Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Drift Bollywood Power List

Power lists are largely subjective and for someone not an industry insider to put together is a high-risk exercise. Still an honest attempt is better than those put together by people with more to lose than me. And so an attempt will be made.

I would like to thank all the hugely knowledgeable (and entertaining) people who stop by the Drift and embellish it with their wisdom and wit. A lot of the names came from them and some generous Bollywood insiders although I take ownership of the order (in other words gaalis need to come to me)

When determining who would be on the list, I used several criteria. Those who made the list are successful and popular. They have influence over many, especially those in positions of power as well (think of how Google's PageRank works). They have the inside track on happenings via well placed moles, they can get even the most ludicrous vanity projects green lighted, they hold the upper hand in most negotiations, they can challenge and restructure well known practices that have withstood the test of time. And above all, they are ambitious people who know how to possess and wield power.

Some quick level sets: this list is a current one - past standing is offset by recent achievements. If you feel I've missed or misplaced anyone, leave me a comment.


1Aditya Chopra
Forget Hrithik Roshan being the star son who vaulted past his father's kamyaabi - Aditya Chopra has done way more as an uber-producer. If you asked Bappi Lahiri about it, he would say: "Yeh India ka Jerry Bruckheimer hey!" He's directed a few famous movies (DDLJ), but his filmography as producer is indicative of the power he commands in Bollywood. He's had a mixed year - four of his five releases have gone belly up. But he scored with Chak De! India, is rumored to be half of a new power couple in Bollywood and is sitting pretty on Bollywood's most profitable franchise (Dhoom).

Chinks in armor: Family feuds tend to be terribly distracting. Aditya's known reticence from the media makes him vulnerable to more flashy and visible competition.


2 Shahrukh Khan
No one in Bollywood is more ambitious than SRK. He guarantees a huge box office opening regardless of the rest of the names signed to a film - the sign of monetary worth in any film industry. After the relative failure of his first production shingle - Dreamz Unlimited - his new venture Red Chillies is off to a roaring start. His camp is as diverse as it is talented - he has a virtual ecosystem of chamchaas who can put together a movie for him (costumes, fashion, direction, you name it).

There are two ways SRK is lining his pockets these days. First, he's deftly side-stepped mob money throughout his career. And he is bringing the back end deal model to Bollywood aggressively. Thus, by working for scale or close, he allows strong pictures to get financed (Chak De! India) and given his stature at the box office, reaps a huge windfall from the profits.

With his recent play in Sports Entertainment via ownership of the Kolkatta Knight Riders he's establishing a sizable content empire.

Chinks in armor: IPL is a highly risky venture. SRK's need to play the joker in the pack is probably pissing off huge forces in the industry kept at bay only by his success. His camp is becoming professionally incestuous. And he doesn't play well with #3 on this list.


3 The Bachchans
There are two prongs to this power parivaar: one is the biggest female draw in Bollywood and easily its one true international star. By virtue of being a newly minted Bachchan bahu, Aishwarya has multipled her connections and vested them deep into Bollywood and the circling industries that give it power. The second, Amitabh, survived tremendous loss of prestige due to some dud projects this year (see Ram Gopal Varma, later on this list) but still has an impressive list of Bollywood Big Wigs in Gratitude (What? You thought he did all those Hajmola ads because he had indigestion?) Abhishek, long considered to be the liability in the family, has come off two confidence building projects: Guru and Dhoom 2.

Chinks in armor: Aishwarya won't work with #2 on this list. With each passing day Amitabh loses out on that most precious Bollywood commodity - age. Abhishek is still an unconventional box office draw and needs help from Dad.

4 Aamir Khan
Its not easy to take on so many bigwigs at the same time and carry on as if nothing has changed. Aamir has (for whatever reasons - they aren't important here) taken on sections of the media and industry politics and delivered huge hits. He can afford to shrug his shoulders at the Filmfare Awards year after year and they still trip over themselves to bury him with statuettes. He is now the first actor that producers dream of signing - even ahead of SRK.

