5055 powerpeopleTheHighestCircleThe new club of the power elite,still dominated by mogulsand mavens,is a celebration of In...
NeverSayDieBecausein India’s hour of terror, he actedmore statesmanlike than any politician.Because he spoke for the natio...
34 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009WealthCreatorBecause he did not succumb toeither corporate fad or governmentpressure, stayi...
MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 35MrBigBecause he is Mr Big in everysegment he has a presence in, frompower to entertainment,...
36 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009RingKingBecausein a business where he is competingwith Tata, Birla, Ambani and Vodafone, he...
38 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009YesHeKhanBecause he is everywhere, at once, as a movie actor, cricket team owner,television...
MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 39ManintheMiddleBecause his support to the govern-ment makes it compliant to his demandsand t...
HeirRisingBecause despite the economic downturn, theconsolidated revenues of the Aditya Birla Groupare still $28 billion a...
MasterofAllTradesBecause he is steering the makeover ofthe eponymous GMR Group from a domestic player inthe infrastructure...
TheFrugalBillionaireBecause he steers India’s No. 3 soft-ware services exporter without worryingabout the high volatility ...
46 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009MrSolutionBecause he is the go-to guy for gov-ernment and business, whether itis Satyam or ...
48 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 20095055 powerpeopleInHisOwnLeagueBecause Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na, which heproduced, and Ghajini, ...
Because everyone who is in trouble or who believes hecould be in trouble wants him in their corner, whether it isarch-riva...
50 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009AlltheRightMovesBecause he is now Disney’s point man inIndia, with one of the world’s most ...
57,Businessman (20)SUBHASHCHANDRA225055 powerpeopleBatsmanForeverBecause his word is the gold standard on any cricket issu...
coolnewtoys3G iphone and Mac BookAir for Kalanidhi; Canon EOS-1D Mark IIIcamera for Dayanidhi.centreofgravityDaughter Kavi...
5055 powerpeopleBankingonTrustBecause a lesser mortal would not have beenable to protect ICICI Bank from the heat of thegl...
60 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009GIREESHGVBigBrotherBecause the one-time carpenter andconductor has fanatics extending from ...
MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 61Because the chairman of the $4.5 billionIT behemoth wrote a bestselling book of ideas,Imagi...
BANDEEPSINGHGlobalWarmerBecauseglobal warming is still the hottest subject around the worldand he remains one of its most ...
TheRightConnectBecause despite the slowdown, he is expanding inevery direction with Videocon launching its own DTHservice ...
64 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009TryFlierBecause he is trying to weatherthe storm in aviation by transitioningfrom the tradi...
5055 powerpeopleBrandWidthBecause despite its rapidly slipping ratings, NDTV24X7 remains a strong news brand and he is sti...
Because she’s the original styleicon who organises charity eventswith as much panache as she doesblack-tie dos for the Moe...
68 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009ChampionoftheBoardTheWriteStuffBecause he is one of thefew independent intellectuals in Ind...
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Indias Top 50 Powerful People

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Indias Top 50 Powerful People

  1. 1. 5055 powerpeopleTheHighestCircleThe new club of the power elite,still dominated by mogulsand mavens,is a celebration of India’s creative brio as wellIt is as if only irony alone can bring some cheer to these bleak times.The most feted millionaire today in India and elsewhere is aslumdog. Maybe, as in the movie, only wit and perseverance cankeep 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.By S. Prasannarajan
  2. 2. NeverSayDieBecausein India’s hour of terror, he actedmore statesmanlike than any politician.Because he spoke for the nation in everycrisis, whether at Singur or when The Taj wasbeing attacked in Mumbai, personifyingIndia’s fighting spirit by ensuring the hotelreopened within a month.Because he embodies ethical entrepreneur-ship even when being challenged withdire circumstances and notwithstandingMamata Banerjee’s opposition, will roll out theNano at the promised price this year.Because despite the recession, his group’sturnover will touch $100 billion this year,and he has not yielded to pessimism, whetheron Corus or on the Jaguar Land Rover deal.thebignumberA valuation of $10 billionfor the telecom business when the Japanesemajor DoCoMo paid $2.7 billion for a26 per cent stake.Y2KMost of the cars that he drives havethe number 2000.71,Industrialist (1)RATANTATA1BANDEEPSINGHhotwheels A Metallic Blue Maserati.quotablequote“Some Ms are goodand some are bad.”isknowntoTake the controls ofhis private jets.
