Face of DD Marathi, Pradeep Bhide passes away at 68

Veteran electronic media journalist Pradeep Bhide — famed as the ‘Face of Marathi Doordarshan’ — passed away following a prolonged illness here on Tuesday, family sources said.

He was 68 and is survived by his wife, son and a daughter. His last rites were performed at the Andheri Crematorium on Tuesday evening in the presence of a large number of media colleagues and admirers.

Bhide was one of the earliest entrants to the Mumbai Doordarshan Kendra which was launched in 1972 and he worked initially in the news translation department.

Blessed with a commanding screen presence and a clear baritone voice, he soon slid into news reading with his trademark ‘Namaskar, Aajcha Thalak Batmya’ (Namaskar, Today’s News Headlines) becoming a household greeting for the evening news on Marathi Doordarshan.

A B.Sc graduate and an alumnus of the Ranade Institute of Communications, Bhide plunged into journalism from the age of 21 and worked in the media for nearly 35 years.

He also had brief stints with the media departments of MNCs like e-Merck and Hindustan Lever before shifting full-time to Doordarshan and media, his first love.

Over the years, he also worked as a correspondent, covering major news events for Doordarshan, formerly part of the National Network and later as it became a regional channel, DD Sahyadri.

Bhide read the day’s news in an engaging style, provided analysis, anchored news or other special shows on the government-run channel and occasionally even covered outside assignments.

He was much sought for the periodical state or national elections programmes like Janadesh or the results and political analysis post-polls that were avidly watched.

Later, he also set up his own media company, ‘Pradeep Bhide Communications’ in Khar, which produced short, advertising films, documentaries, infomercials and promos, and for many of them he provided the voice-over or hosted the programme.

He was the compere for the swearing-in ceremony of the first-ever Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government at Shivaji Park in 1995, and later hosted the oath-taking ceremony of the BJP-Sena government in 2014, besides covering major events of the Presidents, Prime Ministers and other foreign dignitaries.

Several prominent media personalities, NCP MP Supriya Sule, Congress and Shiv Sena leaders condoled the passing of Bhide, terming it as the ‘end of an era’.

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