Aamir draws a lot of his power from creating a new model of quality control in Bollywood. He signs projects after deliberation, he retains a high degree of control over them and he is fully engaged in all aspects of the film he commits to. With his debut directorial effort - Taare Zameen Par - declared a huge trade success, he now belongs to the most widely influential category of hyphenates in films: actor-director (see: Mel Gibson).

Chinks in armor: There is only so much isolation you can get away with before it starts hurting you. Aamir's getting old by lead actor standards - which reduces the principal aspect of his mojo.

5The Roshans
Rakesh Roshan's long standing production company Filmkraft started delivering mind-boggling hits only after his son Hrithik got in the game as an actor. He now has pratham dibs on the new superpower in Bollywood, long standing relationships with incumbent Bollywood powers and a reputation for being a clean, professional and rewarding banner to work with.

Chinks in armor: Home productions have an emphasis on home, thus cutting out others. Filmkraft needs to expand and deliver hits that don't star Hrithik.

6Karan Johar
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna dinged Johar's celebrity considerably. But his continued balancing act between the powerful camps of SRK and Bachchans endows him with considerable power. Plus a tendency to control all aspects of his films allows him unprecedented quality control.

He's skillfully created a small screen bitch-camp (Koffee with Karan) where guests entertain audiences with juicy tidbits yet leave without feeling exploited. He willingly works hard to enable the success of others - which makes him a precious commodity in the BackStab Ranch known as Bollywood.

Chinks in armor: He needs a steady stream of hits to stay in the big league, otherwise he can get marginalized quickly.

7Ronnie Screwvala
Screwvala is building a global empire - publicly held and above board. In that he is an innovator. And his production house UTV has been delivering a steady stream of hit films (Rang De Basanti, Jodhaa Akbar) and successful TV shows. Add to that his involvement in several high profile projects (M. Night Shyamalan's next) and deal-cutting with phoren studios which critically (in this business) extends his distribution.

UTV is now valued at $435 million and has a 14% stake held by Disney.

Chinks in armor: One word - competition. Ok four - competition with deep pockets. Plus, UTV's flop to hit ratio is still largely unfavorable.

8Akshay Kumar
Most often called out as the actor who delivers hits but doesn't get any respect (hey, he should form a club with Himesh Reshammiya), Akshay has gone from being the primary challenge to the Khan hegemony to becoming a genuine box office force in his own right. Recently, sensing the falling potential of action movies, Akshay has branched out - rather heavily - into comedy.

Chinks in armor: Lack of respect affects power more than hit films enhance it.

9Salman Khan
Before Akshay's recent feats at the box office, Salman was Bollywood's Mr. Reliable. And being born in a family with deep rooted filmi connections has allowed him to become a power player. Yes, he's had jhagdas with a number of important people, but he's been able to patch them up. Most industry poweristas will tell you he's a really nice person. And he's still wildly popular, especially among Indians across the diaspora - which allows him to retain his hit making power.

Of late Salman has given us glimpses of the artist behind the star, developed a nice comic timing and along the way indulged in some delicious tweaking of his bad boy, pattha image.

Chinks in armor: So many its a miracle Salman has survived at all. A penchant for breaking the law and a reputation for being hindered by ego. He won't work with Aishwarya. His roles are becoming mired in cliché.

10 Sajid Nadiadwala
Very successful via his production company, the curiously named Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, Sajid negated a high profile failure (Jaan-e-Mann) with one of 2007's blockbusters - Heyy Babyy, kicking off a partnership with up and coming director Sajid Khan. Aligned with both Salman and Akshay, he is remaking his 1997 hit Judwa.

Chinks in armor: Can he make a hit without Sallu or Akki?



11 Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Vidhu's Eklavya last year split audiences and failed to win an Oscar nomination in what has now become Bollywood's annual phoren-envy carnival. Still he has a stellar reputation for balancing art and commerce. His Munnabhai franchise is universally loved and he's already working on Part III.

Chinks in armor: A tendency to deliver overwrought Bollywood movies might fail to connect with audiences looking for fresh, new scripts.