  3. 3. 34 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009WealthCreatorBecause he did not succumb toeither corporate fad or governmentpressure, staying away from invest-ing in overseas acquisitions andsticking to building greenfieldassets that deliver 20 per centreturns on investment.Because RIL is likely to end the yearwith a growth of over 20 per cent withincome rising to over Rs 1,60,000crorefromRs1,39,269crorelastyear,and at a time when everyone isstrapped for money, he is swimmingin nearly Rs 30,000 crore of cash.Because his gas fields KG-D6will begin production this month,saving India over $10 billion inforeign exchange.isproudthatLow cost gas fromKG-D6 will bring down subsidies onpower, fertiliser and LPG costs,therefore the fiscal deficit.currentobsessionPreparingtwins Akash and Isha who areleaving to study in the US.51,Industrialist (2)MUKESHAMBANI25055 powerpeoplehebelievesHis dream of farm-to-fork revolution will happen next.BANDEEPSINGHpowermomentFirst Indian tomeet US President Barack Obamawithin a month of his taking office.agenda2009Supporting wifeNita in her quest to help MumbaiIndians win IPL Season 2 and shift-ing into their new home on Alta-mount Road before the new year.
  4. 4. MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 35MrBigBecause 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.ideaofabingeKesar pista icecream on Wednesday nights atIndia Gate on the way to theairport to fly back to Mumbaion his Global Express.isproudaboutThe 700-bed superspecialty hospital which has beenset up by wife Tina.48,Industrialist (3)ANILAMBANI3BANDEEPSINGHishappyaboutHaving improvedhis mileage. He now runs 18 kmevery day.imagemakeoverHas nowswitched from flashy Armani toconservative suits.
  5. 5. 36 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009RingKingBecausein a business where he is competingwith Tata, Birla, Ambani and Vodafone, heis the biggest, and in an era of gloom, has provedto be an island of boom.Because given the lead of 25 million, even ifAirtel stood still, it would take the nearestcompetitor nearly 12 months to catch up.Because with annualised revenues of Rs 38,000crore for 2008-09 and profit before tax ofRs 15,000 crore, Airtel is among the most effi-cient money machines and by 2013, Bharti willbe a trillion-rupee group.Because he is engaged in the transformation oftelecom into a lifestyle business, ranging fromcalls to games, from movies to music, making abig play for the Indian mind-share with BhartiAirtel Triple Play, Telephone, Broadband and TV,on a single line.Because Best Price, his tie-up with Walmart,will take off by June. Because without doubt, heis the face of the new Indian entrepreneur.littleknownfactAirtel has over one millionoutlets and recharge stores.islookingforwardtoHis daughter Eiesha’swedding this summer.5055 powerpeople51,Industrialist (4)SUNILMITTAL4BANDEEPSINGHmusicmeansGhazals by Jagjit Singh.fitnessisWalking for an hour in Lodhi Gardens.
  6. 6. 38 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009YesHeKhanBecause he is everywhere, at once, as a movie actor, cricket team owner,television producer, sometime television host and ambassador of 10 brands,who was the most visible celebrity on TV in 2008.Because everything he does makes headline news, from a tiff with SalmanKhan to a patch-up with Amitabh Bachchan and his film, Rab Ne Bana DiJodi, almost salvaged a studio, Yash Raj Films.Because he is emerging as a spokesman for Islam at a time when the religionis under global attack and though Pepsi may have dropped him as theirbrand ambassador, young people see him as a Bollywood outsider who made itto the top through sheer grit.Because whether it is anchoring a film awards night or promoting his moviein a reality show, he can be counted on to perform.biggestjoySleeping in bed between his children Aryan and Suhana andconstantly being kicked by them. And watching them ski in Austria.latestreadsThe Yuck Book. “My daughter made me read it.” ArtemisFowl’s The Time Paradox and Daniel Suarez’s Daemon.5055 powerpeople43,Actor (6)SHAH RUKHKHAN5funniestthinganyoneeversaidtohimNice try, sir. An SMS fromsomeone after one of his movies.BHASKARPAUL
  7. 7. MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 39ManintheMiddleBecause his support to the govern-ment makes it compliant to his demandsand the moment he criticised the then fi-nance minister P. Chidambaram for in-flation and Petroleum Minister MurliDeoraforhis‘anti-people’(readanti-AnilAmbani) policies, the media assumedthere would be a reshuffle.Because when the Congress ditheredover seat sharing in Uttar Pradesh, heworked out a political realignment withSharad Pawar over dinner that broughtthe Congress to the negotiating table.the rethink “I have already said that1999 was a mistake,” he says, explain-ing Samajwadi Party’s decision not tosupport a Congress government atthe Centre then.and finally Has stopped wearing his10-carat diamond ring because “peoplesaid I was wearing it for my Venusangle but the real reason is that