Friday, March 07, 2008

Bollywood Power List

Gang, I need some help from everyone who stops by here.

This whole Most Powerful Person in Bollywood type khitaab that Yash Chopra snagged at the Filmfare Awards had me thinking: who is on Bollywood's power list?

There is a straightforward way of figuring this out, of course. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing the exact haphta ki rakam these people are paying to Chhota Babloo or whoever is the extortionist du jour. But that would have given me an instant top 10 list.

So I wanted to see if anyone would be kind enough to give us suggestions on who should figure on this list.

I'll define some loose criteria (feel free to add your own).

  • The person has to have clout and wield it in Bollywood to get things done, like getting a pet project financed. Or launching a new label. For example, John-Bips wouldn't figure on this list. But Abhishek-Aish would.


  • Their power has to come from public adulation as much as it comes from moneybags. So SRK would be on the list but someone like Chhota Babloo wouldn't. Don't even think about Parmeswar Godrej.


  • It has to be restricted to Bollywood: films, TV, music, dance is included as long as it impacts Bollywood. I'm not sure if Ekta would make the list.


  • This whole thing can't just be a popularity poll. It has to contain people who have clout. For example, Himesh would be on this list but Vishal Shekhar might not.



Also:

86 comments:

Aspi said...

Here is my list so far in no particular order:
SRK, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek-Aishwarya, Subhash Ghai, Himesh Reshammiya, Yash Chopra, Karan Johar.

Man how bad is my knowledge of Bollywood?

Anonymous said...

I would'nt add Abhishek-Aishwarya together. Did'nt Abhi get dropped from LG because he was weilding the Abhi-Ash power.

The wife definitely is powerful but Abhishek is still either his dad's son or Ash's husband.

- Joules

Tania said...

Does it depends on awards or the number of films they get? How about Akshay Kumar.Does he hold any clout becuase of inlaws connection.

ritha said...

Some additions:
Adi Chopra,all the new heavyweight corporate houses' chiefs - Pritish Nandy, Ronnie Screwala, guys at Adlabs..I mean bollywood is a hot business coz of these guys, they are setting up different units for parallel cinema & commercial cinema.

Aspi said...

Joules, Ritha, thanks. Tania - good question: it purely depends on ability to get things done simply by being involved in it.

The best example I have of this is someone like Tom Cruise will stop by a friend's screening for studio heads and make sure he praises it in front of everyone. Virtually instant financing for the film being previewed.

B said...

SRK, Karan Johar, Amitabh Bachhan, Yash/Adi Chopra, Rani Mukherjee, Ajay Devgan/Kajol, Sonu Nigam, Kapoors

Payal said...

Good Question...

Kareena just by herself has upped the ante! Losing weight, hookin up with Saif makes her a power player for now..

Hear, she saw "Enchanted" and now wants to get that made with her starring in it!

As for Akshay, the poor guy managed to get cut out of Tashan promos thanks to Saif/Kareena.. Not much clout there.. ;)

girlie girl said...

I dont know about Kajol/Ajay Devgan but as much as I hate to say it...what about Salman Khan, even Amir Khan could be on this list. Also, I think Farah Khan would be added to the list, maybe incorprate her to SRK.

anon--NOT Mind Rush said...

Hmm, Driftji, If I told you the secret identities of the super-powerful wheeler-dealers of Bollywood---I would then have to kill you. Or else you would need to go into the Witness Protection Program, as Tha Bahi would come after you.

Stay away from dangerous territory..In other words, "You can't handle the truth..."

anu g said...

'Power' depends on which awards are being hosted. If its the Filmfare Awards, then Yash Chopra gets it cos its being hosted at his Yashraj Studios(the best actor award goes to one anchor, and the best actress award goes to the other anchor's latest belle). But if its the IIFA awards, then its the AB family which has the power.Remember how they were all over Yorkshire last year. It was almost as if they owned the Awards.

Mind Rush said...

Ok, I decided to share the "truth"...If you combine pure power and networking reach, there's a different daughter-in-law that's really ruling Bollywood. She is Smita Thakeray.

