Taapsee Pannu: The accidental actor
In her seven years as an actor, Taapsee Pannu has built for herself an impressive résumé. The 30-year-old has essayed a diverse set of characters across Hindi, Telugu and Tamil films: From the critically-acclaimed Pink
(2011, Tamil) and Vastadu Naa Raju
(2011, Telugu) to the commercial potboiler Judwaa 2
, which grossed over `100 crore this year. “I was never offered the typical ‘heroine-ish’ Bollywood diva roles,” says Pannu.
It was a combination of free will and destiny that brought her to the film industry. A computer science graduate, Pannu once turned down an offer from IT major Infosys. “I didn’t want to be an engineer for the rest of my life,” she tells Forbes India
. Pannu, however, nurtured ambitions of an MBA degree and a high-flying corporate job. But those plans, too, failed to fructify.CLICK HERE to view the 2017 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list
Instead, her part-time modelling career in college helped her bag her first movie Jhummandi Naadam
, a Telugu drama that released in 2010. Since then, she has acted in about 20 films and co-starred with some of Indian cinema’s bigwigs such as Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Dhanush, Prabhas and Mammootty. She also endorses seven consumer brands, including Panasonic (mobiles), Women’s Horlicks, Honda (two-wheelers) and hair-care brand Kesh King.
Image by: Neilson Barbard / Getty Images
NIVIN PAULY: The hit machine
The former Infosys employee is one of the most bankable stars in Malayalam films. He debuted in 2010 and delivered a string of hits starting with Thattathin Marayathu
in 2012. His romcom Premam
(2015) earned ₹60 crore and became the highest-grossing Malayalam film ever at the time. A lot of Malayalam movies are made on a tight budget, one of the reasons why Pauly hasn’t made it to our list. But with his foray into the Tamil industry this year with Richie
(he’s had a bilingual release in 2013), and about 10 releases between now and 2020, it could well be a different story in the future.
Image by: Vijayanand Gupta / Hindustan Times via Getty images
JEJE Lalpekhlua: On the ball
Indian football’s most exciting prospect since skipper Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua has impressed as much on the domestic circuit as he has on the international stage. In 2015, he scored a double, winning the I-League with Mohun Bagan and the Indian Super League with Chennaiyin FC, scoring six goals and three assists in the latter. The following year, he helped India lift the SAFF Cup with three goals and was adjudged AIFF’s Player Of The Year. His exploits have made him one of the highest-paid footballers in the ISL this season, earning him a whopping ₹1.4 crore.
Image by: Robertus Pudyanto / Getty Images HS PRANNOY: Smash Hit
Along with Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy spearheaded the charge of Indian badminton on the world stage, climbing 18 spots to end 2017 as World No 10. The 25-year-old made it to the semifinals of two Superseries events—the French and the Indonesian Opens. He also won the star-studded 82nd Senior Nationals. Prannoy was the most expensive buy at the Professional Badminton League, with the Ahmedabad Smash Masters picking him up for ₹62 lakh.
Image by: Sachin Gokhale Disha Patani: Brisk Start
The 25-year-old, who made her debut with the Telugu film Loafer
in 2015, marked her presence in Bollywood with the 2016 release MS Dhoni: The Untold Story
. At the end of that year, she was among the most searched people on the internet in India along with PV Sindhu and Vijay Mallya, according to Google. In 2017, Patani starred opposite Jackie Chan in Kung Fu Yoga
, which was dubbed in Mandarin, English and Hindi, and grossed over $200 million worldwide. Patani has also bagged a slew of endorsements.
Image by: Sachin Gokhale Kriti Sanon: Catwalk to Stardom
Model-turned-actor Kriti Sanon forayed into acting in 2014 with 1:Nenokkadine
(Telugu), which bombed, but her Bollywood debut the same year, Heropanti
, earned her the Filmfare award for best debut. The following year, she bagged a role in Dilwale
alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. 2017 was a mixed bag as Bareilly Ki Barfi
was a hit while Raabta
flopped. Apart from endorsing many brands, she has recently been roped in as a brand ambassador to promote New Zealand as an education destination.View Complete List: https://www.forbesindia.com/lists/2017-celebrity-100/1665/1 RELATED:2017 Forbes India Celebrity 100: Shooting for the Stars Salman Khan tops Forbes India Celebrity 100 list for second consecutive year Photos: Meet the 30 highest-earning celebrities Photos: The Women on 2017 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list Photos: 21 sports personalities in 2017 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list
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(This story appears in the 05 January, 2018 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)