50 power peopleTheHighestCircleThe new club of the power elite, still dominated by mogulsand mavens, is a celebration of India’s creative brio as well By S. Prasannarajan t is as if only irony alone can bring some cheer to these bleak times.I The most feted millionaire today in India and elsewhere is a slumdog. Maybe, as in the movie, only wit and perseverance can keep you on top of the game at a time when the lights are going outall over the highest shrines of capitalism. In the gathering darkness,desperate invocations have a socialist resonance. And suddenly, thecold breeze of mortality is wafting across the pinstriped republic ofplutocrats, that sovereign state within the state that looked infallibletill the other day. The unthinkable is upon us. The masters of theuniverse have feet of clay. Still, despite all the news of ApocalypseTomorrow, let’s not be fooled. The traditional relationship betweenwealth and power remains intact. The front row of the power elite—the Establishment—is reserved for people who know how to createwealth and play with it, no matter even if they are poorer by a fewbillions in the wake of the economic downturn. The sweep of theirpower, though, is not directly proportional to the size of their wealth;and that is why the richest is not necessarily the most powerful. Poweris all about the ideas and attitude of the one who wields it. Thebusiness class that still dominates the Higher Circle tells more than astory of survival; it essays the boldness and ingenuity of a few who stillmake a difference to the lives of the rest—for better or worse. Today,in the age of bail-outs and stimulus plans, they may have realised theuses of governments but their power is not subordinate to the rulersof the day. That said, the INDIA TODAY Power List 2009 shows a shift inhierarchy, a shift that reflects an India where the money is matchedby the mind. India is the stage on which some of the most exuberantshows on earth are mounted. India is the page on which some of thefinest words are written. And we won’t be surprised if Jai Ho becomesa global ring tone. Call it the reach of India’s soft power. As thebad news from the free market multiplies, there is at least somethingto be happy about: the cultural capital is not melting down. And thislist, though mostly populated by the usual suspects of moguls andmavens, is a celebration of India’s creative brio as well. The classicalarchitecture of the Establishment—built on the triangular structureof government, the military, and business—hardly exists in democra-cies. Usurpers and innovators continue to shatter its cosy equilibrium.The rustle of the following pages carries the power of the few whoseprivilege may be exclusive but not eternal.
RATAN 1 TATA 71, Industrialist (1) Never Say Die Because in India’s hour of terror, he acted more statesmanlike than any politician. Because he spoke for the nation in every crisis, whether at Singur or when The Taj was being attacked in Mumbai, personifying India’s fighting spirit by ensuring the hotel reopened within a month. Because he embodies ethical entrepreneur- ship even when being challenged with dire circumstances and notwithstanding Mamata Banerjee’s opposition, will roll out the Nano at the promised price this year. Because despite the recession, his group’s turnover will touch $100 billion this year, and he has not yielded to pessimism, whether on Corus or on the Jaguar Land Rover deal. the big number A valuation of $10 billion for the telecom business when the Japanese major DoCoMo paid $2.7 billion for a 26 per cent stake. quotable quote “Some Ms are good and some are bad.” Y2K Most of the cars that he drives have the number 2000. hot wheels A Metallic Blue Maserati. is known to Take the controls of his private jets.BANDEEP SINGH
50 power people BANDEEP SINGH MUKESH 2 AMBANI 51, Industrialist (2) Wealth Creator Because he did not succumb to either corporate fad or government pressure, staying away from invest- ing in overseas acquisitions and sticking to building greenfield assets that deliver 20 per cent returns on investment. Because RIL is likely to end the year with a growth of over 20 per cent with income rising to over Rs 1,60,000 crore from Rs 1,39,269 crore last year, and at a time when everyone is strapped for money, he is swimming in nearly Rs 30,000 crore of cash. Because his gas fields KG-D6 will begin production this month, saving India over $10 billion in foreign exchange. agenda 2009 Supporting wife Nita in her quest to help Mumbai Indians win IPL Season 2 and shift- ing into their new home on Alta- mount Road before the new year. is proud that Low cost gas from KG-D6 will bring down subsidies on power, fertiliser and LPG costs, therefore the fiscal deficit. current obsession Preparing twins Akash and Isha who are leaving to study in the US. power moment First Indian to meet US President Barack Obama within a month of his taking office. he believes His dream of farm-to- fork revolution will happen next.34 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
BANDEEP SINGH ANIL 3 AMBANI 48, Industrialist (3)Mr BigBecause he is Mr Big in everysegment he has a presence in, frompower to entertainment, from roadsto coalfields.Because his influence across thecountry’s political spectrum is unmat-ched and he bagged three big ticketpower projects even with anunfriendly government.Because by 2015, he could be thebiggest infrastructure player in India.Because he is setting up 32,000 MWof generating capacity, building500 km of roads, the Delhi AirportExpress Metro line as well as theMumbai Metro project.Because even as many are down-sizing, he will be adding 16,000employees this year.Because his tie-up with StevenSpielberg and movie productionalliances with Hollywood stars fromGeorge Clooney to Nicolas Cagemake him a formidable name on theentertainment marquee.idea of a binge Kesar pista icecream on Wednesday nights atIndia Gate on the way to theairport to fly back to Mumbaion his Global Express.image makeover Has nowswitched from flashy Armani toconservative suits.is proud about The 700-bed superspecialty hospital which has beenset up by wife Tina.is happy about Having improvedhis mileage. He now runs 18 kmevery day. MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 35