If you also add the crowd-pulling ability that her father in law has, there's no doubt which family is the star-maker of Bollywood.

Think about it...

Aspi said...

Smita Thakeray? But you have to be in front the masses to quality :)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Preity Zinta. She seems to be gathering some moss lately.

Amrita said...

I think all the bachchans combine to create one super entity. Individually not so much. Also would contest Subhash Ghai's inclusion - he'd belong there if this was the 90s.

I would add the roshans (rakesh and hrithik) and aditya to yash chopra, ronnie screwvala who is all set to take over hollywood as well as bollywood, ajay devgan whose company has been doing stuff on the down low for a while (their movies generally suck but they've got their fingers in different pies), and akshay kumar.

Mind Rush is on to something with smita thackeray - ppl do her stuff coz thats a protection against shiv sainiks storming in and creating a ruckus. then there are little groups that get things done on their own - vidhu vinod chopra is the king of his castle and ekta n balaji do the same as well as sajid nadiadwala with his buddies salman and akshay.

it's a little sick how much I seem to know even if its all wrong.

PS - I thought about preity but the thing is that girl has too much class to whole heartedly embrace any camp and without a camp you ain't a power player. this is why she's best friends with srk AND aamir AND abhiwarya AND vidhu vinod chopra AND yashraj. hot damn. maybe that makes her a powerful person, though.

sidekick said...

fun reading everyone's comments and now i'm not sure what the power tag is all abt! definitely it seems to be about camps - hence the chopra hegemony on the FF list. surely it has to be about power at the box office too. will yashraj survive another year as numero uno on the power list with 3/4 flop films? OTOH akshay has a 100% BO strike rate in 2007,yet seems to lack camp appeal.

maybe amrita is right abt priety who is the ultimate in risk diversification. she is part of every camp and then some. if all else fails she has the industrialist BF to fall back upon! i say she is the ultimate power player.........

Cinderella said...

I hardly have any knowledge of bollywood to comment on this topic.
but i don't think Abhishek has much 'power'.he is what he is mostly because of his Dad.

and Smitha Thackarey sure has some power on the bollywood gang.it's apparent at the shows she organises.most of the big names are always present!

Joules said...

There was an article in time magazine a few months ago about director-actor camps in Hollywood and it mentions speilberg-dicaprio and matt damon-Paul greengrass. That had me thinking that bollywood has had this phenomenon for a while now. KJ-SRK, Ajay Devgan-Santoshi, Chopras-Rani, Paresh Rawal-Hera Pheri director, Abbas-Mastan-Bobby deol/Akshay Khanna.

The bacchans tried to form their camp with Ram Gopal Verma but I guess they bet on the wrong horse plus RGV is too much of a maverick to form a camp.

m said...

aishwarya - because almost every new high profile project, she is the first female actor that the director considers, she is also first choice for commercial and off beat directors..plus she has some very high profile endorsements and is the highest paid actress.. and her last three commercial movies were huge hits

Hrithik - Krrish, Dhoom 3, Jodha Akbar ..'nuff said

m said...

oops i meant dhoom 2

m said...

i don't rly consider Akshay powerful, all of his movies have been comedies that are big these days. once the fad is over his so called power will be gone as well. Plus he doesn't experiment and he isn't really getting offers from any of the critically acclaimed directors or even the big commercial ones either..

i don't think salman is that powerful either, when he does inane comedies yeah they make money but when he does something different the movie bombs at the box office.

SRK - i suppose he is..i dont wanna talk about him

amongst the filmmakers:

I don't think yashraj are that powerful anymore. They can't guarantee hit movies and their directors are very mediocre. Other studios like UTV make better mvoies and can sign big stars..

headmistress said...

my bollywood knowledge is pretty weak too - I couldn't add anyone that hasn't been mentioned before. I do think that Amitabh is a powerball in and of himself though, regardless of the rest of his family (Abhi is really just a minor moon in the Bachchan orbit though...)
Salman, Aamir, Saif...Farah... definitely. Hrithik - despite the pretty face, I think he is yet to develop his own power-clout...
the Deols?
what about David Dhawan?

