| 21 DEEPAK PAREKH 62, BANKER (15) |
Because whatever the issue, governments ignore his advice only at their own peril. Because when the finance minister wants to improve long-term finance for infrastructure development, he turns to Parekh to head the committee. Because his HDFC has now morphed into a financial powerhouse with retail banking growing by 40 per cent last year and life insurance business leaping by over 130 per cent. Because the HDFC property fund raised Rs 1,000 crore in India and Rs 3,300 crore from abroad. Because with assets of over Rs 1,70,000 crore and a customer base of over 1.3 crore, it is no wonder that Citigroup has raised its stake in HDFC from 3 to 13 per cent.
The Road Ahead: The country needs to invest $350 billion (Rs 16 lakh crore) in infrastructure and Parekh, along with Infrastructure Development Finance Com-pany, Citi and Blackstone, is committed to raising at least $5 billion (Rs 22,500 crore).
The Big Acquisition: The Padma Bhushan.
On Top of His Mind: Retirement. The line of succession is being planned.
Big Cool Buddy: Keshub Mahindra, who has been vice-chairman since inception.
DID YOU KNOW
He is a sports buff who never misses the Wimbledon finals. He will go to see the ICC cricket World Cup finals at Barbados.
22 NARESH GOYAL 58, BUSINESSMAN (8)
Because Jet Airways is still the country's largest air carrier, with 27 per cent of the domestic market, connecting 44 destinations within the country through 330 daily flights. Because whether he was buying planes (he ordered 20 wide-bodied airliners) or chalking out new overseas routes, he gave his competitors a bumpy ride. Because with the US Government finally clearing his airline of alleged terror and underworld links, he stopped the wagging of tongues on its ownership. Because though the Air Sahara deal went sour and the Jet Airways share price halved, he flew into the Forbes list of the world's richest people at the 512th position, with a net worth of $1.5 billion (Rs 6,750 crore).
The Road Ahead: With other private airlines such as Air Deccan and Kingfisher getting ready to fly overseas, global expansion is on top of his must-do things.
The Big Acquisitions: Actor Shah Rukh Khan and filmmaker Yash Chopra on the company's board, which has included Javed Akhtar since inception in 1993.
The Big Loss: The death of his mother, his biggest influence.
Can Swing Between: Bad temper and great charm within seconds.
Cool Mantra: To provide in Jet's international business class the services that are available in the first class of Singapore Airlines.
DID YOU KNOW
His favourite hobby is watching Bollywood films. His most loved directors? Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Farhan Akhtar and Karan Johar.
23 RAJNIKANT 58, ACTOR (29)
Because he can inspire mass frenzy in minutes in the South. Because the Rs 15-crore fee for his last movie, which makes him the highest paid actor in India, looks all set to increase with his next film Sivaji: the Boss. Because the former bus conductor with the Karnataka State Transport Corporation is now the man younger stars such as Vijay and Silambarasan try to imitate. Because despite pleas from fans who see in him a new MGR, he refuses to plunge into the hurly burly of Tamil Nadu politics.
The Road Ahead: More announ-cements of retirement and yet more movies.
The Big Acquisition: Promising actor Dhanush who married his daughter Aishwarya in a power merger.
The Big Loss: The "peace" of being a nobody in his youth in Bangalore.
Should Be Embarrassed About: Tamil fringe groups marching to his doorstep asking him to take a stand against his home state, Karnataka, on the volatile Cauvery issue. His failure to participate in such protests-he boycotted a star rally going to Neyveli in June 2003-raises eyebrows and tempers.
Loves to Say: "I am like a race horse; even if I fall down tomorrow, I will get back to form soon."
DID YOU KNOW
His younger daughter Soundarya, who studied animation in Australia, is creating an animation character based on him.
24 MAHENDRA MOHAN GUPTA AND SANJAY GUPTA 67 And 44, Media Barons (33)
Because theirs is the most read newspaper in India. Because with a valuation of Rs 2,000 crore, Dainik Jagran's 29 centres and 200 editions, they have expanded beyond their traditional bastion into fm radio and satellite television. Because Mahendra Mohan's induction into the Rajya Sabha gives the group a political presence. Because with innovations like a newspaper for Hinglish youth called I-Next, the heartland giants are set to grow bigger.
