Dream With Your Eyes Open is a book I stumbled upon accidentally in the Spotify podcast section. Yes, I listened to the audiobook. And guess what, it is narrated by none other than the writer himself, Mr Ronnie Screwvala. He is a natural narrator with a clean, loud and clear voice and spotless diction.
While I heard the first chapter to basically see how it would unfold, I was hooked immediately to the remaining and heard them in a flow. The book is catchy, full of stories, and a bit a preachy at times. All in all, it was definitely worth the time.
Ronni Screvwala basically narrates his memoir and gives us a peek into his journey largely as an entrepreneur with UTV (there is no mention of his current venture UpGrad). His fascinating journey begins from venturing into toothbrush business and goes on to the cable TV revolution in India in the early 90s. Then came UTV and path-breaking serial of 90s Shanti (90s kids should remember a very young Mandira Bedi as the protagonist). Ronnie tells us how he industriously produced a daily soap to the Indian audience, and how they worked hard to produce and shoot episodes continuously.
Later, he talks about his epic films such as Swades and Rang De Basanti with memorable anecdotes from filmmaking. He seemed quite obsessed Rang De Basanti and mentioned it quite a few times in the book. He talks about how he produced a film with a minor romantic angle and all the five heroes dead in the end. It is no news that film was a commercial and critical success when it was released. He also talks about other films like No One Killed Jessica, Barfi, etc.
Besides filmmaking and producing landmark films, he also bought Vijay TV from liquor baron Vijay Mallaya, merged with media giant Newscorp, and inked many other deals to expand into foreign markets. All the details are in the storytelling format. It is quite clear that Ronnie Screwvala has painstakingly written a memoir that holds the reader (listener in my case) throughout.
Ronnie Screwvala does not shy away from sharing his entrepreneurial experiences and mantras he followed as a leader at UTV. He also unmasks his failures and mistakes. In the last chapter, he drifts from the storytelling format to throw light on business practices.
Dream With Your Eyes Open is a book for budding entrepreneurs, film lovers and anyone attracted towards a fascinating story of an unusual Parsi boy who grew in Mumbai.
Check out our collection of the best books for entrepreneurs that you should definitely read if ‘Dream with your eyes open’ interests you!