Aspi said...

Hey this list is writing itself thanks to everyone. I think Preity is getting up there for the reasons mentioned here by Amrita and Sidekick.

And I'm glad headmistress mentioned David Dhavan. I'd give a power position to him before Salman. But then, like Akshay, he doesn't experiment and sticks to his genre which limits his influence.

Who runs UTV? Must look it up.

And what about that Nari Hira character? Is he still around?

ritha said...

Aspi UTV is run by ronnie screwala and 2 other ppl...I rem they used to produce tv serials eons ago before the K phenomenon. They have ofcoz moved onto bigger things and like all biggies, have separate wings set up for art house movies as well.

m said...

UTV are producing next M Night shmalamamalalayam movie i believe and they also did Namesake (??)

Aspi said...

Thanks for the UTV info!

Wasn't M Night supposed to work on Life of Pi at one point?

HoonPanGujarati said...

i think UTV, Adlabs, SRK, Dutt family, Aamir and Big B more than Yash C and KJO - Mr chopra and KJO have not delivered big hits of late. Even the Bhatts would still qualify for their low budget copycats. I cant think of Himes as a power. He was very popular 2 years ago but with VS and even The likes of Pritam and SEL he is becoming less popular. And his films are flops even in Tier II towns.

Aspi said...

HPG, I'm glad you mentioned the Bhatts - I had forgotten about them. They have niche power and I can see how it would be projected if they decide to play outside their little park.

leera said...

Speaking of niche power, the new director crop - Raju Hirani, Imtiaz Ali, Rajat Kapoor, RDB director etc have a good amount of quiet power of their own.

Of course Sanjay Leela Bhansali and RGV have to figure on there, it had to take some clout to get so many people on board their recent delusional projects.

Meena said...

Here is a great article from Newsweek recently that talks about the new power players of Bollywood!
Amritha you are right about the UTV guys taking over.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/72719/output/print

Aspi said...

Meena, terrific link. Thanks!

Just an update: thanks for the inputs everyone! I'm working on the power list and hope to have a list post up soon! Hopefully we can all add to it as we go along.

Anonymous said...

Javed Akthar, Shabana Azmi and Farhan Akhtar probably qualify as another power block.

How about those Marwadi guys who specialize in making wedding videos (I mean movies)? Do they qualify as a power center too?

I am very impressed with SRK's achievements. I don't particularly care much for his acting skills -IMHO they are between mediocre to average. And girls might find others - such as Salman, Hrithik etc. - physically more attractive. So how come he is so popular and, ahem, 'powerful'?

-- Texan

leera said...

I think SRK's power lies in his public presence as well. He's shamelessly witty and not afraid to take a few potshots at himself and everyone around. He is always eloquent and his interviews have always been brutally frank and non-diplomatic ever since his baazigar days.
Everytime I hate SRK in a movie, I am super-entertained by his presence at one function or another. So it balances out for me.

Joules said...

Leera, well said.

meena said...

great point Leera.
early in his career he could have played it safe and restrained himself. or as Aspi pointed out, now that he has the star power, he need not have entertained us like he did in the Filmfare awards.
but, he has been very consistent in his irrepressible brash humor, blatant ambition to succeed/make money and high energy&enthusiasm to entertain.

For a guy who did not come from money, SRK also seems to have proven himself a good businessman as well.

meena said...

..I must add that the contrast between the powerhouse stars was never more obvious than at the filmfare awards:

SRK - with his irreverent humor and high energy
Hrithik - very earnest, sincere, prim and reserved
Aamir - takes himself so intellectually seriously and apparently is so set on his principles that he doesnt even show up.

Aspi said...

Texan, I'm glad you brought up the Akhtar-Azmi family. So I know they are revered and popular and well respected. But do they have the power to make things happen? For example, can they get a high profile project signed just by attaching their name to it? I think unless its a smaller indie film, they can't. Farhan might be able to go out and get a big budget for his flick, but on the list, he's far behind others who can.

Still we should put them on the "Rising" section I'm planning.

Sania said...

guess who fell ill after her last application was submitted?

