Look up, he is riding the clouds. It’s SHOWTIME in the heavens!
by Gitikka Ganju Dhar Industry Watch | February 14, 2020 | News
Michael Menezes Showtime Group
On February 13th, 2020 Michael Menezes, Showtime Group Chairman, Founding President EEMA and an Indian experiential industry great, passed on, peacefully in his sleep. The ecosystem we live in and work in turned numb with shock. Then, began the outpouring of, colossal grief.
Michael was a man of phenomenal consequence for the Indian experiential zone. A pioneer, a trendsetter, a leader, a teacher, a mentor, a guide, a friend, he was a giant amongst men. But most of all, he was an example. An example of how an experiential professional could achieve success with his head held high and his spine erect.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had said – "When a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him, lights up the paths of men."
Let’s take that light and march on, for he taught us that you can be great with your goodness, Humanness, and principals intact.
Tomorrow, he will embark on his final journey from the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Gole Market in New Delhi. I never addressed him as Sir, as many in our fraternity did. But today, as I write this piece, I want to say –
Sir - Goodbye.
As you would have said – Wipe the tears and walk on, it’s Showtime!
- Gittikka Ganju Dhar
Here are the emotions felt by some close friends and colleagues. It is impossible to collate everyone’s tributes. Everyone has something significant, memorable and exceptional to say. After all, when giants pass on, the world mourns.
Harjinder Singh –
I asked him to pen his thoughts, though I know that he is not a man of too many words, spoken or written. He could not gather himself enough to write. But I know he is the first man standing from our fraternity when the time to say goodbye has gently knocked. I know he loved Michael. And Michael, well, as they say, it is history now. They had a real story between them. Whether they let the world see it or not, the mutual trust, affection, and dependency was like none other. I will let it remain between them and their Sunday breakfast dates at Sagar Ratna.
Swati Vasishtha -
I said goodbye and gave you a kiss as I left and with that, I bade farewell to an entire part of my life. My mentor, hero, idol, everything I know, all that I’ve been able to achieve as a professional, the respect and appreciation I’ve received, all of it is dedicated to you, Michael Sir, you will always be my benchmark and reference point and the only one I’ll still look to for approval, there will never be another like you. I promised you a quarterly meet up this year and Sid and I will make sure we raise a toast to the man we’ve loved like a father. Rest well now Sir, God knows you’ve earned it. We will miss you, always.
Humayoon Zaidi -
It’s not easy to put into words what Michael meant to me, or what I loved about him. Everyone knows him for the stalwart he was, a giant amongst men. The love and support he gave to all who were associated with him are also well known. What I loved most, was his childlike innocence and his joie de vivre. One of my favorite memories of him is a meeting he and I had a true blue dyed-in-the-wool Brit, in a cafe in London. Now if you are in London, you should have the English Tea. As the tea was served Michael picked up a cookie and dunked it into the tea, Parle-G style, without batting a lid, I followed suit, and we had a merry meeting, chomping tea and biscuits. Post the meeting we laughed loud and long at the Brit's bewilderment! That was Michael for you. You got it, as it was.
Brian Tellis –
I have known Michael from the days before Showtime. Though my interactions with him then were few and far in between, there was chemistry even at that time. The magic of knowing him lay in personal conversations with him on life. He had no filters. He was not capable of lying. What he thought was what you got. Also, his love for family was brilliant. He was the Founding President of EEMA, I took over from him, I still recall the magnanimity with which he shared information, making the transition smooth for me. Too many stories to tell, he was very special, but it will suffice to say that they don’t make his kind anymore. May he rest in eternal peace.