50 power people SUNIL 4 MITTAL 51, Industrialist (4) BANDEEP SINGH Ring King Because in a business where he is competing big play for the Indian mind-share with Bharti with Tata, Birla, Ambani and Vodafone, he Airtel Triple Play, Telephone, Broadband and TV, is the biggest, and in an era of gloom, has proved on a single line. to be an island of boom. Because Best Price, his tie-up with Walmart, Because given the lead of 25 million, even if will take off by June. Because without doubt, he Airtel stood still, it would take the nearest is the face of the new Indian entrepreneur. competitor nearly 12 months to catch up. Because with annualised revenues of Rs 38,000 little known fact Airtel has over one million crore for 2008-09 and profit before tax of outlets and recharge stores. Rs 15,000 crore, Airtel is among the most effi- cient money machines and by 2013, Bharti will is looking forward to His daughter Eiesha’s wedding this summer. be a trillion-rupee group. Because he is engaged in the transformation of fitness is Walking for an hour in Lodhi Gardens. telecom into a lifestyle business, ranging from calls to games, from movies to music, making a music means Ghazals by Jagjit Singh.36 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
50 power people BHASKAR PAUL Y He Khan es SHAH RUKH 5 Because he is everywhere, at once, as a movie actor, cricket team owner, KHAN television producer, sometime television host and ambassador of 10 brands, 43, Actor (6) who was the most visible celebrity on TV in 2008. Because everything he does makes headline news, from a tiff with Salman Khan to a patch-up with Amitabh Bachchan and his film, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, almost salvaged a studio, Yash Raj Films. Because he is emerging as a spokesman for Islam at a time when the religion is under global attack and though Pepsi may have dropped him as their brand ambassador, young people see him as a Bollywood outsider who made it to the top through sheer grit. Because whether it is anchoring a film awards night or promoting his movie in a reality show, he can be counted on to perform. funniest thing anyone ever said to him Nice try, sir. An SMS from someone after one of his movies. biggest joy Sleeping in bed between his children Aryan and Suhana and constantly being kicked by them. And watching them ski in Austria. latest reads The Yuck Book. “My daughter made me read it.” Artemis Fowl’s The Time Paradox and Daniel Suarez’s Daemon.38 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
50 power people AMAR Man in the Middle 6 Because his support to the govern- SINGH ment makes it compliant to his demands and the moment he criticised the then fi- 54, Politician (new) nance minister P. Chidambaram for in- flation and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora for his ‘anti-people’ (read anti-Anil Ambani) policies, the media assumed there would be a reshuffle. Because when the Congress dithered over seat sharing in Uttar Pradesh, he worked out a political realignment with Sharad Pawar over dinner that brought the Congress to the negotiating table. exchange programme Substi- tuted Prakash Karat for the Gandhis as his new best friends. Says he sees “a ray of hope” in Sonia and Rahul. the rethink “I have already said that 1999 was a mistake,” he says, explain- ing Samajwadi Party’s decision not to support a Congress government at the Centre then. and finally Has stopped wearing his 10-carat diamond ring because “people said I was wearing it for my Venus angle but the real reason is that my wife gave it to me”.YASBANT NEGIHeavy MetalBecause in a year when the economy is in a state of shock, thegroup is set to double its revenues from last year and with new busi-nesses, expansion in steel as also the refinery going on-stream, theirrevenues will touch a trillion rupees by 2011.Because while other companies are talking about shelving plans,the brothers are investing over Rs 15,000 crore in steel alone,taking their production capacity to14 metric tonnes per annum, and pledg-ing over half-a-billion dollars to telecomoperations in Africa. SHASHIKANT 7Because their businesses span sectors, & RAVI RUIAfrom 1,500 gas stations through whichthey will retail petroleum products 65 and 59, Industrialists (12)across India to Aegis, their BPO opera-tions with 35,000 employees.recession mantra Keep your head down, believe in yourselfand your people during tough times.little known fact With 10,000 employees in the US, Essar Groupis the largest Indian employer there.smart strategy With a majority of group companies privately- Ravi (left) andheld, the Ruias are insulated from the vagaries of the stock market. Shashikant MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 39
50 power people SAMIR & VINEET 8News Worthies JAIN 54 and 42, Media Barons (9)Because not only do they have the largest selling Englishlanguage daily in the country at 32 lakh copies a day, andthe largest English language financial daily selling sevenlakh copies every day, but also their television news chan-nel has become the highest rated in that genre.Because they are the largest private players in radio, with32 stations across India, to which they have added a for-eign acquisition, Virgin Radio, as well.Because they are the only ones brave enough to launch abusiness channel slam bang in the middle of a recession.Because with cash reserves of Rs 3,400 crore, they arebest equipped to ride the economic storm.the big divide The Vice-Chairman now looks after printand the Managing Director after everything else.big change Mother Indu Jain no longer visits the office.the big acquisition Of the soon-to-be-husband ofback-from-Stanford daughter Trishala who has beenensconced in the fourth floor of Times House. Samir (left)facing the axe The Times of India’s edit page. and Vineet NARENDRA BISHT AMIT KUMARBHASKAR PAUL Heir Rising Because despite the economic downturn, the consolidated revenues of the Aditya Birla Group are still $28 billion and he has a footprint that straddles 25 countries. Because his companies have attained global leadership and are among the world’s most cost- efficient copper and aluminum producers. Because a year of quiet consolidation has seen the Group’s retail operations touch 615 super- markets and two hypermarkets. Because thanks to a new will by grandfather B.K. Birla, a large part KUMAR MAN- of the Rs 5,000-crore empire will be 9 inherited by him. GALAM BIRLA 41, Industrialist (5) biggest stress buster Shooting with his Morini pistol at the Maharashtra Rifle Association’s shooting range in Worli, Mumbai. recession mantra Consistent cost manage- ment is holding the group in good stead today. road ahead Wants to make the Aditya Birla Group a part of the Fortune 150 club by 2014.
