Rohinton Soli ``Ronnie" Screwvala, a known name in the Indian film industry, is an entrepreneur who is credited as the pioneer of Cable Television in India. He is also the chairman and co-founder of upGrad, an edtech platform.
Screwvala pioneered Cable TV in India in 1981 at a time when there was a single terrestrial channel (Doordarshan) and grew that to multiple cities and most of the hotel chains in India. In 1985, he hosted a famous quiz show Mashoor Mahal on Doordarshan.
Ronnie built a Media and Entertainment conglomerate (UTV Software Communications) that partnered with News Corp, 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company and Bloomberg.
In 2005, UTV went public and listed on stock exchanges, into which Disney gradually took a substantial stake. In 2012, Ronnie Screwvala divested the company to Disney for an enterprise value of US$1.4 billion.
In 2013, Ronnie with his wife Zarina, co-founded their Philanthropic foundation- The Swades Foundation, whose aim is to lift a million people out of poverty.
In 2015, he along with Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli and Ravijot Chugh founded upGrad that offers higher education courses in collaboration with various universities. upGrad is one of the largest online education companies in India.
Screwvala also co-founded U Sports with a focus on three sports- Kabaddi, E Sports and Football - where under the brand U Dreams, the focus is to train and manage talent under various age groups for a sustained duration, and then manage their careers for the long term to play professionally in India and globally.
In 2014, Ronnie re-entered the media and entertainment industry with RSVP movies, an Indian film production company.
Screwvala also started his investment company -Unilazer Ventures, through which he has been a significant private equity investor in Indian start ups with early stage investment and significant minority stakes.
Ronnie Screwvala is also a notable film producer. He has produced or co-produced many films. Few among his many productions include- Lakshya, Swades, Rang De Basanti, Chup Chup Ke, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Life in a Metro, Jodhaa Akbar, A Wednesday, Delhi-6, Dhamaka etc.
Ronnie Screwvala is based in Mumbai and belongs to a Parsi family. Born on 8 September 1956, he did his schooling from Cathedral and John Connon School and graduated from Sydenham College. Hehad a keen interest in theatre and acted in professional plays with Bombay theatre as a hobby. He played notable roles in Shakespeare’s Othello and Death of a Salesman.
Screwvala is married twice. His 1st wife Manjula Nanavati and Screwvala have one daughter, Trishya Screwvala, who is married to sports commentator Suhail Chandhok. His 2nd wife Zarina Mehta has been a co-founder in the media company UTV they founded, and now is the co-Trustee of 'The Swades Foundation.' Both Zarina and Ronnie live at Breach Candy, South Mumbai.