mywife gave it to me”.54,Politician (new)AMARSINGH65055 powerpeopleHeavyMetalBecause 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.Because their businesses span sectors,from 1,500 gas stations through whichthey will retail petroleum productsacross India to Aegis, their BPO opera-tions with 35,000 employees.YASBANTNEGISHASHIKANT& RAVI RUIA765 and 59,Industrialists (12)littleknownfactWith 10,000 employees in the US, Essar Groupis the largest Indian employer there.smartstrategyWith a majority of group companies privately-held, the Ruias are insulated from the vagaries of the stock market.exchange programme Substi-tuted Prakash Karat for the Gandhis ashis new best friends. Says he sees “aray of hope” in Sonia and Rahul.recessionmantraKeep your head down, believe in yourselfand your people during tough times.Ravi (left) andShashikant
  8. 8. HeirRisingBecause despite the economic downturn, theconsolidated revenues of the Aditya Birla Groupare still $28 billion and he has a footprint thatstraddles 25 countries.Because his companies have attained globalleadership and are among the world’s most cost-efficient copper and aluminum producers.Because a year of quiet consolidation has seenthe Group’s retail operations touch 615 super-markets and two hypermarkets.Because thanks to a new will bygrandfather B.K. Birla, a large partof the Rs 5,000-crore empire will beinherited by him.roadaheadWants to make the Aditya BirlaGroup a part of the Fortune 150 club by 2014.5055 powerpeopleNewsWorthiesBecausenot 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.thebigacquisitionOf the soon-to-be-husband ofback-from-Stanford daughter Trishala who has beenensconced in the fourth floor of Times House.AMITKUMAR8SAMIR & VINEETJAIN54 and 42,Media Barons (9)NARENDRABISHTBHASKARPAULrecessionmantraConsistent cost manage-ment is holding the group in good stead today.bigchangeMother Indu Jain no longer visits the office.biggest stress buster Shootingwith his Morini pistol at theMaharashtra Rifle Association’sshooting range in Worli, Mumbai.thebigdivideThe Vice-Chairman now looks after printand the Managing Director after everything else.facingtheaxeThe Times of India’s edit page.41,Industrialist (5)9KUMAR MAN-GALAM BIRLASamir (left)and Vineet
  9. 9. MasterofAllTradesBecause he is steering the makeover ofthe 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.bigbuyAcquisition 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.littleknownfactA mechanical engineer by training,he was employed in the Public Works Department ofAndhra Pradesh before he resigned to turn a jute trader.58,Industrialist (17)G.M.RAO105055 powerpeopleTheMaestroBecause his recently-acquired hard-ware underlines India’s growing soft powerand his twin Oscar wins have made him thecountry’s golden boy.Because he is every international artist’sfirst choice for collaboration in India,whether it is Kylie Minogue or Akon.Because he is an amazing amalgam ofIndian multiculturalism: born a Hindu, heconverted to Islam at his mother’s behestand gave his first public performance in achurch as an 11-year-old.Because his music, a blend of raga andreggae, jazz and hip-hop, has opened theworld’s eyes to the dazzling possibilities ofIndian film sound.loves to Surf the Internet on hisMacBook and ensures that everyone inhis team uses the same too.first stop anywhere Mosque andthen an electronics shop. Currentlydevoted to the Continuum fingerboard.A.R.RAHMAN1143,Music Director (47)APRABHAKARRAOAFPshouldbeembarrassedaboutThe foray into insu-rance, creating ING Vysya and finally pulling out of it.time out None. While the rest of theworld is celebrating his win, he has gotback to work, completing his pendingprojects in India for “furious directors”.
  10. 10. TheFrugalBillionaireBecause he steers India’s No. 3 soft-ware services exporter without worryingabout the high volatility of the IT industry.Becausewithacashchestof$500million,he is looking for acquisitions abroad andplans to beef up his company’s position inFrance and Germany.Because in keeping with deep personalvalues of corporate governance, he ap-proached the Madras High Court to stopthe proposed reverse merger betweenSubhiksha and Blue Green Constructionsand Investments, even though his invest-ment firm, PremjiInvest, had bought a 10per cent stake in the retail chain from ICICIVentures for around $150 million last year.management mantra When youover-pay people based on their results, itcan generate very distorted behaviours.little known fact He fulfilled his teen-age wish, 33 years on, by completing hiselectrical engineering at Stanford, in 1999.62,Businessman (11)AZIM HASHAMPREMJI131252,Industrialist (14)5055 powerpeopleMadeinBharatBecause by launching the Xylo, amulti-utility vehicle, at the gloomiest pointfor the automobile industry, he has dis-played entrepreneurial courage.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.isproudthatMahindra Realty is adebt-free company. And that one in twotractors in the country carries theMahindra badge.littleknownfactThe 155 mm howitzer,known to Indians as the Bofors gun, isnow in the Mahindra-BAE stable.ANANDMAHINDRANAMASBHOJANISHRIYAPATILSHINDE