12 Mahesh and Pooja Bhatt
The Bhatts have a tested established model for making films. Take some successful niche Hollywood thriller and translate it for Indian audiences. Then find some becoming actors, sign them cheap to a multi-film deal, catch some music directors at in a career ebb to snag some bargain music and make quick cash. The Bhatts don't deviate from this model - but it also makes them them the go-to people for all actors who don't have industry godfathers. And all of their protégés (John Abraham, Bipasha Basu, Shiny Ahuja, Kangana Raut) who go on to bigger things are fall backs to call in a favor from.

Chinks in armor: Lack of respect from fellow industrywallahs. The Bhatts need to deliver a legitimate mass-market hit to play with the big banners.



Preity Zinta
Successfully negotiating often conflicting friendships across multiple camps, Preity has leveraged her recent alliance with Ness Wadia to launch herself into the business of entertainment. Although she's engaged in risky ventures, she's smart enough to understand her limited appeal as an actress to branch out while she is in the top bracket. Can her business acumen keep up with her ambition? That is the question that determines if Preity becomes a major Bollywood power player in the near future.

Himesh Reshammiya
Scaling his talent from TV production to music direction to acting and producing, Himesh is one of Bollywood's most ambitious mavericks. His shrewd acumen for the business of entertainment has allowed him to overcome industry stereotypes and deliver the goods whether he's on the small screen (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa), cutting a CD or emoting on the big purdah (Aap Ka Suroor). Big name actresses won't work with him and industry big wigs still scoff at him - but he draws considerable power from his massive fan following - which is also a demographic sweet spot for advertisers.

Kapoor Family
The arrival of Rishi's son Ranbir as a hot commodity on the scene allows the Kapoor brothers to start rebuilding the largely squatting, beloved studio: RK Films. They are well respected in the industry albeit generally acknowledged to be somewhat undependable and self-destructive. But RK carries more cachet with the aam junta than any other studio does.

Kareena Kapoor
This was the year Kareena translated her influential upbringing into true industry power by delivering a highly visible performance in a movie that was not only a big hit but likely to become an industry classic for this generation. Her alliance with Saif makes her one half of a Bollywood power couple.

Farah Khan
The only female director to play with the big boys with resounding commercial success, Farah has established herself in the masala movie genre as a name to reckon with via two movies: Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om. She has excellent attention to detail which means she can deliver quality hits to audiences over time.

Sajid Khan
He's quickly building successes both in front of and behind the camera with his work on TV's Boogie Woogie and the 2007 hit Heyy Babyy. Plus by virtue of being the brother of Farah Khan, he's got access to some big names in the industry.

Ajay Devgan and Kajol
Individually they are a B-list, A-list partnership. But together they have the potential to become an influential power couple - something they've recently started exploring via their first joint home production: U, Me and Hum. A dicey TV concept show is being watched carefully to gauge their combined star power.



Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Armed with shepherding the careers of two high profile star kids - Ranbir (Rishi, Neetu Kapoor) and Sonam (Anil Kapoor), Bhansali went blue delivering a melodramatic opera that crashed and burned spectacularly with his audience. Despite dealing with failures in a rather egocentric way, he remains one of the few names that can sell a movie with the masses as a director.

The Deols
You would think a family with a legendary actor and two successful progenies would make for one powerful equation. But the cooling sitaares of both Sunny and Bobby and a weak home production - Apne - has resulted in a significant erosion of the Deol charisma.

Ram Gopal Varma
A director who can almost bring down a colossus like Amitabh has got to have had a bad year. RGV did it twice: with Nishabd and then a misguided remake of Sholay called RGV's Aag - and in the process took a terrible pasting from the junta and the industry.

Saif Ali Khan
Having firmly established himself as a Shashi Kapoor like support actor of some repute, Saif built leading man credibility (Parineeta, Being Cyrus) and box office momentum (Hum Tum) to add to his family connections. But just when it seemed he was set to establish himself as someone who could carry a film, some high profile flops ensued (Nehle Pe Dehla, Ta Ra Rum Pum) sending our man plummeting. Plus there was that high risk Filmfare Awards gig - who knows what the fallout is going to be?

