MUMBAI: Film producer and well-known media personality Pradeep Guha passed away at a hospital here on Saturday.
Guha, who had produced Hrithik Roshan and Karisma Kapoor-starrer "Fiza" as well as 2008 film "Phir Kabhi", breathed his last at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital here.
The producer's wife Papia Guha and son Sanket Guha shared the news of his demise 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.
According to a hospital source, Guha, who was in 60s, was battling with cancer.
"He passed away due to cancer today afternoon at the hospital. He was 68-69," the source told PTI.
Guha, a St Xavier's College alumnus, has over four decades of experience in the fields of media, advertising, marketing and branding.
He worked with the Times Group for almost 30 years and served as the president in the company.
He was also on its board of directors.
He later joined Zee Entertainment as CEO for three years.
He was also the vice president and area director of the International Advertising Association, Asia Pacific region.
Guha was currently serving at the position of managing director at 9X Media Private Limited.
Film personalities Manoj Bajpayee, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Subhash Ghai, Lara Dutta and Adnan Sami condoled Guha's death on social media.
"Deeply shocked and saddened to hear about my friend @guhapradeeps passing away !! May you rest in peace Pradeep," Bajpayee wrote on Twitter.
Chopra Jonas, who first met Guha during her time at the Miss India pageant in 2000, said his death was a personal loss for her.
She said she admired the media veteran's zest for life.
"You were always my forever champion. Your random calls of encouragement, your zest for life and your ambition was something I have always admired so much. This loss is so personal. I will miss your voice and strength so much.
"I've had very few constants in my life and outside my parents, you were one that I truly saw as my mentor. You saw something in me I never knew I had. You never shied away from reminding me on how I could be better. You always lead with charge," she wrote alongside a video Guha did around the release of her memoir "Unfinished".
Lara Dutta, the winner of the Miss Universe crown the same year, said Guha was the most successful "Queen maker".
"My dearest PG @guhapradeep you were always the KING who was the most successful 'Queen maker'.
May we, your protégés always keep your memory alive and shining bright and may you always watch over us as you have always done. #RIP," she wrote.
Actor and Miss Asia Pacific 2000 Dia Mirza recalled a conversation she had with Guha while leaving for the international beauty pageant that filled her with "strength".
"I will never forget that car ride as you dropped me off to the airport as i left the country to represent India at the Miss Asia Pacific.
'What if i lose?' I had asked you and you said, 'It will be their loss.
You are a winner.' "Those words were everything. They gave the 18 year old me so much strength. And over the years you stood by me. Through good times and bad. Always offering your wisdom," she posted on Instagram.
Sami said he is saddened to learn about Guha's demise.
"He was an incredible person & a genius at marketing! I have many fond memories with him starting from the time when he was Editor of 'Bombay Times' 20 years ago," he added.
Ghai said he is indebted to Guha for his unending support and guidance for his film institute Whistling Woods, where the producer had served as a managing director.
"Good bye my friend #Pradeep Guha. I will always be indebted for your genuine love and support to I needed and we all @Whistling_Woods international for your enriched guidance as a director on board since its birth. RIP my friend," he tweeted.
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur credited Guha for transforming media landscape in india.
"Shocked to hear of the passing away of Pradeep Guha. Friend, Pioneer, Game Changer, Mentor to so many. He transformed the media landscape in India. In grief and with love. you'll be missed Pradeep," he tweeted.
Calling Guha an "absolute icon", actor Riteish Deshmukh wrote saddened by his demise.
"Extremely saddened by the demise of Mr Pradeep Guha. An absolute icon, a marketing genius- be it beauty queens or page 3 events - he gave them/it a pedestal to shine. Rest in peace!"