  11. 11. 46 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009MrSolutionBecause he is the go-to guy for gov-ernment and business, whether itis Satyam or the troubled US-64.Because in a year of edifices turning todust, HDFC will close with an estimatedgrowth of 19 per cent.Because he brings credibility to what-ever he does, whether it is putting thenuts and bolts of the new pension policyin place or advising the Government onproviding affordable housing to themasses in the country.Because the rumour is that he knowssomeone on a first name basis on theboard of every Fortune 500 company.recession mantra Be cautious andconservative in such times. Don’t focuson market share, instead concentrateon the bottom line.favourite getaways London andNew York, where he enjoys a game ofcricket or tennis during the season.TheColorsofMoneyBecause from measuring the heartbeat of theBombay Stock Exchange, his network nowincreases the pulse rate of prime time viewers,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,SinghisKinng,GolmaalReturnsandGhajini,wereowned or distributed by The Indian Film Company.Because while his two business channels con-tinue to dominate their spaces, he is expandinginto new media, with Homeshopping18 a Rs 200-crore property in its second year, and in.combecoming the second largest Indian general inter-est portal within six months of its launch.thebigdiscoveryThat he likes watchingsoaps, especially of his own channel. “BalikaVadhu for sure, and occasionally, Jaane KyaBaat Hui, Uttaran and Jeevan Saathi”.wishhecouldhaveKept some extra cash tobuy media assets which are currently availableat such mouth-watering discounts.roadaheadOfficially it’s his last yearin office and July onwards he’ll be busyplanning his exit from the company.RAJKUMAR5055 powerpeople64,Banker (15)DEEPAKPAREKH141549,Media Baron (18)RAGHAVBAHLHEMANTCHAWLA
  12. 12. 48 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 20095055 powerpeopleInHisOwnLeagueBecause Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na, which heproduced, and Ghajini, which he starred in, weretwo of the biggest hits of last year, grossing overRs 350 crore at the box office.Because he is the Establishment’s first choice, beit endorsing the Ministry of Tourism’s IncredibleIndia campaign or lecturing at the Lal BahadurShastri Academy of Administration in Mussoorie.Because he is the face of six brands—his last dealwith Tata Sky wrapped at Rs 14 crore a year.Because he acquired the best body in Khandomand made the eight-pack part of public discourse.bigsurpriseThat he hasn’t signed on anythingafter Raju Hirani’s forthcoming film 3 Idiots andhas only a cameo as a painter in wife Kiran Rao’sexperimental film Dhobi Ghat.idea of extravagance Gifting a 7-Series BMW tohis nephew after the release of his movie and hiringa helicopter to make it to his wedding anniversary.43,Actor (38)AAMIRKHAN16BusinessAsUnusualBecause the Jaypee Group’s ambitious GangaExpress-way project across 14 districts of UttarPradesh will benefit at least 20 million people.Because it became India’s largest privatehydropower producer with the commissioningof the 400 MW Vishnu Prayag station and doubledits cement production capacity from nine milliontonnes 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 statesand is the only group in the country that successfullycompleted two power projects in Jammu & Kashmirin the last decade—Dulhasti and Baglihar.Because he has a great equation with the chiefminister of Uttar Pradesh.the turning point The death of his elderbrother in 1946 in an accident. Gaur says itchanged his life, making him a man of steel. Hesays he has not cried since.real estate watch A township developed by theGroup at Patiali in Etah district, Uttar Pradesh, overa 12-year period, at an investment of Rs 25,000crore. Says it will be bigger than Chandigarh city.78,Industrialist (27)J.P.GAUR17BANDEEPSINGHHEMANTCHAWLAcurrently negotiating The purchase of ahousing society in Santa Cruz, Mumbai.
  13. 13. Because everyone who is in trouble or who believes hecould be in trouble wants him in their corner, whether it isarch-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.big acquisition A 7-series BMW, breaking his promise tohimself that he would “behave”.nice guy move Every evening he helps his wifeMeenakshi 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”.HARISHSALVE1853,Advocate,(26)IAmLegendBecause a chance remark from him onhis blog about Slumdog Millionaire can setoff a global controversy.Because he is an easy target for marginalpoliticians 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.1966,Actor (16)AMITABHBACHCHANTheArgumentativeIndianBANDEEPSINGHBANDEEP SINGHwhat excites him Taking on a former Pakistaniminister in a television debate or arguing against OBCreservation in Central government educational institutions.When Salve talks, people usually listen.
