The Editorial Chairman of The Outlook Group, Mr. Vinod Mehta passed away in New Delhi on Sunday, 8 March 2015 at the age of 73. He is survived by his wife Sumita, two brothers and a sister. He had taken ill for some time prior to his death.
Mr Mehta re-energised The Outlook magazine as its founding Editor-in-Chief of Outlook, contributing to its long successful adherence to journalistic standards and integrity. He imbued his writing with a fresh, spirited appeal and ensured his readers a timeless quality of writing. Moreover, his principles have continued to guide India’s premier newsmagazine and its sister publications Outlook Business, Outlook Hindi, Outlook Money and Outlook Traveller.
With a distinguished career as an editor, writer and a television talking head, Mr Mehta brought trademark wit, candour, and non-partisanship to the table, endearing him everyone who listened.
Mr Mehta was born in Rawalpindi and raised in Lucknow, and he went on to have an illustrious career. He was the author of six books, three of which were biographies (Bombay, Sanjay Gandhi and Meena Kumari), two were memoirs (Lucknow Boy and Editor Unplugged), one was a compilation (Mr Editor, how close are you to the PM?”).
He switched from Editor from the advertising to journalism in 1974, and Mr Mehta’s first job was as editor of the monthly men’s magazine, Debonair. He founded India’s first weekly newspaper, The Sunday Observer, from then he moved on to edit The Indian Post and The Independent in what was then Bombay.
Mr Mehta moved to Delhi in the early 1990s, when he became Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer, but his 17-year helmsmanship of Outlook magazine was his longest tenure. He was president of the Editors Guild of India and was, briefly, the writer and presenter of “Letter from India” on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4.
Aside from journalism, he enjoyed cricket and being a foodie, Mr Mehta was a magnet for tasteful gossip which he wrote extensively about in the last page of Outlook.
Mr Mehta disliked exaggeration and big words, choosing instead to focus on making the important interesting. Indian journalism will miss the late journalist of professional integrity, on who could easily don the mantle of a charismatic Editor.