50 power people G.M.Master of All Trades 10 RAOBecause he is steering the makeover of 58, Industrialist (17)the eponymous GMR Group from a domestic player inthe infrastructure business to a global player with apresence in seven countries.Because with the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport inHyderabad, completed in a record 30 months in Marchlast year, he proved India can have world class facilities.Because even as the Group builds the new terminal atthe Delhi airport, it has ensured an enduring connectwith the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL contest.big buy Acquisition of 50 per cent stake in Intergen, aleading global power generation company, at a cost ofapproximately $1 billion, making the Group the largestprivate power generation company in India.little known fact A mechanical engineer by training,he was employed in the Public Works Department ofAndhra Pradesh before he resigned to turn a jute trader.should be embarrassed about The foray into insu-rance, creating ING Vysya and finally pulling out of it. A PRABHAKAR RAOAFP The Maestro Because his recently-acquired hard- ware underlines India’s growing soft power and his twin Oscar wins have made him the country’s golden boy. Because he is every international artist’s first choice for collaboration in India, whether it is Kylie Minogue or Akon. Because he is an amazing amalgam of Indian multiculturalism: born a Hindu, he converted to Islam at his mother’s behest and gave his first public performance in a church as an 11-year-old. Because his music, a blend of raga and reggae, jazz and hip-hop, has opened the world’s eyes to the dazzling possibilities of Indian film sound. A.R. time out None. While the rest of the 11 RAHMAN world is celebrating his win, he has got back to work, completing his pending 43, Music Director (47) projects in India for “furious directors”. loves to Surf the Internet on his MacBook and ensures that everyone in his team uses the same too. first stop anywhere Mosque and then an electronics shop. Currently devoted to the Continuum fingerboard.
50 power peopleMade in BharatBecause by launching the Xylo, a ANAND 12multi-utility vehicle, at the gloomiest point MAHINDRAfor the automobile industry, he has dis-played entrepreneurial courage. 52, Industrialist (14)Because with market leadership in trac-tors, utility vehicles, farm equipment, a fi-nance company that lends to ruralhouseholds, an SEZ and a realty division, heis all set to bring Bharat back to India.Because his joint venture with BAESystems sets him up to be one of the biggestplayers in India’s emerging defence sector.Because he is one of the most articulateIndian voices at various internationalfora, from Aspen to Davos.is proud that Mahindra Realty is adebt-free company. And that one in twotractors in the country carries theMahindra badge.little known fact The 155 mm howitzer,known to Indians as the Bofors gun, isnow in the Mahindra-BAE stable. SHRIYA PATIL SHINDENAMAS BHOJANI The Frugal Billionaire Because he steers India’s No. 3 soft- ware services exporter without worrying about the high volatility of the IT industry. Because with a cash chest of $500 million, he is looking for acquisitions abroad and plans to beef up his company’s position in France and Germany. Because in keeping with deep personal values of corporate governance, he ap- proached the Madras High Court to stop the proposed reverse merger between Subhiksha and Blue Green Constructions and Investments, even though his invest- ment firm, PremjiInvest, had bought a 10 per cent stake in the retail chain from ICICI AZIM HASHAM Ventures for around $150 million last year. 13 PREMJI management mantra When you 62, Businessman (11) over-pay people based on their results, it can generate very distorted behaviours. little known fact He fulfilled his teen- age wish, 33 years on, by completing his electrical engineering at Stanford, in 1999.