  14. 14. 50 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009AlltheRightMovesBecause he is now Disney’s point man inIndia, with one of the world’s most powerfulempiresacquiringa60percentstakeinUTVSoftware and 37.29 per cent in UTV Group.BecauseUTV’spresencenowspansaworldmovies channel to a business news network,gaming to the Internet, and the group hasemerged as a global business, with 200 of its1,000 employees based overseas.Because UTV has shown an unusual flour-ish in backing sensible cinema, from theedgy terror thriller A Wednesday to the cultyouth film Dev D.acquisition A third gaming companyand a dream home in Breach Candy thathe and his wife worked on for five years.isreadingBillion-Dollar Lessons by PaulB. Carroll and a lot of scripts.5055 powerpeopleRebuildingIndiaBecause after reorganising theirinfrastructure entity, all projects areon track even in the current downturn,and they have refurbished the domes-tic terminal at Mumbai airport, begunwork on a new terminal as well as kick-started the 540 MW Goindwal Sahibpower project in Punjab.Because they have entered into a newarena by signing up a greenfield portproject in Gujarat and have opened anew luxury hotel in Chennai.Because GVK Bio is poised to becomea leader among biotechnology compa-nies across the world.favourite vacation spot Londonfor GVK, Maldives for Sanjay.diet secret Regular diet coupledwith rigorous exercise for GVK;Sanjay generally avoids carbo-hydrates and desserts at night.APRABHAKARRAO2051,Media Baron (24)RONNIESCREWVALA72and44,Industrialists(23)21G.V.K. & SANJAYREDDYSHRIYAPATILSHINDEunusual hobby Gardening for GVKand deep-sea diving for Sanjay.signature look Canali suits andVersace ties for GVK.Sanjay (left) andG.V.K. Reddy
  15. 15. 57,Businessman (20)SUBHASHCHANDRA225055 powerpeopleBatsmanForeverBecause his word is the gold standard on any cricket issue.Becauseinhis20thyearincricket,heisnotonlyhissport’sPeterPan but also owns all the records that matter, most runs and mostcenturies both in Tests and ODIs.Because when Adam Gilchrist criticised him in his book, abillion people took offence and the Australian cricketer found hiscolumn on an Indian website dropped overnight.Because when Madame Tussauds measured him for a waxexhibit last month, India wondered what took them so long.power tribute Uber-luxury watch-makers Audemars Piguet’s limited editionSachin Tendulkar chronograph to markhis 35 Test centuries, releasing just 350pieces, with the colours of the Indian flagon the strap and his jersey number, 10,bigger and brighter than the rest.guestappearancesHe shows up at his children’s schoolsports day if he is in town, usually as chief guest.TheFirstMogulBecause 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.Becausehe 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.stylestatementMaintains adistinctive lock of undyed white hair.is passionate about Vipassana. Attendeda programme in 1990, does a 10-day courseevery year and practices for 45 minutes daily.MANDARDEODHAR35,Cricketer (25)23SACHINTENDULKARAFPnew passion Interfaith communication,which he has made a personal mission byco-founding the Global Foundation forCivilisational Harmony.also known as Master Blaster to the outside world, he isaddressed as paaji (elder brother) by his younger teammates.
  16. 16. coolnewtoys3G iphone and Mac BookAir for Kalanidhi; Canon EOS-1D Mark IIIcamera for Dayanidhi.centreofgravityDaughter Kaviya forKalanidhi.TamilTigersBecause the brothers were ableto manoeuvre out of a serious stand-off with their grand uncle M.Karunanidhi and re-establish theirstrangleholdonthesatelliteandcablebusiness in the south.Because the powerful presence ofone brother in mass media and theother in party politics enables them topump prime their business.Becausethey 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.43and42,MediaBaronandMP(31)KALANIDHI &DAYANIDHI MARAN24SANDEEPSINGHTerraPharmaBecause even as the world economy crumbles aroundthem, 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 Healthcareemergedfromyearsoflossestoposta21percentincreasein consolidated total income in the last quarter.yesit’strueTo avoid being dressed identically, turbansincluded, the brothers calleach other every morning.36 & 33,Industrialists,(New)25MALVINDER MOHAN &SHIVINDER MOHAN SINGH5055 powerpeopleSIPRADASBANDEEPSINGHpayyourwayThe brotherspay to use their own jets be-cause ‘it’s a business venture,not a lifestyle statement’.MMSandSMSThat’s what friends call them. Theyare both vegetarians, teetotallers, and devout followers ofthe Radha Soami Satsang in Beas.KALANIDHIMARANDAYANIDHIMARANSHIVINDERMOHANANDMALVINDERMOHAN SINGHSHIVINDERMOHANANDMALVINDERMOHAN SINGH
  17. 17. 5055 powerpeopleBankingonTrustBecause a lesser mortal would not have beenable to protect ICICI Bank from the heat of theglobal meltdown.Because everyone from Prime Minister ManmohanSingh to P. Chidambaram to Montek Singh Ahluwaliaspoke up for him during the crisis and every corporatechieftain worth his market cap vouched for the in-tegrity of the bank.Because ICICI is the largest private insurancecompany, the topmost private equity player, the num-ber one online broking outfit and the leader in retailcredit, with total assets of Rs 3.74 lakh crore and agroup income of Rs 62,000 crore.milestone2009Will be chairman from May 1, buthis salary will take a big hit.issureto beFollowing tennis and F1 racing.62,Banker (13)K.V.KAMATH27REUTERSCaptainCoolBecause under his leadership, India won theT20 World Cup and he is now captain of India inall three forms of the game.Because he has become the country’s mostsellable cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, endors-ing 15 brands, from clothes to cold drinks.Because he is nobody’s puppet, ticking off thenational selectors this season for leaks from theselection meeting.latestacquisitionA Hummer to add to the fourcars and 17 high-speed motorcyles already parkedin his garage in Ranchi.smartmoveBroke away from the sports mar-keting agency that had signed him on, to join anew company, Mindscapes India.27,Cricketer,(35)M.S.DHONI26UMESHGOSWAMItouchofclassWon heaps of praise for hisgraciousness during the retirements of Anil Kumbleand Sourav Ganguly last season.