Siddharth Ganeriwala -
Yesterday, I lost a mentor and I take the liberty of saying, a dear friend, even though we were a few decades apart. Michael Menezes was a pioneer in every aspect. I had the privilege of meeting him in 1998, wherein thanks to Harjinder Singh and Sunttosh, we were introduced to the world of lasers. The ones that blew the minds of everyone in the country at that time. He simply went and bought these huge, kickass ones from Germany, instead of renting them! From there on, I was simply stunned every time I interacted with him, Xenon projectors, to flying cars, rotating bikes, moving screens, the largest of Opening Ceremonies embedded with perfect technology, multi-sensory experiences, flown in from Germany, Singapore, Dubai, at the drop of a hat for this master craftsman, every moment with him was like being in Disneyland. Under the tough demeanor was the softest core. Last week, when we spoke, as always, he readily introduced me to a ‘friend’ who had a large event requirement in the South, with his now-famous words - Be careful, he could be a crook! Picking me from the airport for our regular Starbucks Coffee meets, where we would discuss the policies and politics of EEMA and the experiential industry, I so wish, I could narrate them publicly. I today watch as the skies light up with multiple technologies and projections, with resounding sound effects, in the seamless art of storytelling, as they welcome him. Thank you for being my mentor and friend. And I remain that ‘silly fellow’, you often addressed me as.
Sushma Prabhu Gaikwad -
The unimaginable has happened. I could have never imagined a world without Michael. He was a man of action, driven by his belief, passion, and perseverance. Leading by example, he was at the helm of crafting a new narrative for the event industry in the country. I remember this one time from eleven years ago when Michael insisted that I take the stage at an industry event and said, "It is time for the women of our industry to step forward." And yes, we did. Every time I shall speak, I will pay a silent tribute to you, Michael.
Atri Sengupta -
I can not sum up the man in a few lines. Michael and I shared something extremely special. He was first my friend, then my conscience keeper and then my guide. He was kind and believed in God. He was a thinking man. He was special. His ability to disconnect his business astuteness from his personal equations with all who he touched, was nothing but a gift. He was a Man’s Man! It was a sheer honor knowing and working with you Michael and thank you for taking me as your friend. See you on the other side.
Kulbir Singh -
A true leader, not just a boss. Someone who has earned people’s respect, not just commanded it.A pioneer in getting technology to India.A pioneer who shaped and organized the event industry. I had worked closely with Sir from the year 2000. I have seen him laugh, guide and construct the people who worked with him. Most of the industry leaders are part of his great institution known as Showtime Events. He was among the very few I wish on Teacher's Day. Yesterday, the industry lost a great teacher, visionary and above all a very good human being.
Poonam Lal -
I had the opportunity to meet and interact with Michael Menezes when my rather reluctant stint started with EEMA as member NEC. I was in complete awe of him and in the meetings, would try and act like a piece of furniture, hoping he wouldn't notice me. And I thought that I was succeeding until one day he completely surprised me when he asked for me to be part of his team for some EEMA design work. Thereafter, I was fortunate to work closely with him on a few projects and as part of his ombudsman committee. I teased him about being gender partial and calling the committee Ombuds-man and we had an interesting debate about that! With work, he was generous with his encouragement and appreciation. He had this amazing graciousness, calm dignity and a sense of humor that I found very endearing. I wish I had spent more time with him. I will miss you, Michael.
Arpita Gandhi -
In each one of us, you leave behind a small piece of you. Thank you, Sir, for being a father figure, mentor, confidant and the guiding light no matter from how near or far you were. I am who I am and where I am, thanks to you. Never will I forget the warmth of your core. Michael Menezes, you will be missed! Rest in Peace.
Gitikka Ganju Dhar –
There was a time when most of my projects as a live host came from Showtime. Those were the days! We worked as a team, as a family. Most of the friendships I forged in those days remain, to date, the most honest ones. Honestly, about Michael, I cannot decide, without strain, what to pen and what to edit out. As a host, I grew up around Michael and his team at Showtime. It was home. I remember how he often chided me about smiling too much while speaking on stage, till the last time I stepped up, on to the stage in his presence. “Still too much smiling Gitikka! Too much!” For him, the way he looked at me, never changed. I was still Gitikka from 2002! I still got the occasional good-natured dressing down from him! I owe to his organization a considerable part of my body of work. Thank you for the nurturing. Your training grounds were world-class. As I fly out of Mumbai to take the stage for an event in Jaipur, I feel deeply saddened and troubled that I will not be able to attend his funeral and pay my last respects. But I also know what he would have told me – Go do your job Gitikka, fulfill the commitment you have made. Showtime stops for none.
With respect and gratitude, from an entire industry, for -
18.09.1952 – 13.02.2020
On February 13th, 2020 Michael Menezes, Showtime Group Chairman, Founding President EEMA and an Indian experiential industry great, passed on, peacefully in his sleep.