But thanks for thinking of me - I've been following along on RSS. Will be in Chi-town in two weeks, will shoot you a message, aspi.

Speaking of the akhtar-azmis.. That family extends to the iranis of whom Farah Khan is one, if anyone recalls her "javed uncle" -ing during the main hoon na commentary. Does that give them a nudge up the ladder?

leera said...

On Aamir Khan, I don't care either way about his non-presence at the award ceremonies, but the fact that every nomination for TZP had 'Nomination clip not available from producer' splashed across the screen was a little petty.

What about the other actors/nominees - darsheel, Tisca, Amol Gupte etc all deserved a chance to see themselves up there alongside the other nominees.

Aspi said...

okey Sania. Will wait for your notification. Farah is currently on my Rising list. And man, its so frustrating that I can't take a screen cap from Jab We Met - its holding up my squirty little post.

Sania said...

Aw, don't dismiss the sick girl - it's a valid opinion! Besides, Honey Irani is worth something too - no?

Anonymous said...

Leera, I agree with u about SRK. Most filmi guys seem to be the all-brawn-no-brains sort. I admire the way he manages to keep an audience entertained.He is one filmi guy who can talk intelligently on any subject,and make it interesting and witty too.Now he is busy trying to delay his latest TV show since it is clashing with his own IPL cricket matches. Sometimes having too much can also cause misery!!

anu g said...

Leera, I agree with u about SRK. Most filmi guys seem to be the all-brawn-no-brains sort. I admire the way he manages to keep an audience entertained.He is one filmi guy who can talk intelligently on any subject,and make it interesting and witty too.Now he is busy trying to delay his latest TV show since it is clashing with his own IPL cricket matches. Sometimes having too much can also cause misery!!

sidekick said...

Looks like we have a quorum here (yours truly included) for Leera's group of those who are less than impressed by SRK the actor, but enjoy SRK the public persona for his quick wit and banter. Also, a friend who organized a SRK show in Hong Kong was bowled over by his charm. Apparently he makes you feel special when you interact with him.

Bella said...

For me its Hrithik and Aish. Big is also a big power wielder and the Kapoors.

Saritha said...

Wow!Interesting post,Aspi.Hmmm....Power list.

I think Power is a relative term in the industry.Top actress like Kareena or Aish can shed pounds and clothes for a top banner like yashraj,but will play acc to their will when it comes to smaller banners.Kareena convinced 'golmal returns' producers to rope in her best friend Amrita Arora as a second lead,but she could'nt have done that with YRF.

There's not a single entity as Powerful as Sharukh in the industry.I am the latest to join leera's gang.Great point,there.Totally agree.
And Aspi,my kid might join ur kids,he's soon turning out to be Sharukh's fan.Hey Ram!!!!

I'll put Kajol in the list.Saying no to Kjo and Khan(for KANK) b'coz she didn't believe in the script.Couple of hits later she'll be dictating terms all over again.For her sake,I hope 'U,me aur hum' turns out to be a huge hit.

I always saw Ms.Azmi in Tabu,not only they are realted,they both have the kind of ease on the screen which is hard to find in bollywood today.I hope Tabu stays in the field for the next 30 yrs and reach Azmi's status.So can we place her in the future Power list,if she doesn't decide t quit movies for some Upen Patel,what?! she's seeing that annoying dude from Namstey London?

Aspi said...

Saritha, Tabu is seeing Upen Patel? The expression Bhais Ki Poonch - which I love to say - comes to mind. It's like Rachel Weisz dating Danny DeVito's brains trapped in Dwayne Johnson's body.

BTW, you people are going to kill me when I eventually publish this list. But then, that could be fun!

m said...

Tabu dating Upen aint a big deal. Tabu always came across as crass to me, the way she talks in real life is so weird with ehr bad english. I don't think she is that classy, i mean she professed to being in love with a married man on international TV. Not very intelligent.

she aint no shabana azmi

who btw disappointed me so much.. she is articulate yes, always knows the right things to say yes, always sounds intelligent yes but somehow i feel like its just a facade.. they appear fake to me (they as in Mr and Mrs Akhtar)

Aspi said...