  18. 18. 60 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009GIREESHGVBigBrotherBecause the one-time carpenter andconductor has fanatics extending from Japanto Korea, and his 38,000 registered fan clubsaround the world with an estimated 19 lakhmembers are waiting for him to start his ownpolitical party.Because at Rs 26 crore a film, he’s the mosthighly paid star in southern India.Because every time he stars in a flop,such as Kuselan, he compensates hisdistributors and bounces back with abig budget blockbuster, such as Shankar’sRs 150-crore film, Endiran.Because no protest or celebration in Tamiltinseltown is complete without his presence.spiritualguruSwami Satchidananda ofRishikesh, on whose call he made a movie,Baba, before the Swami’s death in 2002.unforgettablenumber10A, the routenumber on which he was a conductor in hisearly days in Bangalore.5055 powerpeopleH.K.RAJASHEKAR58,Actor,(28)RAJINIKANTH 2876,Engineer (19)30ELATTUVALAPILSREEDHARAN53,Entrepreneur (New)NANDANNILEKANI29BANDEEPSINGHhispoliticaliconFormer Singaporepremier Lee Kuan Yew.53,Entrepreneur (New)
  19. 19. MARCH 16, 2009 ◆ INDIA TODAY 61Because the chairman of the $4.5 billionIT behemoth wrote a bestselling book of ideas,Imagining India, and has become an articu-late catalyst of change, who’s embedded intop government councils at home and in in-fluential economic forums globally, repre-senting the voice of India.Because he’s the only Indian on the founda-tion board of the World Economic Forum, is amember of the prestigious Petersen Instituteof International Economics, and was againthe solitary Indian to have spoken at the invi-tation-only Technology Entertainment andDesign (TED) in California.Becausehe’s welcomed not just on the primeminister’s council at the Centre but on numer-ous committees of a rival state government.awkwardmomentWife Rohini insistson asking questions when he is delivering alecture in public.proudmomentWhen wife Rohini set upthe Arghyam Foundation with a corpus ofRs 150 crore to focus on water management.TruthMascotBecause he’s the last word on objec-tivity, whether it’s the Hyderabad Metroproject or the airport modernisation inDelhi and Mumbai.Because he has made the Capital appearaworld-classmetropolis,makingtheDelhiMetro Rail Corporation (DMRC) the mostpunctual metro transport in the world,with 99.5 per cent punctuality last year.Because DMRC has helped save over 700lives till date by avoiding road accidents,has reduced consumption of petrol, dieseland CNG by 1,19,025 tonnes and saved 66minutes every day per commuter.strange,buttrueHasn’t taken a vaca-tion in 20 years. His only break was takinga few days off when travelling to Englandon work, to spend time with his son.isparticularaboutOften swipes his fin-ger along the floor of the metro train aswell as the platform to check for dirt.LandLordBecause despite the economicdownturn, he’s still one of the largestprivate landholders in the country, with751 million square feet of real estatewaiting to be built up.Because he may have lost $27.2 bill-ion since March, but his fortune is stillvalued at $7.8 billion, down from $30billion last year.bigmantraProsperity is the timefor austerity. Don’t wait for adversity.favouritehauntsHarry’s Bar andGroucho Club, London, and Breeze, a52nd floor rooftop Bangkok restaurant.77,Businessman (10)K.P.SINGH31CruiseControlBecause he will always have anopinion and people who matter willalways lend an ear, especially nowthat he has a bigger pulpit in theRajya Sabha.Because the Bajaj Group revenuesare revving up to cross Rs 20,000crore this year and Bajaj Auto, withoverRs7,000croreincashreserves,is as good as a bank.Because finally there is peace inHamara Bajaj—he not only settledthe Bajaj family dispute but alsoput in place a succession plan,with a business each for sons Rajivand Sanjeev.Because Bajaj Auto owns 30 percent of Austrian performance bikemaker KTM.littleknownfactBajaj has beena debt-free company for 30 years.uncannyknackTo be at theright place at the right time. OnSeptember 16, the day after WallStreet collapsed, he was attendingthe NYSE advisory board meeting.BANDEEPSINGH70,Industrialist (36)RAHULBAJAJ32TheThinkmakerrecessionindexHasn’t bought any-thing new to wear in the past four yearsbecause he realised he hadn’t worn 60per cent of the clothes in his wardrobe.HEMANTCHAWLAhow’sthelossaffectinghim?“It’s only paper,” he says.