Sanjay Dutt
Dutt still wields enough power that the film industry's collective blood pressure soars whenever he ends up in court (or jail lately). And he is still key to the lucrative Munnabhai franchise - which has given him the biggest hits of his career. But you get the feeling that he's squandered his position as Bollywood's power player. Somehow he's failed to recognize that he's developed of late into an actor of some shrewdness and instead allowed myriad social, marital and legal issues to drain him of his celebrity. Plus that Mumbai Ka Don stereotype really hurts when it comes to bagging roles.

Also:

72 comments:

Amrita said...

Oh, excellent! But I think John Abraham and Bipasha Basu belong on this list too in the falling category: there was a time when Jonny was supposed to be the next big outsider after SRK and that lasted for a quick minute just like his appearance in KANK. I'll say this for KJo - he knows where the wind be blowing. Anyhoo, his falling stars are now affecting Bips too - she doesn't work with / ignores anyone Johnny is miffed with (*cough* Salman Khan *cough*).

anu g said...

Hosana:). Aspi;s Powerlist is finally out!!!After all the pre-publication discussions and promises, I am glad u managed to come up with a very interesting list. I am impressed by all the analysis and research u went thru for this.
Wheres Rani? Not even falling? If the rumours are right, and she allies with Adi Chopra, that pair would be far ahead in the race.

Meena said...

Awesone analysis aspi,
You are right about akshay kumar not making as much a dent in the power hierarchy as he could have given his hits this year.
On the whole, I think you were right in ignoring the Akhtar-Azmi clan, but Deepika in the rising list? Isnt that a little premature?

Joules said...

Saif in the falling category with SLB and RGV? Even after he and his lady love want to be the beckham-posh couple of India.

This list is quite extensive. No wonder you have been working on it for a while. I actually think Akshay likes it where he is. It is kind of how some people want to stay as individual contributors and never move up on the manager ladder.

Wonder what happens to the Bachchan brand when the bahu gets pregnant. I think Preity/Rani/Aish have peaked in their actress careers and will have to settle in a life of domesticity soon. They are all trying to make the best out of their last innings before they have to leave the floor for Deepika/Katrina/Sonam.

meena said...

Joules you have a point about Akshay. Ambition is a major factor in acquiring and wielding power. Saif may fall in this same category then. instead of channeling and building on his success he seems to be playing the maverick. He is the one who stands to lose by coming across as SRK's sidekick. SRK can get away with things that SAK cannot. Girlfriend or not.

girlie girl said...

Finally, the long-awaited list is upon us! Great job with it Aspi...very well done. Its hard to believe that there are very few actresses who are on the "Power-Uprising" list. I agree with the Bachchan Bahu but I would think that by now, Kareena would be on that list. I mean, her acting isn't all that credit-worthy, but being a part of the Kapoor name would get her there...not to mention the new relationship. Also, I think Shahid Kapur should be on the rising list. Like Meena said, not sure about Deepika being on the rising list...I dont think she's had enough industry exposure/movies to be on the list. She could very well be a one hit wonder, considering her acting skills!!

Aspi said...

Thanks for the input - this list is hardly perfect and depending on which brand of wine I was drinking might have gotten affected for the worst.

Amrita, John and Bips I didn't put anywhere because they are not power brokers. Yes they get tabloid space but they can't get projects off the ground. People don't run around trying to sign them up. (Which John is spinning smartly by acting in "smaller" projects).

anu g, Rani I thought about a lot - but her name never came up during the numerous phone calls I had with insiders (yes all 4 of them!)

Meena, Deepika's name came up a lot. I probably shouldn't have thrown her in - but she is making the directors dance a bit. Think of her as the item number on the list. Not necessary, but fun to have.

girlie girl, a couple of my contacts told me to put Shahid on the list, but I left him out. Blame me. I think he is just busy (he's booked through 2009) and sometimes that gets misinterpreted as power. But I could be completely wrong about that.