The Road Ahead: Reproducing UK's reinvigorated Independent in India. Eight fm channels from their publication centres and a stake in another English newspaper.
The Big Loss: They could not acquire the Ranchi-based Prabhat Khabar in time because of labour trouble. Are now locked in a bitter battle over it with Bhaskar.
Character Traits: Both are Arya Samajis and interested in yoga and spirituality. Sanjay loves to take short breaks in the hills by himself, sometimes "to simply dwell over national problems."
Relative Values: Guptas are a band of ten cousins who run everything from editorial to marketing.
DID YOU KNOW
While Sanjay loves to let his hair down, dancing and singing at parties, Mahendra Mohan is obsessive about driving his own old Santro.
25 GVK AND SANJAY REDDY 70 AND 42, INDUSTRIALIST (NEW)
Because the infrastructure behemoth won the Rs 7,500-crore Mumbai airport modernisation bid despite intense corporate competition and hectic political lobbying. Because the projects on hand-from hotels to mines-are worth about Rs 15,000 crore. Because in GVK's son, a Global Young Leader chosen by the World Economic Forum and son-in-law of Union minister T. Subbarami Reddy, the next generation has already arrived, as much at home at a Stanford University panel as on site with workers at Mumbai airport. Because the partnership with Taj Hotels has enabled the group expand their three hotel network in Hyderabad to Chandigarh and Chennai.
The Big Acquisition: An apartment in Bandra in Mumbai, a big switch from their sprawling Hyderabad homes. Also, Ranbaxy's D.S. Brar to run the biotech company, GVK Bio.
The Big Loss: For Sanjay, no time to play golf and badminton.
Embarrassed about: Women wanting to hold GVK's left hand to admire the 14-carat Solitaire he wears.
The Big Discovery: Sania Mirza, whom the group sponsored in 2000 when she was a struggling junior. They are now backing five other tennis hopefuls, one of whom is just eight years old.
Relative Values: Sanjay and his wife Pinky have become elegant additions to Mumbai's swanky drawing rooms.
New Big Cool Buddies: Subbarami Reddy's Bollywood friends in Mumbai.
DID YOU KNOW
GVK started out with dam building, then ventured into manufacturing with pre-laminated particle board that made him move base to the US.
26 PRANNOY AND RADHIKA ROY 57, MEDIA BARONS (23)
Because NDTV is still the most favoured channel of the chattering classes despite serious threat from new entrants. Because they are adding two more networks to their stable this year, a lifestyle channel NDTV Life and an entertainment channel NDTV Imagine. Because in an industry that worships youth, Prannoy is still India's most respected anchor, interviewing cricketers one day, world leaders the next. Because though they have independently functioning CEOs in all their channels, they are still only an SMS away from editors and anchors.
Big Discovery: Dancing at Davos.
Sleepless Nights: With their protege, Rajdeep Sardesai, snapping at the heels, having taken their best journalists and their formula.
You Know You're Special: When you get invited to their home to dine with foreign bankers.
Must-do: Weekend breaks at their retreat in Mussoorie, where they travel by train.
Relative Values: The first couple of Communism, the Karats, and the Roys often holiday together. Last summer it was at a villa in Tuscany in Italy.
DID YOU KNOW
Prannoy takes his father, a former boxwallah and cricket buff, to watch matches abroad, particularly during the World Cup.
27 AMAR SINGH 51, POLITICIAN (27)
Because he has connections in politics, entertainment and industry and is not afraid of using them. Because when his friend and colleague was targeted for holding an office of profit, he unleashed a tit-for-tat campaign that led to Sonia Gandhi's resignation. Because the Supreme Court passed stringent laws against telephone tapping after he pleaded his case before it. Because whether it's a Page One headline or a Page Three photo-op, it usually has Amar Singh's unique take to it.
The Road Ahead: All roads lead to the Uttar Pradesh elections.
