Ronnie Screwvala’s Journey to Entrepreneurial Triumph

Ronnie Screwvala

From Rags to Riches: The Inspirational Success Story of Ronnie Screwvala

Ronnie Screwvala’s journey from humble beginnings to entrepreneurial prominence exemplifies the transformative power of ambition and resilience. Born and raised in Mumbai, Screwvala’s path to success was marked by perseverance and a relentless pursuit of his dreams.

Through his pioneering ventures in the entertainment industry and beyond, he has inspired countless aspiring entrepreneurs to defy odds and chart their own destinies.

This exploration delves into the pivotal moments and strategies that propelled Screwvala from a dreamer to a doer, leaving an indelible mark on India’s entrepreneurial landscape.

Rohinton Soli Screwvala is professionally known as Ronnie Screwvala. He is an Indian entrepreneur, film producer, and investor.

In 2008, he has been named on Esquire’s List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century. He was ranked 78 among the 100 most influential people in the world on the Time 100. He was also listed amongst 25 Asia’s Most Powerful people by Fortune Magazine.

He is based in Mumbai, India. He pioneered cable television, built a Media and Entertainment conglomerate (UTV Software Communications). It was in partnership with News Corp, 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company and Bloomberg. Later, he divested the company to Disney for an enterprise value of US$1.4 billion in 2012.

He along with his wife scaled their non-profit The Swades Foundation whose goal is to work with a million people in rural India from 2013. It empowered them and move them out of poverty every 6–7 years and then move to another geography.

Ronnie has co-founded UpGrade, that is into Online Education in the higher education & specialization sector. He built a sports company named U Sports for spanning football/E sports & kabaddi.

He re-entered the media content space to build a creative content company in Movies and Digital Content (RSVP). He also wrote a book with a title Dream with Your Eyes Open. Through his investment company Unilazer Ventures, he has been investor in Indian start-ups with early stage investment & significant minority stakes. 

Brief overview of Ronnie Screwvala’s background

Ronnie Screwvala was born on 8th September 1956 in Mumbai into a Parsi family. His father was an executive at the British Firm named J L Morrison and Smith & Nephew. Screwvala schooled and went to college in Mumbai at Cathedral and John Connon School and Sydenham College.

He had a keen interest in theatre while in school. He acted in professional plays with Bombay theatre as a hobby. There he played notable roles in Shakespeare’s Othello and Death of a Salesman.

Screwvala is married to Zarina Mehta. That is his second marriage. His wife Zarina has been a co-founder in the media company UTV they founded. Now she is the co-Trustee of their Philanthropic foundation; The Swades Foundation.

They live in Breach Candy, South Mumbai. His first wife, Manjula Nanavati and Screwvala have one daughter named Trishya Screwvala. She runs her own Not For Profit, The Lighthouse Project. She is married to sports commentator Suhail Chandhok.

Early entrepreneurial endeavors or interests

In the early days of his entrepreneurship, he founded a toothbrush manufacturing company. He is also credited with pioneering Cable TV in India in 1981. At that time when there was a single terrestrial channel (Doordarshan) and grew that to multiple cities and most of the hotel chains in India.

Entry into the Entertainment Industry

In 1985, he hosted a quiz show Mashoor Mahal in Doordarshan.

United Television (UTV)

He founded UTV. Over the period he grew it into a media conglomerate spanning a leading movie studio, a Games Studio and creative content company. In 2005 it went public and listed on stock exchanges. Disney gradually took a substantial stake until he divested the whole company to them in 2012.

Ronnie Screwvala’s contributions to philanthropic causes

The Swades Foundation

He and his wife Zarina founded The Swadesh Foundation. It was named after the acclaimed film he produced.
Now, Swades is active in Raigad district in the state of Maharashtra in two thousand villages. It has involved half a million people. The foundation is working on Water, Sanitation, Health, Education and the main focus is on Livelihood opportunities.

Highlighting key innovations employed in various ventures


He is the co-founder of Upgrade. Basically, Upgrade is one of the largest Online Education companies in India. It has focused on education & specialization sector. Majorly, it has focuses on Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, Digital Technology Management, Data Driven Management and Product Management. Now Upgrade has tie-ups with several colleges including MICA.


Ronnie is the co-founder of U Sports also. It has a focus on sports. One of them Kabaddi is a popular sport in India and around Asia. His team U Mumba is one of the top teams in the 12 team ProKabaddi League.

RSVP Movies

Actually, RSVP Movies is his re-entry into the media and entertainment industry. This time he has focussed on developing its own scripts and screenplays and working with directors.


Unilazer was incorporated by Ronnie as a public equity company. Unilazer has made investments in the Indian new economy companies with early stage investments with significant minority stake as also bringing with him his entrepreneurial experience to the founders.

Unilazer has invested range from e commerce to a leading online eyewear company in India. It also invested from AI and Bots to Agriculture to Micro housing Finance.

In conclusion, Ronnie Screwvala’s entrepreneurial odyssey serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for aspiring business leaders worldwide. His unwavering commitment to innovation, coupled with a steadfast belief in the power of dreams, has not only shaped his own destiny but has also transformed industries and touched lives.

As we reflect on Screwvala’s journey, we are reminded that with passion, perseverance, and a bold vision, anything is possible. May his story continue to ignite the flames of ambition in the hearts of dreamers everywhere, propelling them toward their own entrepreneurial triumphs.

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