50 power people Mr Solution Because he is the go-to guy for gov- ernment and business, whether it is Satyam or the troubled US-64. Because in a year of edifices turning to dust, HDFC will close with an estimated growth of 19 per cent. Because he brings credibility to what- ever he does, whether it is putting the nuts and bolts of the new pension policy in place or advising the Government on providing affordable housing to the masses in the country. DEEPAK Because the rumour is that he knows 14 PAREKH someone on a first name basis on the board of every Fortune 500 company. 64, Banker (15) recession mantra Be cautious and conservative in such times. Don’t focus on market share, instead concentrate on the bottom line. road ahead Officially it’s his last year in office and July onwards he’ll be busy planning his exit from the company. favourite getaways London and New York, where he enjoys a game of RAJKUMAR cricket or tennis during the season. HEMANT CHAWLA The Colors of Money RAGHAV Because from measuring the heartbeat of the 15 Bombay Stock Exchange, his network now BAHL increases the pulse rate of prime time viewers, 49, Media Baron (18) with his new channel Colors within striking dis- tance of the nine-year-long No. 1, Star Plus. Because three of the biggest hits of last year, Singh is Kinng, Golmaal Returns and Ghajini, were owned or distributed by The Indian Film Company. Because while his two business channels con- tinue to dominate their spaces, he is expanding into new media, with Homeshopping18 a Rs 200- crore property in its second year, and in.com becoming the second largest Indian general inter- est portal within six months of its launch. the big discovery That he likes watching soaps, especially of his own channel. “Balika Vadhu for sure, and occasionally, Jaane Kya Baat Hui, Uttaran and Jeevan Saathi”. wish he could have Kept some extra cash to buy media assets which are currently available at such mouth-watering discounts.46 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
50 power people AAMIR KHAN 16 43, Actor (38) In His Own League Because Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na, which he produced, and Ghajini, which he starred in, were two of the biggest hits of last year, grossing over Rs 350 crore at the box office. Because he is the Establishment’s first choice, be it endorsing the Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India campaign or lecturing at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration in Mussoorie. Because he is the face of six brands—his last deal with Tata Sky wrapped at Rs 14 crore a year. Because he acquired the best body in Khandom and made the eight-pack part of public discourse. currently negotiating The purchase of a housing society in Santa Cruz, Mumbai. big surprise That he hasn’t signed on anything after Raju Hirani’s forthcoming film 3 Idiots and has only a cameo as a painter in wife Kiran Rao’s experimental film Dhobi Ghat. idea of extravagance Gifting a 7-Series BMW to his nephew after the release of his movie and hiring a helicopter to make it to his wedding anniversary. BANDEEP SINGH HEMANT CHAWLA Business As Unusual Because the Jaypee Group’s ambitious Ganga Express-way project across 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh will benefit at least 20 million people. Because it became India’s largest private hydropower producer with the commissioning of the 400 MW Vishnu Prayag station and doubled its cement production capacity from nine million tonnes to 18 million tonnes per year. Because with power, cement, infrastructure, hos- pitality, real estate and education, the Rs 5,500- crore Jaypee Associates has a foothold in 14 states and is the only group in the country that successfully completed two power projects in Jammu & Kashmir in the last decade—Dulhasti and Baglihar. Because he has a great equation with the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. the turning point The death of his elder brother in 1946 in an accident. Gaur says it J.P. 17 changed his life, making him a man of steel. He GAUR says he has not cried since. 78, Industrialist (27) real estate watch A township developed by the Group at Patiali in Etah district, Uttar Pradesh, over a 12-year period, at an investment of Rs 25,000 crore. Says it will be bigger than Chandigarh city.48 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
HARISH 18 SALVE 53, Advocate, (26) The Argumentative Indian Because everyone who is in trouble or who believes he could be in trouble wants him in their corner, whether it is arch-rivals Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati or long- time foes Lalit Modi and Subhash Chandra. Because there is hardly any corporate case that he is not ar- guing and hardly any politician who hasn’t sought his advice. Because he usually wins the cases he fights. what excites him Taking on a former Pakistani minister in a television debate or arguing against OBC reservation in Central government educational institutions. When Salve talks, people usually listen. big acquisition A 7-series BMW, breaking his promise to himself that he would “behave”. nice guy move Every evening he helps his wife Meenakshi set up a stained-glass showroom by typing e- mails and suggesting marketing strategies. As he quips, “it’s from maximum wages to minimum in the evenings”.BANDEEP SINGH BANDEEP SINGHI Am LegendBecause a chance remark from him on AMITABHhis blog about Slumdog Millionaire can set 19off a global controversy. BACHCHANBecause he is an easy target for marginal 66, Actor (16)politicians like Raj Thackeray, looking toestablish his political party.Because after 40 years in the profession,he still remains at the top of the game, andis head of a family that includes an articu-late Rajya Sabha MP, an actor who workswith the best directors in the business, andanother actor who is India’s best-knowninternational beauty.Because the family endorses as many as10 brands combined and whatever he doessets off a trend, whether it is blogging orwalking the red carpet to support his chil-dren, be it for Pink Panther 2 or Delhi-6.favourite pastime Posting blogsthat he discusses at times with his family.embarrassing moment Walking awayfrom Rekha at an awards show when itlooked like she was going to kiss him next.
