The stage was set and the winners were announced. Lalit Modi was accorded the title of ‘impact Person of the Year 2008’ for his outstanding and impactful Indian Premier League, while Network18’s Raghav Bahl was the ‘impact Person of the Year 2008’ (Editorial Choice).
While both Modi and Bahl were modest in their acceptance speeches, it was Rahul Bajaj, industrialist, Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman of Bajaj Auto, who was the Star of the show with his gentle wit and asides.
Presented by Red FM and powered by the soon-to-be-launched television channel Real, the event also had sponsors in the form of CNEB (Dinner Sponsor), Amar Ujala (Associate Sponsor), Axis (Co-Sponsor), Bright Outdoor (Outdoor Partner) and Nielsen as Research Partner.
Much before the Award function was held, industry people were asked for their views on who they thought would be the ‘impact Person of the Year 2008’. Without any surprises, the maximum number of people named Lalit Modi for his innovative IPL format, which broke viewership and revenue records.
Anisha Motwani, EVP – Marketing & CMO - New Markets, Max New York Life Insurance, had said, “I think Modi is one of the strongest contenders for the Award this year.”
Santosh Padhi, CCO and Chairman-Partner of Taproot India, also name Modi as the winner, because to his mind he was the most impact-full amongst the nominees.
“Although I would love Aggie (Agnello Dias) to win, I think the winner this year is Lalit Modi, because the IPL was something different and really got the audiences glued,” he said.
And Padhi and Motwani were not wrong. It was Lalit Modi who won by way of industry votes and Raghav Bahl, who was the Editorial Choice, based on the unanimous decision of the exchange4media Group Editorial Board.
While Modi accepted the award in person, Bahl couldn’t make it due to a pressing commitment, and a video of his acceptance speech was played as his sister and Network18 Executive Director, Vandana Malik, and Senthil Chengalvarayan, President and Editorial Director of TV18 Business Media, accepted the award on his behalf.
Well-known radio jockey Mallishka regaled the crowds – a veritable who’s who of Indian media – as she introduced two new RJs in the Red FM fold. But if Mallishka had people laughing out loud, it was ‘Hamara’ Rahul Bajaj who had the audience in splits. With his electrifying presence, Bajaj said in his speech that he knew the award winners personally and both were very deserving. He patiently read the citations for both Modi and Bahl, but lightened the mood with his asides.
The after-event party feedback was that both Lalit Modi and Raghav Bahl were deserving awardees since they did indeed make a huge make impact last year. Said Ishan Raina, CEO, OOH Media, “The winners were perfectly chosen because the country did see an innovative and impactful format with the IPL and thus, Lalit Modi was a deserving awardee. The launch of Colors made the television space look colourful and Raghav Bahl was the man. Both of them, in my perspective deserve the impact Person of the Year 2008 award.”
Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar, was in agreement with Raina. He said, “I was one of the voters, and I think both the winners were the right choice. Lalit Modi truly deserved the award. I also think that the editorial choice award was a good idea and for the work that Raghav Bahl has done, there is no doubt that he deserves it.”
Outlook Editor-in-Chief Vinod Mehta, too, said that he found Raghav Bahl a deserving winner. “He is a self-made man… his story is of someone who started from the lowest rung, and he has risen to this stature of what he is entirely on his own. So, I think it is great that he has got the award,” Mehta said.
Vir Sanghvi, columnist and Hindustan Times Advisory Editorial Director, too, showered praises on the impact Person of the Year 2008 (Editorial Choice). He said, “I think that what Bahl has achieved is completely amazing. It is great to see that someone with such a great vision can change the industry.”
The evening ended with the video statements of Rance Crain, President, Crain Communications and Editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, and Jonah Bloom, Editor of Advertising Age.