  20. 20. BANDEEPSINGHGlobalWarmerBecauseglobal warming is still the hottest subject around the worldand he remains one of its most visible proponents after being re-electedchairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Because he is a key adviser to the Central Government on the issue andis equally sought after by state chief ministers.68,Environmentalist (33)RAJENDRA K.PACHAURI33toughguytalk“Nothing that the world is doing today is sustainable.We are going to cause enormous hardships for all species in theplanet. We need to mobilise the youth, that’s our only hope.”bigacquisitionThe BlackBerry 9000.PURUSHOTTAMDIWAKAR66and41,MediaBarons(37)RAMESH & SUDHIRAGARWAL 35KingofBlingBecause 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 inthe world, selling nearly three million bottles a day.Because regardless of the losses, Kingfisher hasemerged as the leading player in terms of marketshare after the merger with Deccan.canheexplainSpending Rs 8 crore on KevinPietersen for a team that can’t seem to win.53,Industrialist (8)34VIJAYMALLYA5055 powerpeopleNoFullStopsBecause the Dainik Bhaskar Group has a presencein seven states, accounting for 30 per cent of thecountry, and continues to expand, adding a Bangaloreedition to the Mumbai DNA and a Hindi businessdaily, Business Bhaskar.Because the group along with DNA is slated to close thefinancial year with Rs 1,400 crore in revenue.bigdiscoveryThe regional market is more valuable.Metros only account for a fraction of the population.recessionmantraGood times are boring and it’s thetough times that spur good thinking.SHEKHARGOSHfindstimeforPersonally supervising the scan-tily clad model shoots on the Kingfisher calendar.roadaheadThe company will focus on cutting costsand consolidating its position in their existing markets.timeoffHas just completed a novel, Return to Almora.SUDHIR(LEFT) ANDRAMESH
  21. 21. TheRightConnectBecause despite the slowdown, he is expanding inevery direction with Videocon launching its own DTHservice in April, mobile telephony service by July,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.magicmomentWhen Prime Minister ManmohanSingh called Videocon the proud face of Global India.hiddentalentCan recite shlokas and expound onthe Bhagavad Gita. Also plays the flute.55,Industrialist (39)36VENUGOPALDHOOTFastandFuriousBecause Season II of the IPL promises to be bigger,bulkier and better, establishing the potent mix of bigbusiness, Bollywood and India’s most powerful sport.Because he’s forever controversial, whether it isfor his proximity to politicians or his confrontationiststand against cricket’s Old Powers.Because IPL’s success has “persuaded” otherwisereluctant nations into agreeing to a window for a T20 clubevent to keep their players happy.35,Yoga Guru (46)BABARAMDEV37TellyYogiBecausehis followers continue to grow, as he acquiresthe Aastha channel that gets him 20 million viewers daily,conducts international camps and takes off on yoga cruisesat $1,000 ticket a head.Because he is the richest yogi, having collected Rs 500crore so far through his camps, and has celebrity fansranging from Lalu Prasad Yadav to Kangna Ranaut.hislatestconquestThe IIM-A, where he talked aboutIndian values in modern management techniques.believeitornotInsists breathing exercises can rege-nerate destroyed cells and help the HIV-positive recover.YASBANTNEGIBHASKARPAUL45,Businessman (29)LALITMODI38PURUSHOTTAMDIWAKARwantsIPLtobecomeLike F1, Wimbledon, Super Bowl.lovestoCompose whatpeople say are the longestemails ever receivedfrom a BlackBerry.realitycheckHis mentor Vasundhara Raje lost theRajasthan Assembly elections and he was defeated inthe Rajasthan Cricket Association’s elections.managementstyleMicro. Is particular about whogets VIP tickets, mostly allocating them himself.35,Yoga Guru (46)
  22. 22. 64 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009TryFlierBecause he is trying to weatherthe storm in aviation by transitioningfrom the traditional orthodox revenuemodel to an innovative one—wet-leasinghis aircraft to other international airlines.Because his airline still leads the packwith a market share of over 25 per centand more than eight lakh passengers areon board across 400 flights each day.loomingairpocketNearly 30 percent of an airline’s operational costs arepegged against the dollar.bigachievementJet is cutting costsin the back-end without compromisingon its renowned in-flight service.BHASKARPAUL60,Businessman (34)NARESHGOYAL40LeadersofthePackBecause 21 million people readDainik Jagran every day across 11states and Jagran Prakash is alisted media company with qualitymarket performance.Because despite being a RajyaSabha member, Gupta Senior’s cloutextends across parties.differentstrokesGupta Seniorprefers domestic destinationsfor holidays, while the nephewis a globe-trotter.businessmantraWhileMahendra gives full credit to theteam for making the newspaper aninfluential opinion-maker, Sanjayis a man of few words.MrPrudenceBecause he is poised for a shotat the leadership of the financialsector as the titans ride into thesunset, with Kotak Bank being thefourth largest bank after HDFC,ICICI and Axis, making it the largestpromoter-owned bank.Because despite the global reces-sion, his bank boasts of a capitaladequacy ratio of 21 per cent, andin the shortest time, he hasstraddled every slice of the financialsector to emerge as a conglomeratewith18,000employeesandassetsofover Rs 40,000 crore.startedlifeBy walking aroundMumbai’s financial district,helping traders discount bills.littleknownfactHe is aprofessionally trained sitar player.5055 powerpeopleUDAYKOTAK4149,Banker (New)69and46,MediaBarons(45)39MAHENDRA MOHAN &SANJAY GUPTAUMESHGOSWAMIBANDEEPSINGHembarrassingmomentFired 1,900of his staff, then took them back amidsttears, calling them his ‘family’.newobsessionApplying the‘black swan’ theory oncurrent events.laughtertherapy“CEOs arehandsome, entrepreneurs are ugly”.
