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Aditya Ghosh.
Aditya Ghosh.

I feel more great ideas need Aditya Ghosh: Shantanu Moitra

Music director Shantanu Moitra says the key strengths of his friend, outgoing IndiGo president Aditya Ghoshhis childlike enthusiasm, innocence, and the fact that he's not enamoured of powerwill hold him in good stead

News of IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh’s resignation may have come as a surprise to the corporate world, but friend and music director Shantanu Moitra believes it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. “In India, we don’t know when and how to exit. Aditya has set an incredible example of it. He exits when he is at the top of the game, and I’m sure it’s tough to arrive at that decision when everything is going well. But like I said, he has quit a company and not life. There are so many things that he needs to explore," says Moitra.

For starters, there is a trek to the Himalayas that the two are planning together. “I met Aditya for the first time five years ago, at an INK Talk where I was pitching my idea of ‘100 Days in Himalayas’ to some CEOs for funding," says Moitra. The funding never came through, but Moitra gained a friend. “After the talk, we met at a common friend’s house where we sang old Hindi songs all evening," he says. At the time, Moitra didn’t know Ghosh was heading IndiGo, and Ghosh wasn’t aware that Moitra composed music for films. “We got to know of each other’s interest that evening but we didn’t care what we did professionally, and that was extremely refreshing for me, especially given the world I come from," says Moitra, best known for the musical scores of Hindi film hits Parineeta (2005), Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), 3 Idiots (2009), PK (2014) and October (2018).

Ghosh has been non-committal about his future plans and said that he is pausing to “think through the next adventure with an open mind". Moitra believes Ghosh has what it takes to land on his feet. “A lot of people get married to the designation and chair they hold in their office. But that’s not the case with Aditya. He doesn’t get enamoured by power. He is only subservient to ideas," he says.

Signalling a connection to his roots, the objects that adorn the walls of Ghosh’s Delhi home can all be traced back to his early life. The only thing that may have changed is the frames. “It tells a lot about the man. Just because there is progress, he doesn’t forget the things that took him to his current life. This is an incredible quality. He is not only grounded but has a tremendous value system," says Moitra, revealing that Ghosh makes it a point to have at least one meal every day with his parents and children.

Shantanu Moitra. Photo: Aalok Soni/ Hindustan Times
Shantanu Moitra. Photo: Aalok Soni/ Hindustan Times

Likening Ghosh to “a kid in a candy store", Moitra says the executive’s “childlike exuberance and innocence" makes him who he is, a trait that reflects in IndiGo’s fun brand identity. He’s enthusiastic about everything: “The other day, we were having chola bhatura at Gole Market (in Delhi), and his face just lit up," Moitra recalls. Then, there was the time when Moitra orchestrated a meeting between Ghosh and (writer, lyricist and director) Gulzar. “One day, Aditya was talking about his days in Mumbai. I asked him what is that one thing that he missed the most. He said he would take his car out in the morning and deliberately park it outside Gulzar’s sprawling bungalow, Boskyana in Pali Hill, just to catch a glimpse of him. I found that very endearing," Moitra remembers. A month later, Moitra found himself working on a project with Gulzar. “One evening, I rang Aditya up, and asked if he could come to Mumbai the next morning for a few hours. He gave me some corporate spiel about board meetings, etc. When I told him that he could meet Gulzar, there was absolute silence on the other side (laughs). After a pause, he said, ‘I’m coming’."

Ghosh spent the day in the recording studio with Gulzar and Moitra. “Gulzar loves a simple Bengali meal of steamed rice, boiled potatoes and eggs mashed together with salt, green chillies and mustard. So whenever I work with him, I take lunch from home. Gulzar himself mixed the potatoes and eggs and fed them to Aditya, who just couldn’t believe it! I will never forget that moment," Moitra says.

In India, we don’t know when and how to exit. Aditya has set an incredible example of it. He exits when he is at the top of the game.- Shantanu Moitra

He believes nothing can shake Ghosh’s zest for life. “I was very happy to hear the news (of his resignation). Aditya has been working from the age of 18, and suddenly there is this emptiness. Even though he is not doing anything, it will take some time for him to settle down. Right now, he is just chilling, and enjoying the small pleasures in life, like a Metro ride with his son," says Moitra, confident that when his friend does make his next move, people will take note. “I feel more great ideas need Aditya. There are amazing things waiting in the universe, and I’m sure he will pick up something," he concludes.

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