Karan JoharVishal Bhardwaj
No one dons multiple hats as well as Karan Johar, 43, does. From hosting popular chat show Koffee with Karan to judging reality shows such as Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa and India’s Got Talent, Johar has showcased his versatility on television. His Dharma Productions has produced some of the biggest blockbusters. However, it’s been a while since he directed a movie—his previous two hit directorial ventures were My Name is Khan (2010) and Student of the Year (2012). He also directed one of the four segments in Bombay Talkies (2013). Apart from being a director, producer, writer and show host, Johar is an actor too; he starred in a negative role in Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet (2015). The film tanked at the box office, but Johar received critical acclaim for his role as Kaizad Khambatta, a wily Parsi media magnate. As if that’s not enough, Johar has also turned designer for superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
The multifaceted Vishal Bhardwaj, 50, is a music composer-cum-director who has written and made some of Bollywood’s most path-breaking films in recent times such as Maqbool (2003), Omkara (2006), Kaminey (2009) and 7 Khoon Maaf (2011). Bhardwaj always wanted to be a music composer and took to filmmaking for that reason. And he has not lost sight of his first passion. The year gone by has been special for Bhardwaj. He completed his William Shakespeare trilogy with 2014’s Haider [Maqbool and Omkara being the other two films], where he took on the roles of director, producer, writer and music composer. The film met with accolades and controversy alike. Bhardwaj also composed music for commercially successful films such as Nishikant Kamat’s Drishyam and Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar (he also penned the story for the film) this year. He also produces movies under VB Pictures, the most recent being Talvar. Bhardwaj has even sung songs for his films such as Omkara, Kaminey, 7 Khoon Maaf and Haider.
Music composer Vishal Dadlani, 42, has come into his own in the last few years as a bonafide multi-hyphenate. Apart from giving music for movies along with partner Shekhar Ravjiani, Dadlani has judged several talent shows such as Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007, Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star, Amul Star Voice of India—Mummy Ke Superstars and Indian Idol Junior. An accomplished singer, Dadlani has also lent his voice to Hindi and Tamil film songs. As lyricist, he has written songs for films such as Kahaani (2012) and Anjaana Anjaani (2010). Dadlani has also composed the theme song for Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons 3, 6 and 7, and the team anthem for Kolkata Knight Riders. When he’s not busy doing cameos in films or making music, Dadlani keeps himself occupied by campaigning for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). He is a politically conscious musician and is one of the first celebrities to show solidarity with the political party.Chetan Bhagat
Author, screenwriter, television personality and columnist, Chetan Bhagat, 41, can be credited with turning an entire generation’s attention to pop Indian fiction. By presenting simple plots that were easily relatable to middle India, Bhagat cemented his appeal among the urban youth. He has also written the screenplay for the successful Salman Khan-starrer Kick (2014) and films adapted from his books have done well too. 2 States (2014), for example, was a superhit grossing Rs 104 crore at the box office. A popular motivational speaker in the corporate world, Bhagat is a vociferous social media influencer. Often controversial, his opinions grab eyeballs and lead to debates. As a judge of the reality show Nach Baliye this year, Bhagat portrayed the role of snarky judge to the T. Bhagat, who released his second non-fiction work, Making India Awesome, a collection of essays proposing solutions to the country’s various problems, earlier this year, is now awaiting the cinematic adaptation of his last bestselling book Half Girlfriend.
Farah Khan, 50, has set the dance moves of over hundred songs and directed blockbusters such as Main Hoon Na (2004), Om Shanti Om (2007) and Happy New Year (2014). Khan has also established herself as a television personality to be reckoned with in the last decade, having hosted and judged shows such as Bigg Boss, Farah ki Dawat, Indian Idol seasons 1 and 2, Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star, Dance India Dance Li’l Masters, Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega and Just Dance. Then, from blink-and-miss cameos to the lead in Bela Bhansali Sehgal’s Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (2012), she has shown her acting skills too. Khan and her husband Shirish Kunder’s production company Three’s Company has produced movies such as Tees Maar Khan (2010) and Joker (2012), both box-office failures.Images - Vishal: Ernesto Ruscio / Getty Images; Vishal: Sachin Kadvekar / Fotocorp; Chetan, Farah: Getty Images
(This story appears in the 25 December, 2015 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)