Many Indians, rich and poor, seem to be entrepreneurs at heart. They can be original, creative, and solution-based. Give an Indian a problem and he or she will find an answer. Meet Gurtej Singh Thukral, a tour de force in international Punjabi media. International media tend to work with competent home grown professionals, so Gurtej is its go-to man.
Who is Gurtej Singh Thukral?
Gurtej has anchored around 100 reality show episodes for India and the UK’s most popular Punjabi TV channel; PTC Punjabi. He’s also produced around 3000 jingles for Punjabi radio stations all over the world, so his voice is familiar to thousands of people!
Gurtej was born in Jalandhar, Punjab, India. His father owns a sports goods manufacturing unit and his mother is a homemaker.
The roots of what Gurtej Singh Thukral does now lie in his family background.
After migrating from Pakistan in 1947, his grandfather started a printing press in the early 1960s, and then he started working for one of the most reputed newspaper groups, the Punjab Kesari.
“He was one of the founding members of the Punjabi versions, the Jagbani and worked there for almost 40 years. My uncle worked with him. I used to go to the press once every week and they amount of respect they used to get attracted me towards the media line,” he explains.
Gurtej describes his younger self as being a “nature lover and very talkative. I wanted to become a meteorologist but ended up doing only a BSc in Geography as there wasn't much scope here.”
Serendipity happens to those who look for it. Gurtej Singh Thukral continues; “I was selected by a radio channel in an RJ hunt in college, I never wanted to volunteer for the auditions- it just happened. I was selected out of 200 professional debate and elocution experts and after that I never looked back.”
It’s no surprise then that he has been a popular radio jockey in Jalandhar. In addition, Gurtej has worked on the Akaal and Sikh channels in the UK. Such a frequent visitor to England that he is now planning to make a second home here, he has produced jingles for nearly every British Punjabi radio station. His voice and personality are famous throughout much of the younger end of the Punjabi community.
Though he has anchored for Punjab Radio London, he has also worked as a station head in India.
His voiceovers have appeared on more than 20 radio stations and TV channels around the globe.
He has been an aide de camp and media adviser to renowned Immigration Solicitor Gurpal Singh Oppal in India.
Now Gurtej presents and produces in sound and in visual media.
Gurtej on Jalandhar
He is fiercely proud of his heritage and home town. Clearly, you can take Gurtej out of Jalandhar, but you can never take Jalandhar out of Gurtej! He says, “I love Jalandhar, its better than the other two parts of Punjab, it’s an NRI city and people have good sense. It's a media hub of south east Asia too, having a large number of newspapers, channels and radio stations based here.”
Gurtej Singh Thukral seems effortlessly to handle any project he chooses. He recently produced a short film festival and awards ceremony in Jalandhar, Punjab.
But there have been multiple obstacles along the way. He explains;
“My financial crises have always been a big challenge for me as they never let me take risks in investing or experimenting. I was forced by my father to discontinue my degree to join my father in his business but I took a chance and ended up being unregretful.” He has shown his ability to produce in the media, though there is a small cost, as this writer discovered first hand when consulting him. He does not sleep before 3am- like many producers, musicians and media workers.
Why Gurtej loves the UK
A recurrent remark that comes from Asians discussing the media in the UK is professionalism. Gurtej is no exception. He enthuses;
“I have always loved the UK and always loved to work with the Brits; they are professional and stand by their word.
They appreciate creativity and give space to good talent or ideas. I look forward to doing business officially from UK as an entrepreneur.
“I love working with the Brits; they are professional and stand by their word.” Gurtej Singh Thukral.