50 power people All the Right Moves Because he is now Disney’s point man in India, with one of the world’s most powerful empires acquiring a 60 per cent stake in UTV Software and 37.29 per cent in UTV Group. Because UTV’s presence now spans a world movies channel to a business news network, gaming to the Internet, and the group has emerged as a global business, with 200 of its 1,000 employees based overseas. Because UTV has shown an unusual flour- ish in backing sensible cinema, from the edgy terror thriller A Wednesday to the cult youth film Dev D. RONNIE 20 acquisition A third gaming company SCREWVALA and a dream home in Breach Candy that he and his wife worked on for five years. 51, Media Baron (24) is reading Billion-Dollar Lessons by Paul B. Carroll and a lot of scripts. SHRIYA PATIL SHINDE Rebuilding India Because after reorganising their infrastructure entity, all projects are on track even in the current downturn, and they have refurbished the domes- tic terminal at Mumbai airport, begun work on a new terminal as well as kick- started the 540 MW Goindwal Sahib power project in Punjab. Because they have entered into a new arena by signing up a greenfield port project in Gujarat and have opened a new luxury hotel in Chennai. Because GVK Bio is poised to become a leader among biotechnology compa- nies across the world. signature look Canali suits and Versace ties for GVK. favourite vacation spot London G.V.K. & SANJAY 21 for GVK, Maldives for Sanjay. REDDY unusual hobby Gardening for GVK 72 and 44,Industrialists (23) and deep-sea diving for Sanjay. diet secret Regular diet coupled with rigorous exercise for GVK; Sanjay generally avoids carbo- Sanjay (left) and hydrates and desserts at night. G.V.K. Reddy A PRABHAKAR RAO50 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
50 power peopleThe First MogulBecause he is the elder statesman amongmedia moguls in the country and has a finger inevery media pie, from satellite networks tocable distribution, from DTH to print.Because he never gives up and has taken his bat-tle with BCCI on the Indian Cricket League to the ICC.Because he has friends and well-wishers acrossall political parties and got the President of Indiato inaugurate his pet project, The Global Pagoda,which has the Buddha’s relics in the world’stallest pillarless dome.Because Zee TV may be No. 3 in the Hindi en-tertainment channels but his regional business,from Marathi to Bangla, is growing fine.new passion Interfaith communication,which he has made a personal mission byco-founding the Global Foundation forCivilisational Harmony. SUBHASHstyle statement Maintains a 22distinctive lock of undyed white hair. CHANDRAis passionate about Vipassana. Attended 57, Businessman (20)a programme in 1990, does a 10-day courseevery year and practices for 45 minutes daily. MANDAR DEODHAR AFP Batsman Forever Because his word is the gold standard on any cricket issue. Because in his 20th year in cricket, he is not only his sport’s Peter Pan but also owns all the records that matter, most runs and most centuries both in Tests and ODIs. Because when Adam Gilchrist criticised him in his book, a billion people took offence and the Australian cricketer found his column on an Indian website dropped overnight. Because when Madame Tussauds measured him for a wax exhibit last month, India wondered what took them so long. power tribute Uber-luxury watch- makers Audemars Piguet’s limited edition SACHIN Sachin Tendulkar chronograph to mark 23 his 35 Test centuries, releasing just 350 TENDULKAR pieces, with the colours of the Indian flag 35, Cricketer (25) on the strap and his jersey number, 10, bigger and brighter than the rest. also known as Master Blaster to the outside world, he is addressed as paaji (elder brother) by his younger teammates. guest appearances He shows up at his children’s school sports day if he is in town, usually as chief guest.
50 power people SANDEEP SINGH DAYANIDHI MARAN SIPRA DAS KALANIDHI & 24 DAYANIDHI MARAN 43 and 42, Media Baron and MP (31)Tamil TigersBecause the brothers were ableto manoeuvre out of a serious stand-off with their grand uncle M.Karunanidhi and re-establish theirstranglehold on the satellite and cablebusiness in the south.Because the powerful presence ofone brother in mass media and theother in party politics enables them topump prime their business.Because they are expanding in everyarena, with four hit movies from theirnewly launched film production com-pany, and more niche additions totheir 20-channel Sun TV network.cool new toys 3G iphone and Mac BookAir for Kalanidhi; Canon EOS-1D Mark IIIcamera for Dayanidhi.centre of gravity Daughter Kaviya for KALANIDHIKalanidhi. MARAN BANDEEP SINGHTerra Pharma SHIVINDER MOHAN AND MALVINDERBecause even as the world economy crumbles around MOHAN SINGHthem, they have proved to be the smartest and the lucki-est, selling a majority stake in Ranbaxy for Rs 10,000crore, while retaining control of the company.Because Malvinder Mohan Singh got the Japanese giantDaichii-Sankyo to complete the acquisition of a 63.92 percent stake after the global meltdown late last year.Because Shivinder Mohan Singh’s Fortis Healthcareemerged from years of losses to post a 21 per cent increasein consolidated total income in the last quarter.MMS and SMS That’s what friends call them. Theyare both vegetarians, teetotallers, and devout followers ofthe Radha Soami Satsang in Beas.yes it’s true To avoid being dressed identically, turbansincluded, the brothers calleach other every morning.pay your way The brothers MALVINDER MOHAN & 25pay to use their own jets be- SHIVINDER MOHAN SINGHcause ‘it’s a business venture,not a lifestyle statement’. 36 & 33, Industrialists, (New)
50 power people M.S. 26 DHONI 27, Cricketer, (35) Captain Cool Because under his leadership, India won the T20 World Cup and he is now captain of India in all three forms of the game. Because he has become the country’s most sellable cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, endors- ing 15 brands, from clothes to cold drinks. Because he is nobody’s puppet, ticking off the national selectors this season for leaks from the selection meeting. touch of class Won heaps of praise for his graciousness during the retirements of Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly last season. latest acquisition A Hummer to add to the four cars and 17 high-speed motorcyles already parked in his garage in Ranchi. smart move Broke away from the sports mar- keting agency that had signed him on, to join a new company, Mindscapes India.REUTERS UMESH GOSWAMI K.V. 27 KAMATH 62, Banker (13) Banking on Trust Because a lesser mortal would not have been able to protect ICICI Bank from the heat of the global meltdown. Because everyone from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to P. Chidambaram to Montek Singh Ahluwalia spoke up for him during the crisis and every corporate chieftain worth his market cap vouched for the in- tegrity of the bank. Because ICICI is the largest private insurance company, the topmost private equity player, the num- ber one online broking outfit and the leader in retail credit, with total assets of Rs 3.74 lakh crore and a group income of Rs 62,000 crore. milestone 2009 Will be chairman from May 1, but his salary will take a big hit. is sure to be Following tennis and F1 racing.