The Learning Curve: Has given up throwing flamboyant birthday bashes for himself after facing flak for one such party in 2001 held a day after the devastating Gujarat earthquake. Is now found dragging A-list buddies to well choreographed temple visits.
The Big Loss: Ten kg in eight months. He blames it on "loss of mental peace due to the vendetta politics of Congress".
Favourite New Phrase: Congress has Manmohanomics, he has Hanumanomics, that is, "If you burn my tail, I will set the whole of Lanka on fire".
And Finally: Wears a ten-carat diamond on his left thumb to ward off enemies. Says diamonds are forever.
DID YOU KNOW
He devours Jackie Collins, whose characters are so full of "lust, greed and jealousy that they are quite normal".
28 KARAN JOHAR 34, FILMMAKER (NEW)
Because he is Bollywood's EBF (Everyone's Best Friend). Because he parlays his intimate conversations into public confessions. Because he is Bollywood's chatterbox. Because whether it is his film, equity in a soon-to-be-launched entertainment channel with NDTV or invitations to speak at Wharton, New York University and Harvard, he is a one-man industry. Because good or bad, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna finally buried his bubblegum boy image. Because he may not be an actor, but he's a star.
The Year Ahead: Producing a movie directed by his long-time assistant Tarun Mansukhani, beginning the 18-month process to make an animation film, and directing a movie, his fourth.
The Big Discovery: Expecting red carpet treatment for his third film, he was stunned at the extreme reaction to his take on adultery-in-Eden.
Latest Acquisition: A sea-facing flat in Bandra for mother Hiroo and himself, which will be ready in two years. "We love the building culture."
Last Book Read: Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie. "It made me want to change my life for one whole week."
DID YOU KNOW
He loves to shop wherever he travels. Is a compulsive buyer of Louis Vuitton, from their watches to folders to bags.
29 RAKESH JHUNJHUNWALA 47, STOCK BROKER (32)
Because he is the pin-up boy of the current bull run, having predicted it in 2002 and believed in the fundamentals of India's growth story. Because he invested in Indian equities even in June last year when the Sensex tumbled from 12,612 to 9,046 points. Because he has consistently invested in unlisted companies such as Manisha Pharma, Metro Shoes, John Energy and Pegasus. Because he has always had the vision, and has formed a new division within his company, which will incubate young companies who fulfill it.
The Road Ahead: Will create a team to take care of his investment and trading business, while he concentrates on stock-picking.
The Big Acquisition: A flat worth Rs 26 crore in Il Palazzo building in Malabar Hill, which will make Kumar Birla and Harsh Goenka his neighbours.
The Big Regrets: Has not lost weight, cut down on smoking or spent more time with wife Rekha and two-year-old daughter Nishtha.
DID YOU KNOW
He loves his 18-year-old Chivas Regal. Takes pride in his exquisite collection of Ganeshas, which are scattered over his home.
30 SACHIN TENDULKAR 33, CRICKETER (35)
Because he is still world cricket's biggest hero. Because everyone holds their breaths when he comes out to bat. Because he signed a new three-year marketing deal becoming the first client of Iconix, a new marketing wing of ad giants Saatchi & Saatchi, for a reported $40 million (Rs 176 crore). Because he was formally reinstated into the power centre of the Indian cricket team as the vice-captain. Because with an average of 44 in the year before the World Cup, he is clearly just warming up. Because he is now a close ally of Rahul Dravid in gathering the disparate personalities that make up the Indian team and comrade to the reinstated Sourav Ganguly. Because after a string of defeats, he has kept the peace in the dressing room through force of will.
The Big Acquisition: A cast-iron fitness routine, new additions to his home gym and a firm control on carbs that his friends cannot believe.
The Big Loss: Being riled into response by tamasha TV.
Should Be Embarrassed About: A partnership with Rahul Dravid in the crucial Cape Town Test vs South Africa which lasted 15.1 overs but yielded only 24 runs.
And Finally: His son Arjun's cricket hero is... M.S. Dhoni.
DID YOU KNOW
He is the exact reverse of Sourav Ganguly, a natural left-hander who does everything left-handed, except batting.