  23. 23. 5055 powerpeopleBrandWidthBecause 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.momentoftruthLetter to staffers admitting the organi-sation has “substantial flab” and “too many floaters”.unusualhobbyWandering in the mango gardens inhis native village, Aragonda, 150 km from Chennai.kinshipfactorThough none is a doctor, all his fourdaughters—Preetha, Sunitha, Shobana, Sangeeta—twoadult grandsons and two adult granddaughters are in-volved in managing the Apollo Group.MotorcycleGuruBecause he’s the latest in a long line of Indian mystics capturing theimagination 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 therapyseem as elevating as it is hip.stylestatementGreen. Has initiated Project Green Hands, a move to increasethe green cover of Tamil Nadu by 33 per cent in the next 15 years.powerpoint Endorsed by M. Karunanidhi, hisfollowers range from Nandita Das and PrahladKakkar to Microsoft’s Ravi Venkatesh.likestoGo for long rides on his BMW andHarley Davidson bikes, gifted by devotees.JAGGIVASUDEV4452,Guru (New)76,Doctor (42)PRATHAPC. REDDY4359,Media Barons (22)42PRANNOY &RADHIKA ROYBecause he is the largest private health careprovider in India and plans to ramp up infrastructure to3,000 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 withtop patient safety standards.BANDEEPSINGHAPRABHAKARRAOHealthEffectwhattheyneedAccording to the letter totheir staff, more ideas onhow to cut costs.ASHOKDAMODARANshowofforceThreatening legal action against a blog-ger for his comments on how star editor Barkha Duttcovered the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
  24. 24. Because 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.littleknownfactThat she is deeplyspiritual and visits a temple in Patialawith the family every birthday.thebigacquisitionHer son’s re-turn to India, after many years, withher daughter-in-law Karla.BANDEEPSINGHStraightTalkerthedriveHis fleet has Ferraris, BMWsand India’s largest collection of Land Rov-ers. His favourite is a red Lamborghini.thedigitalstatementHe asked hisFacebook friends if he should join a po-litical party. The most practical advicecame from Omar Abdullah.45,Entrepreneur (50)46RAJEEVCHANDRASEKHAR63,SocialArbiter (40)PARMESHWARGODREJ45HauteHostessBecause he has built access acrossthe 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 Governmentover economic and security issues.BANDEEPSINGH
  25. 25. 68 INDIA TODAY ◆ MARCH 16, 2009ChampionoftheBoardTheWriteStuffBecause he is one of thefew independent intellectuals in India,rated 44 in a list of the 100 most influ-ential intellectuals worldwide last yearby Foreign Policy magazine.Because he makes academics lookcool, writing with as much ease on Ve-rrier Elwin as on cricket.Because he’s not afraid of taking anunpopular stand—even if it is urgingArundhati Roy to stick to writing forbackingtheNarmadaBachaoAndolan.writingstyleDisciplined. Every dayfrom 9 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.nextmoveA prequel to IndiaAfter Gandhi about the first halfof the 20th century.MedicineManBecause he has taken to heartthe provision of affordable healthcare by creating large health citiesin seven cities.Because he conceptualised theworld’s cheapest health insuranceprogramme, Yeshaswini MicroHealth Insurance, that covers threemillion beneficiaries in Karnatakaalone, at Rs 5 a month each.bigfightPractices a martial artknown as Budokan Karate.bignumberHe has performedmore than 10,000 heart opera-tions with one of the highest suc-cess rates worldwide.SUMEETINDERSINGHTheSophisticateBecause he is much sought afterfor his eclectic intellect and has theability to bring together at dinner,whether at his Vasant Vihar home orat Davos, billionaires, internationalleaders, think-tank types and multi-lateral agency chiefs.Because this was the year he wasfinally elected to the Rajya Sabha,thanks to Nitish Kumar.coolbuddiesGeorge Yeo to Nich-olas Stern, L.N. Mittal to Mukesh Am-bani, Sunil Mittal to Anand Mahindra.petprojectPreparing a blueprintfor the revival of Nalanda University.powermoveWinning his third worldchess championship in Germany.littleknownfactHis passion for rockmusic—from the Rolling Stones to U2.Because he is world champion and one-man revolution all rolled intoone, and is India’s highest-paid sportsperson, with the appearance fees ru-moured to be $250,000 depending on who wants him to play.Becausehe is the face of the NIIT Mind Champions Academy that has takenchess e-learning in schools from 1,605 clubs in 2003 to 6,551 clubs and 7.4lakh members in 2008.YASBANTNEGINARENDRABISHT38,Chess Grandmaster (New)4768,MP (New)N.K.SINGH495055 powerpeopleVISWANATHANANAND51,Historian (New)5056,Doctor (New)DEVISHETTY48RAMACHANDRAGUHAGIREESHGVhismusicListening to Kishori Am-onkar on his Bang & Olufsen system.

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