50 power people H.K.RAJASHEKAR NANDAN 29 NILEKANI 53, Entrepreneur (New) RAJINIKANTH 28 GIREESH GV 58, Actor, (28) Big Brother ELATTUVALAPIL 30 Because the one-time carpenter and SREEDHARAN conductor has fanatics extending from Japan 76, Engineer (19) to Korea, and his 38,000 registered fan clubs around the world with an estimated 19 lakh members are waiting for him to start his own political party. Because at Rs 26 crore a film, he’s the most highly paid star in southern India. Because every time he stars in a flop, such as Kuselan, he compensates his distributors and bounces back with a big budget blockbuster, such as Shankar’s Rs 150-crore film, Endiran. Because no protest or celebration in Tamil tinseltown is complete without his presence. spiritual guru Swami Satchidananda of Rishikesh, on whose call he made a movie, Baba, before the Swami’s death in 2002. unforgettable number 10A, the route number on which he was a conductor in his early days in Bangalore. his political icon Former Singapore premier Lee Kuan Yew. BANDEEP SINGH60 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
The Thinkmaker Land LordBecause the chairman of the $4.5 billion Because despite the economicIT behemoth wrote a bestselling book of ideas, downturn, he’s still one of the largestImagining India, and has become an articu- private landholders in the country, withlate catalyst of change, who’s embedded in 751 million square feet of real estatetop government councils at home and in in- waiting to be built up.fluential economic forums globally, repre- Because he may have lost $27.2 bill-senting the voice of India. ion since March, but his fortune is stillBecause he’s the only Indian on the founda- valued at $7.8 billion, down from $30tion board of the World Economic Forum, is a billion last year.member of the prestigious Petersen Instituteof International Economics, and was again how’s the loss affecting him?the solitary Indian to have spoken at the invi- “It’s only paper,” he says.tation-only Technology Entertainment andDesign (TED) in California. recession index Hasn’t bought any-Because he’s welcomed not just on the prime thing new to wear in the past four yearsminister’s council at the Centre but on numer- because he realised he hadn’t worn 60ous committees of a rival state government. per cent of the clothes in his wardrobe.awkward moment Wife Rohini insists big mantra Prosperity is the timeon asking questions when he is delivering a for austerity. Don’t wait for adversity.lecture in public. K.P. 31 favourite haunts Harry’s Bar and SINGH Groucho Club, London, and Breeze, aproud moment When wife Rohini set upthe Arghyam Foundation with a corpus of 77, Businessman (10) 52nd floor rooftop Bangkok restaurant.Rs 150 crore to focus on water management. BANDEEP SINGH Cruise Control Because he will always have anTruth Mascot opinion and people who matter will always lend an ear, especially nowBecause he’s the last word on objec- that he has a bigger pulpit in thetivity, whether it’s the Hyderabad Metro Rajya Sabha.project or the airport modernisation in Because the Bajaj Group revenuesDelhi and Mumbai. are revving up to cross Rs 20,000Because he has made the Capital appear crore this year and Bajaj Auto, witha world-class metropolis, making the Delhi over Rs 7,000 crore in cash reserves,Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) the most is as good as a bank.punctual metro transport in the world, Because finally there is peace inwith 99.5 per cent punctuality last year. Hamara Bajaj—he not only settledBecause DMRC has helped save over 700 the Bajaj family dispute but alsolives till date by avoiding road accidents, put in place a succession plan,has reduced consumption of petrol, diesel with a business each for sons Rajivand CNG by 1,19,025 tonnes and saved 66 and Sanjeev.minutes every day per commuter. Because Bajaj Auto owns 30 per cent of Austrian performance bikestrange,but true Hasn’t taken a vaca- maker KTM.tion in 20 years. His only break was takinga few days off when travelling to England uncanny knack To be at theon work, to spend time with his son. right place at the right time. On September 16, the day after Wallis particular about Often swipes his fin- Street collapsed, he was attending RAHULger along the floor of the metro train as 32 the NYSE advisory board meeting. BAJAJwell as the platform to check for dirt. little known fact Bajaj has been 70, Industrialist (36) a debt-free company for 30 years. HEMANT CHAWLA MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 61
50BANDEEP SINGH power people RAJENDRA K. PACHAURI 33 68, Environmentalist (33) Global Warmer Because global warming is still the hottest subject around the world and he remains one of its most visible proponents after being re-elected chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Because he is a key adviser to the Central Government on the issue and is equally sought after by state chief ministers. time off Has just completed a novel, Return to Almora. tough guy talk “Nothing that the world is doing today is sustainable. We are going to cause enormous hardships for all species in the planet. We need to mobilise the youth, that’s our only hope.” big acquisition The BlackBerry 9000. PURUSHOTTAM DIWAKAR King of Bling Because whatever he does gets talked about, whether it’s the good times or the bad times. Because he’s still the second largest liquor baron in the world, selling nearly three million bottles a day. Because regardless of the losses, Kingfisher has emerged as the leading player in terms of market share after the merger with Deccan. finds time for Personally supervising the scan- tily clad model shoots on the Kingfisher calendar. can he explain Spending Rs 8 crore on Kevin Pietersen for a team that can’t seem to win. RAMESH & SUDHIR 35 SUDHIR AGARWAL (LEFT) AND RAMESH 66 and 41,Media Barons (37) No Full Stops Because the Dainik Bhaskar Group has a presence in seven states, accounting for 30 per cent of the country, and continues to expand, adding a Bangalore edition to the Mumbai DNA and a Hindi business daily, Business Bhaskar. Because the group along with DNA is slated to close the financial year with Rs 1,400 crore in revenue. big discovery The regional market is more valuable. Metros only account for a fraction of the population. VIJAY recession mantra Good times are boring and it’s the 34 tough times that spur good thinking. MALLYA road ahead The company will focus on cutting costs SHEKHAR GOSH 53, Industrialist (8) and consolidating its position in their existing markets.
