company, the biggest leap to success came during the time of incorporation. The team was engaged in the production of television content for Doordarshan. During this time, the Subhash Chandra owned Zee TV had just started to take small steps in the television circuit. Hence, they offered UTV a 550 episode contract. This was the golden opportunity for the team to shine on the big stage.

Ronnie Screwvala- Change of events that transformed UTV into a mega-brand

The very first thing that changed the fortunes of the company was the introduction of flight entertainment by Air India. The hired UTV to provide flight entertainment for their customers. In 1993, the team started to accept programs from external customers and began marketing airtime on their programs. Apart from that, it launched a daily soap named Shanti. The team acquired a 54.60% stake in Lazer Production. Later on, in the same year, the company ventured into the movie distribution business.

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In 1996, UTV and Disney got into a contract. This was about dubbing the content for the Disney movies for Indian fans. Also, in the same year, UTV started offering services to international airlines for in-flight entertainment division. The subsidiary of the company USLl acquired Ram Mohan Biographies. The brand was renamed to UTV Tools.

UTV also took a diverse turn in broadcasting by acquiring a controlling interest in Vijay Television Limited. This company operated as Vijay TV. With over 86% stake, UTV incorporated a group named UTV Net Solutions Ltd. IT was focused on Internet content creation via Indian regional language portals. In 200, the company started broadband content collection under the name sharkstram.com.

Success story of Ronnie Screwvala's UTV 

Hungama Channel, a household name in the country is a product of UTV entertainment. This channel became the leading children’s television channel within a few years from its release. The success of the company can be measured by the fact that in 20905, it got itself listed on the Bombay and National Stock Exchange.

With a deal of $10 Million with US-based BKN New Media, UTV opened up the door for itself as a mega brand. UTV toons expanded o 200 employees and purchased additional  Autodesk’s 3D Max 8 software.

Ronnie Screwvala- Philanthropy

During the early days of UTV, Ronnie formed a society named SHARE. This stood for Society to Heal Aid Restore Educate. The objective was to develop rural Maharashtra. Presently, Ronnie has donated a whopping INR 2350 crores into the foundation.

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Ronnie Screwvala- As an inspiration

With a clear vision to change the entertainment sector, Ronnie has worked for the betterment of the circuit. His company UTV has changed the way we watch and enjoy the movies. Apart from the fact that he is a successful entrepreneur, his work for charity does make him an inspiration for many entrepreneurs!

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