India loves its heroes. And nowhere are heroes more visible than in the larger-than-life world of cinema and in the sports arena. It’s hardly surprising then that the Forbes India Celebrity 100 List generates the kind of interest it does, consistently since it first made its debut in 2012. Over the years, as the Indian movie business has evolved, structures have been built through greater corporatisation and with the stars setting up their own ventures to ensure they have a bigger say in the process of making a movie. Whether it is Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment or Akshay Kumar’s association with three production houses, megastars today are deeply immersed not just in acting but also in the making of that blockbuster which they work so hard for.
Kumar, 49, who features on one of our five covers this year, follows a simple process. He gets the actual production of his films outsourced before they are sold to the big studios. This allows him to keep his own end simple, with a lean team focussed on striking the best deals. Even relatively younger stars like current hot property Ranveer Singh, 31, are clear that they are not just actors, but also big brands. Singh, who has shot up in the Celebrity List ranks to number 12 this year from the 30th spot in 2015, admits to keeping a part of his work day aside to nurture “Brand Ranveer”.
Not just movies, the world of sport is also dominated by sportsmen with a keen business sense; Virat Kohli being a great example. Celebrities know, and are increasingly cashing in on, their brand value.
This year’s List has some interesting takeaways. Salman Khan, the Sultan of Bollywood, has wrested the top slot back from friend and rival Shah Rukh Khan on the back of two giant hits—Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and Sultan. Shah Rukh slips one slot to number two, while Kohli’s string of good performances sees him at third place.
Kumar, who has had a dream year with three huge hits, moves up two places to number 4. Two women—Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra —come into the top 10 with ranks 6 and 8, respectively. Chopra and Padukone are now known names in Hollywood as well.
A lot of effort went into bringing you this issue. Forbes India’s Salil Panchal, Neeraj Gangal and Pramod Mathew sifted through enormous amounts of data, aided by our process validators Ernst & Young, to bring you estimates of how the top 100 have fared. Design Director Anjan Das and Chief Photo Editor Vikas Khot collaborated to ensure that the visual look and feel of the issue is in keeping with the theme.
All this will, of course, be worth it if you enjoy this issue as much as we did putting it together.
Happy reading, and here’s wishing you a very happy and prosperous 2017!