BHASKAR PAUL Fast and Furious Because Season II of the IPL promises to be bigger, bulkier and better, establishing the potent mix of big business, Bollywood and India’s most powerful sport. Because he’s forever controversial, whether it is for his proximity to politicians or his confrontationist stand against cricket’s Old Powers. Because IPL’s success has “persuaded” otherwise reluctant nations into agreeing to a window for a T20 club event to keep their players happy. reality check His mentor Vasundhara Raje lost the Rajasthan Assembly elections and he was defeated in the Rajasthan Cricket Association’s elections. management style Micro. Is particular about who VENUGOPAL 36 gets VIP tickets, mostly allocating them himself. DHOOT wants IPL to become Like F1, Wimbledon, Super Bowl. 55, Industrialist (39) loves to Compose what people say are the longestThe Right Connect LALIT emails ever received 38 from a BlackBerry.Because despite the slowdown, he is expanding in MODIevery direction with Videocon launching its own DTHservice in April, mobile telephony service by July, 45, Businessman (29)kickstarting 10 oil-fields in Brazil with Petrobras, invest-ing in coal mines in Indonesia and building three powerprojects in West Bengal, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.Because the price warrior of the consumer electronicsbusiness will tote up group revenues of over Rs 19,000crore this year, with Next becoming India’s largestelectronics goods retail chain with 1,100 stores, andinvestments in the new big thing, energy.Because he has a phalanx of stars at his beck and call.magic moment When Prime Minister ManmohanSingh called Videocon the proud face of Global India.hidden talent Can recite shlokas and expound onthe Bhagavad Gita. Also plays the flute. PURUSHOTTAM DIWAKARYASBANT NEGI Telly Yogi BABA Because his followers continue to grow, as he acquires 37 RAMDEV the Aastha channel that gets him 20 million viewers daily, conducts international camps and takes off on yoga cruises 35, Yoga Guru (46) at $1,000 ticket a head. Because he is the richest yogi, having collected Rs 500 crore so far through his camps, and has celebrity fans ranging from Lalu Prasad Yadav to Kangna Ranaut. his latest conquest The IIM-A, where he talked about Indian values in modern management techniques. believe it or not Insists breathing exercises can rege- nerate destroyed cells and help the HIV-positive recover.
50 power people UMESH GOSWAMI Mr Prudence MAHENDRA MOHAN & Because he is poised for a shot 39 SANJAY GUPTA at the leadership of the financial sector as the titans ride into the 69 and 46,Media Barons (45) sunset, with Kotak Bank being the fourth largest bank after HDFC, ICICI and Axis, making it the largestLeaders of the Pack promoter-owned bank.Because 21 million people read Because despite the global reces-Dainik Jagran every day across 11 sion, his bank boasts of a capitalstates and Jagran Prakash is a adequacy ratio of 21 per cent, andlisted media company with quality in the shortest time, he hasmarket performance. straddled every slice of the financialBecause despite being a Rajya sector to emerge as a conglomerateSabha member, Gupta Senior’s clout with 18,000 employees and assets ofextends across parties. over Rs 40,000 crore. started life By walking arounddifferent strokes Gupta Senior Mumbai’s financial district,prefers domestic destinations helping traders discount bills.for holidays, while the nephewis a globe-trotter. new obsession Applying the ‘black swan’ theory onbusiness mantra While current events.Mahendra gives full credit to theteam for making the newspaper an little known fact He is ainfluential opinion-maker, Sanjay professionally trained sitar player.is a man of few words. BANDEEP SINGH Try Flier Because he is trying to weather the storm in aviation by transitioning from the traditional orthodox revenue model to an innovative one—wet-leasing his aircraft to other international airlines. Because his airline still leads the pack with a market share of over 25 per cent and more than eight lakh passengers are on board across 400 flights each day. embarrassing moment Fired 1,900 of his staff, then took them back amidst tears, calling them his ‘family’. looming air pocket Nearly 30 per cent of an airline’s operational costs are pegged against the dollar. laughter therapy “CEOs are NARESH 40 handsome, entrepreneurs are ugly”. UDAY 41 GOYAL KOTAK big achievement Jet is cutting costs 60, Businessman (34) in the back-end without compromising 49, Banker (New) on its renowned in-flight service.BHASKAR PAUL64 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009
