Ronnie Screwvala Biography
Ronnie Screwvala is an Indian film producer, and CEO and Founder Chairman of 'UTV Group' (UTV Software Communications, UTVi and UTV Motion Pictures). The company partnered with Walt Disney, Fox Searchlight, Sony and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment Production company, expanding the global reach of UTV. In September 2008, he was named amongst, 'Esquire's List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century'.
Ronnie (Rohinton) Screwvala started his career by launching the first organised cable TV venture in Mumbai, in June 1981. The Network provided three-hours service, of video channel showing movies, to homes in Maker Towers in the posh Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, at a monthly rate of Rs 200. Within a few years, the Network had thousands of households in the area subscribing to the services.
With the success of the Cable Network he started making ad films and selling airtime on India's National network, Doordarshan (DD), which paved the way for producing TV serials. He produced India's daily soap operas in 1994, and eventually moved into films, animations and interactive programming (gaming). One of the famous television serials to his name is the serial 'Lifeline'.
In 1990 he created UTV Software Communications company and then got into film production, movie distribution, family-oriented channels and web content, and after it went public in 2005 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), it expanded rapidly in the next three years.
UTV got into film distribution in 1996, and then in 1997 Screwvala produced Dil Ke Jharoke Main starring Manisha Koirala.
In 2004, UTV made its first foray into Indian TV with Hungama TV, a Hindi children's channel that took on two global giants – Disney and Time Warner. It acquired Japanese animation shows and produced local language shows and moved to the no. 1 position in the kid's space.
In February 2008, Disney's Southeast Asian subsidiary doubled its stake in UTV from less than 15% to more than 30%, and also launched UTVi, an English business news channel.
Screwvala has been instrumental in building closer ties with Hollywood. He co-produced the Chris Rock comedy, I Think I Love My Wife and M Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Happening’. His UTV also backed Mira Nair's "The Namesake," and the film grossed more cash in the USA than any other Indian production has earned abroad to date.
Mr. Screwvala lives with his wife Zarina who is a successful executive and co-founder of UTV. They live in Breach Candy, Mumbai.