I can't tell for sure if they are fake or not (seems not) but their trying so hard to be intellectual does annoy me.

But then I could just be jealous because they always have the Drift Memsaab's attention and admiration any time they move a muscle.

girlie girl said...

eww...Tabu and Upen Patel! They make such a gross couple!!

leera said...

Why Tabu why? I thought you were into the older, brooding poets, why the 'ken doll' why?

I have to say barring her current questionable bf, I have always loved Tabu. She comes across as a true free spirit and after Namesake, I felt she was on par with any great actor out there. New shabana or not she has a gift and I hope she sticks around.

Joules said...

Wow, what married man was Tabu seeing?

Aspi said...

If only Aruna Irani could be young again - I'd like to see her hook up with Upen.

m said...

some south actor, don't know the name, but i bet he has a thick moustache and a potbelly and gets paid sh*tloads and acts with girls more than half his age

meena said...

Wow m!
stereotype alert!!
have you watched any south movies lately?

SkD said...

Hahahaha....yup...stereotype alert!!Meg, they do have some handsome guys down south...u must check some south indian film websites for that!!in fact the people der r more professional than bollywood!

Aspi said...

That reminds me: I need some tremendous Tamil or Telugu expression to go along with the nonsensical "Hozena!", which I've been using lately.

Joules said...

My husband loves the hozena phrase too. Actually that song "gela gela gela" and its video is so silly that it makes me happy everytime I watch it.

m said...

haha well i saw one southern movie being shot last year when i was on holiday.. the dude was so skinny and had no moustache and he was wearing those flared jeans.. the girl was wearing some ugly dress she was also super skinny..

they were dancing in the middle of this rly busy downtown area.. i was like damn i wish it was a bollywood movie with hrithik or ash..

Aspi said...

Well that Mahesh Babu was kind of cute. We need to find more pictures to convince m though :)

meena said...

M..see, the only brush you had with south movies and the dudes were skinny....

I wish for you too that you see Ash or Hrithik! Only, dont forget to tell us about it :-)

aspi, I missed the whole Hozena! evolution. However, if I am getting it right, here is one that you could use 'Adirindi!'.
where is Saritha when you need her!
I think she wrote something like this for your pokiri review.

m said...

what is this hozena rage? whats it supposed to mean

hehehehehe Mahesh babu, is that a real name..

m said...

sorry if i sound super bitchy, its not the intention, i make fun of everyone..

plus my fave actress is a southern belle and debuted in southern movies..

Joules said...

Apparently Hosanna is a real word that means 'rescue us' or 'hallelujiah'.

http://www.spirithome.com/defamen.html

Anonymous said...

Mahesh Babu is cute. And I did'nt know he was married to Namrata Shirodkar. Is that true?

http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS228US228&q=Mahesh+babu&um=1

The search also picked a pic of Abhi-Aish just for you m.

Aspi said...

Hozena is from the song Gela Gela - which has to be among the funniest ever filmed. Related post here. And who knew it derived from a real world?!

Adirindi, it is. Only I don't know what it means (I checked - turns out Saritha didn't use that word).

Aspi said...

I do believe Mahesh Babu is married to Shirodkar. Also I was just watching Bommarillu - and Siddharth: there's another skinny guy for you.

ritha said...

arre waah! Aspi you watching gult movies & know abt gult stars! (gult = slang for "telugu ppl"...pronounce the "u" as in "could" and not as in "but").

Aspi said...

I am taking a crash course in gult-literacy. You can thank meena for that. (And thanks to your reprimand I still double check my spelling of Telugu each time I type it :)).

Next up: sidekick's Rajni recommendation. Whats the slang for Tamil desis?

ritha said...

Tams!

ritha said...

heh heh i DID notice ur correct spellings!

anu g said...

I thought it was Golti, not gult. But I am told it has a slight derogatory tinge, so Saritha is going to bang me.I think Adhirindi is something like 'Hila Diya'? Now Saritha is going to certainly bang me if I am incorrect.

sidekick said...

anu g, i thought it was golti too... and with derogatory undertones. so Adhirindi is sort of like athiradee in tamil? if so aspi, theres a whole song in sivaji around that theme!

ritha said...