50 power people A PRABHAKAR RAOBrand WidthBecause despite its rapidly slipping ratings, NDTV24X7 remains a strong news brand and he is still its mostcredible anchor.Because he’s a great media survivor in spite of a consol-idated loss of Rs 120 crore last year in his entertainmentand news business.show of force Threatening legal action against a blog-ger for his comments on how star editor Barkha Duttcovered the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.moment of truth Letter to staffers admitting the organi-sation has “substantial flab” and “too many floaters”.what they needAccording to the letter totheir staff, more ideas on PRANNOY & 42how to cut costs. RADHIKA ROY PRATHAP 59, Media Barons (22) 43 C. REDDY 76, Doctor (42) Health Effect Because he is the largest private health care provider in India and plans to ramp up infrastructure to 3,000 hospital beds, with 1,400 beds in Mumbai alone. Because Apollo has fetched a record five global JCI ac- creditations for developing world class hospitals with top patient safety standards. unusual hobby Wandering in the mango gardens in his native village, Aragonda, 150 km from Chennai. kinship factor Though none is a doctor, all his four daughters—Preetha, Sunitha, Shobana, Sangeeta—two adult grandsons and two adult granddaughters are in-ASHOK DAMODARAN volved in managing the Apollo Group.BANDEEP SINGH Motorcycle Guru Because he’s the latest in a long line of Indian mystics capturing the imagination of the West with 100 yoga centres around the world. Because he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos three years in a row. Because he makes a combination of yoga, green activism and spiritual therapy seem as elevating as it is hip. style statement Green. Has initiated Project Green Hands, a move to increase the green cover of Tamil Nadu by 33 per cent in the next 15 years. power point Endorsed by M. Karunanidhi, his followers range from Nandita Das and Prahlad JAGGI 44 Kakkar to Microsoft’s Ravi Venkatesh. VASUDEV likes to Go for long rides on his BMW and 52, Guru (New) Harley Davidson bikes, gifted by devotees.
PARMESHWAR 45 GODREJ 63, Social Arbiter (40)Haute HostessBecause she’s the original styleicon who organises charity eventswith as much panache as she doesblack-tie dos for the Moet set.Because neither Bollywood’s bestnor Hollywood’s hautest refuse tosupport her Heroes Project forAIDS awareness.Because she’s one of the few peopleon intimate terms with both theAmbani brothers.little known fact That she is deeplyspiritual and visits a temple in Patialawith the family every birthday.the big acquisition Her son’s re-turn to India, after many years, withher daughter-in-law Karla. BANDEEP SINGHBANDEEP SINGH RAJEEV 46 CHANDRASEKHAR 45, Entrepreneur (50) Straight Talker Because he has built access across the political spectrum with a mix of busi- ness, politics and media interests. Because he sits pretty both in Parlia- ment and atop Rs 2,500 crore in his ven- ture fund. Because he, along with Star TV, con- trols the second largest television net- work in the South. Because he takes on the Government over economic and security issues. the drive His fleet has Ferraris, BMWs and India’s largest collection of Land Rov- ers. His favourite is a red Lamborghini. the digital statement He asked his Facebook friends if he should join a po- litical party. The most practical advice came from Omar Abdullah.
50 power people Champion of the Board Because he is world champion and one-man revolution all rolled into one, and is India’s highest-paid sportsperson, with the appearance fees ru- moured to be $250,000 depending on who wants him to play. Because he is the face of the NIIT Mind Champions Academy that has taken chess e-learning in schools from 1,605 clubs in 2003 to 6,551 clubs and 7.4 lakh members in 2008. power move Winning his third world chess championship in Germany. VISWANATHAN 47 little known fact His passion for rock ANAND YASBANT NEGI music—from the Rolling Stones to U2. 38, Chess Grandmaster (New) NARENDRA BISHT Medicine Man DEVI 48 Because he has taken to heart SHETTY the provision of affordable health care by creating large health cities 56, Doctor (New) in seven cities. Because he conceptualised the world’s cheapest health insurance programme, Yeshaswini Micro Health Insurance, that covers three million beneficiaries in Karnataka alone, at Rs 5 a month each. big fight Practices a martial art known as Budokan Karate. N.K. big number He has performed 49 more than 10,000 heart opera- SINGH tions with one of the highest suc- 68, MP (New) cess rates worldwide. GIREESH GV SUMEET INDER SINGH The Sophisticate The Write Stuff Because he is much sought after for his eclectic intellect and has the Because he is one of the ability to bring together at dinner, few independent intellectuals in India, whether at his Vasant Vihar home or rated 44 in a list of the 100 most influ- at Davos, billionaires, international ential intellectuals worldwide last year leaders, think-tank types and multi- by Foreign Policy magazine. lateral agency chiefs. Because he makes academics look Because this was the year he was cool, writing with as much ease on Ve- finally elected to the Rajya Sabha, rrier Elwin as on cricket. thanks to Nitish Kumar. Because he’s not afraid of taking an unpopular stand—even if it is urging cool buddies George Yeo to Nich- Arundhati Roy to stick to writing for olas Stern, L.N. Mittal to Mukesh Am- backing the Narmada Bachao Andolan. bani, Sunil Mittal to Anand Mahindra. writing style Disciplined. Every day pet project Preparing a blueprint RAMACHANDRA 50 from 9 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. for the revival of Nalanda University. GUHA next move A prequel to India his music Listening to Kishori Am- 51, Historian (New) After Gandhi about the first half onkar on his Bang & Olufsen system. of the 20th century.68 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009