Take a look at the list of icons that Indian youth admire has many of the usual suspects but with just enough curveballs to keep things interesting:
He’s retired from day-to-day operations at one of the world’s largest conglomerates. He introduced the world to the ‘cheapest car’; now trying to be the GenX ride. But Indian youngsters give him more than just a few props. He’s no nano, apro Ratan, but he’s sure on fire.
His humble abode will make your home look like a damp cardboard box by a dumpster in a dark alley. But India’s richest man still doesn’t have enough power to propel him to the top floor of this list. But No.2 is better than No.3, no?
The younger Ambani walked a different path and until a recent rapprochement lived his own real life version of Clash of the Clans. A billionaire who also runs marathons; what’s not to admire?
Looking at this list it seems retirement or something more permanent is what one needs to be admired in this country. Of course, it helps that you were the creator of one of the most pervasive brands in human history. And gave up all that to run a charity and pour buckets of ice and water over your own head. So, here’s looking at you, Gates.
The late Ambani still fascinates the young Indian imagination with his riches to super riches story and a thriving legacy carried on by sons, their wives and grandkids. As they say, it ain’t over till…
He is the most followed Asian leader on Twitter. In 2014, he was ranked the 15th most powerful person in the world. His visit to Uncle Sam beats the trend score of the #RoyalBaby. Fine, that might be an exaggeration but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that NaMo, the almost year old Prime Minister of India, is the most exciting political figure amongst India’s youth.
The bastion of the Right to Information Act, the fodder-provider for all the AAP jokes, the current chief minister of New Delhi (until further notice); Arvind Kejriwal has emerged as the second most exciting politician in our survey. When he’s not busy running the capital, he’s found accusing the media of practising ‘Supari journalism’. Well, who would’ve seen that coming!
On May 6, 2015, Congress vicepresident Rahul Gandhi made his Twitter debut with @OfficeOfRG. By the time his office clicked ‘send’ on the second tweet, he’d already fetched over 20,000 followers. Truly the stuff dynasties are made of.
Britain ran a successful series called Yes, Prime Minister. India had a similar series running for a decade. Only this one played out in real life and was titled ‘Yes, Madam ji.’ Madamji, president of the Indian National Congress, continues to charm the youth of the nation with her understated but forceful personality; an apparently reluctant leader with the reins of power (at least in her party) firmly in her grasp.
Couldn’t have been her long-lost film career that got her the most exciting label. ‘Amma’ is 67 years old and most of the surveyed sample might not even have sexagenarian parents. Yet, the general secretary of AIADMK manages to remain both in power and in the news surviving controversies that would have felled (or at least severely abashed) a lesser mortal.
It seems the country’s Sachin Tendulkar hangover isn’t about to recede anytime soon. After releasing an autobiography late last year and announcing a signature single edition BMW last week (with him tightening the nuts and bolts himself, no less), India’s Little Master is going to remain the Most Admired Sportsperson with good reason.
While he received a lot of bouquets and brickbats about his leadership of the Indian team in the World Cup, our Captain Cool is in the news for non-cricket reasons — one being for the biopic on him that seems to be hitting road bumps even before filming begins; the other for his daughter Ziva. But hurl hate or love his way, his legendary ‘cool temperament’ spells d-o-n-t-c-a-r-e.
Cricket’s Bad Boy Kohli seems to be dividing equal part of mental bandwidth to his girlfriend, Anushka Sharma and to cricket. While trivial aspects of his relationship have been written about, India’s ‘future captain’ and self-proclaimed ‘most consistent player in the team’ forgot to sign up for humility lessons. Howzzat for excitement, folks?
The country hasn’t really been kind to Sania Mirza, what with the outrage over her short skirts (try playing tennis in a sari, duh), her marriage to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik and the resultant furore over her audacity to choose her own life-partner. But she has shown her critics how it’s done, with her recent World No 1 ranking in Women’s Doubles.
While the survey was conducted long before his conviction, for better or worse, Salmania reigns supreme. It even bolsters the Khan’s apparel brand, Being Human. We suspect even the conviction won’t change the minds of this bhaicrazy fan club.
Not as violently polarising as the man above him, not as pedantic and goody two shoes as the Khan several ranks below him. Shahrukh Khan’s days as youthful loverboy maybe past their sell by date, but he has enough of a fanbase to take a stab at reinvention.
A surprise entrant at No 3 is a man whose last name is neither Khan nor Bachchan. TV funnyman and ubiquitous presence across filmy award shows, Sharma holds up a mirror and shows us a society where risque jokes just on the right side of PG-13 and a man in drag translate into comedy gold.