I guess these terms are derogatory in some sense...but that never deters junta (esp. students) from using them! And esp if telugus themselves use it....u know it cant be that derogatory. I have only heard/used gult so am ignorant abt golti.

Aspi said...

Fair enough. I understand how reclaimed words work. I'll use it only after I'm given the keys to Hyderabad and made an honorary Telugu.

meena said...

anu g 'Hila diya' is right on!

Gult, tam, bong, gujju, surd, all do the same thing - categorize a set of people and put some common characteristics on them. I think they are all as harmless or as derogatory as the intention of the person using them.
sometimes these terms help us laugh at our common foibles and that's not a bad thing.

go ahead and use them aspi, I hereby declare you an honorary gult!

Cinderella said...

gult??? i din't know telugu people were called that! it's suddenly all over the place.

Mahesh Bbu is cute but sadly he is too all bald i believe,just like his father.but i'm glad he dosent act like him ..like he's gonna get a fit the moment he finishes saying his dialouge!![if there are any Krishna fans out here,i'l probably be dead!!]

Bomarillu is a sweet movie.Hope u liked it, Aspi!

Did u all know,the song 'appudo ippudo' was sung by Sidharth himself!!!!

Aspi said...

meena, thanks for the honorary position. I will try not to let anyone down.

Cinderella, I liked it enough that I'll do a review. Great nugget of info - I'll have to listen to that song again.

And Mahesh Babu going bald?! That would explain why he parts his hair the wrong way - its the first line of defense for balding men (not that I've done it or anything. heh heh)

Joules said...

Wow, that is cool tip Aspi. I heard MB has gone the Himesh, Salman, Govinda way and is getting hair transplant apparently on the insistence of his beautiful wife.

Cinderella said...

then is Hrithik gonna go bald too???????Genetics says he might!!!

Aspi said...

I think there is some research that says you inherit your mom's patterns, not your dad's. But I've never bought it. 10 bucks says it happens to Hrithik in 5 years.

Cinderella said...

i think it's both ..mum's and dad's genes that decide baldness...ummm..but i can't be sure .will check anyway:)

Anonymous said...

anna asalu mana telugu vallani aa aram na______________________ vademma ni ------------- gallu enduke ala(golti ante enti ardham) antaru manakemi thakkuva okkoka matani kinda meeda padesi 36 vankaralu thippi matladatharu aa aram lanja ------------- gallu.

aa bhasha vintunte vanthi vasthundi asalu..
vallu cheppinatte tamil baga patha bhasha anukundam papam manchi janalu antha chendalam ga unde aa kojja lanja bhashani matladaleka tene lanti kammani tiyyani telugu bhasha ni matladatam modalu pettaru kani inka akkada oichi lanja ---------- gallu aa bhashane pattukoni enduku peekuladuthunnro naku artham kavatla vallake kani telivi unte ikanaina tamil matladatam aapesi telugu nerchukuntaru.

Aspi said...

Hey, can someone plese translate from The Telugu?

Meena said...

Aspi, this is a bad rant against Tamil language. He/she seems to have a grievance against the whole language and people who speak it.

Anon dude, if you think Telugu is 'honey sweet' why are you swearing in it? Are you on the right blog?

Aspi said...

meena, thanks!

Should I point him to Jai or Amit's blog? Mwa-hah-hah-ha!

Never Mind!! said...

Have discover your blog yesterday and have been glued to it ever since. hilarious! awesome blog. Oh...and I assumed if you watch GUlt movies you understood/spoke Gult as well. I am sorry I am wrong. If you don't recognize the swear words, you don't know a language well enough!

And my two cents: Did you forget Anil/Boney/Sridevi/Sanjay Kapoors or intentionally left them out?

Tabu is seeing Upen Patel? I thought she was in "love" with Nagarjuna.

Aspi said...

Never Mind!! welcome. I left them them out intentionally. They are what I call off-list. Which means they are neither rising nor falling but not in the top 12 or so.