Joules you hit the nail on the head with Akshay.

Greatbong said...

Awesome analysis Aspi. Not so sure about Saif though. I dont know if Rakhi Sawant is a powerhouse but she is really on the way up, with some very good media coverage. I mean really. She now gets top billing with SRK and Roshan-beta for Krazy4 item numbers.

Aspi said...

Hey greatbong, thanks for stopping by here. Not sure about Saif being in the Falling? Also I see the point about Rakhi Sawant.

I am making some plans to modify this list based on everyone's inputs - which is what I had in mind in any case.

Drift fan Mind Rush said...

Driftji, Very deeply researched, impressive post. Who would have thought that Aditya Chopra was the #1 Movie Mogul of Bollywood?

But my belief is that the Mouse is mightier than the Mogul.

(I am talking of the electronic mouse here.) The person who knows enough to write about the Bollywood Power List is the ultimate Azeem-o-Shaan-Shahanshah
of Bollywood.

I vote for Aspi to be the uber-One on this Power List!

sidekick said...

ooh, drift saab... i agree with mind rush. u're the real power player here ;)

i'm not the best informed abt power dynamics, but i agree with others who've said that in a male dominated industry a solo hit behind the badshaah makes deepika a bit of an iffy bet on the rising list. but who knows she may pull a katrina who seems to have ridden the coat tails of akshay and maybe salman to the top of the heap with nothing but a pretty but bland face, astute fashion sense and a killer bod.

more than anything aspi i'm awe struck that u know not one but 4 BW insiders who've provided expert advice??? who would've thunk it? i see u in a whole new light ;)

Anonymous said...

Aspi,

fantastic list! Really, Aish won't work with SRK? I thought they'd patched up (this is because of the Chalte Chalte thing, right?)

Rather sad that there are so few women on the list...but I can't think of any of the current crop of female actors (Other than Aish, and *possibly* Kajol) carrying a movie on their name alone...thus no power, I suppose.

Was Maniratnam ever considered for the list or is his Bollywood presence too small to count? Most actors seem to say How High, when he says Jump, and he's able to sign on major actors for the few films he does...

Bitterlemons

Megarajan said...

Where the hell is Maniratnam and AR Rahman ?

anu g said...

I agree.ARRehman is one guy who literally gets thr producer/director dance to his tunes. He insists that he will do the composing and recording only in his studio at Chennai. And only at night, cos thats when he feels most comfortable.

Amrita said...

As[i - well, fair enough. I guess Shahid and John have the same MO when it comes to success. Another person I was wondering about: Madhur Bhandarkar. Or is the phenomenon over? What do insiders say?

And its true - you know insiders? First you're UsPea HuhVayVala, now you know BW insiders... who ARE you? :D

Aspi said...

Mani Ratnam did come up - but the general consensus is that he is too much of an outsider to be a power player in Bollywood. Same applies to A.R. Rahman.

Personally I've never bought into AR having power. He composes his music on his own terms - but try taking AR's name to a studio and you might be able to scare up some lunch money if you're lucky.

Another thing I heard a lot: the music industry is off on its own - they are in no position to dictate to the studios that run Bollywood.

Aspi said...

Yaar Amrita, Madhur Bhandarkar didn't come up at all - my guess is because of his lack of box office fire power lately.

My Bollywood insiders aren't that big a deal. They aren't stars or actors or producers. Rather all I can access are people (reasonably to fairly) close to *some* people who are on this list (or just got left out).

Aspi said...

Bitterlemons, I'm not sure where Aish stands with SRK: but I don't see any projects getting lined up. They circle each other at best.

megan said...

ash has said that she doesn't mind, and srk has publically apologized but i think he still doesn't want to do movies with her because of his super inflated ego.. she was offered Veer Zaara and SRK got her replaced i believe.. and i don't want her in his movies either..i am quite happy with her movie choices..

she has been on top for years without piggybacking on srk or other so called "top khans" or Yashraj/K Jo brand of "safe movies".. that is why i respect her, media and haters have been harping on and on for years but nothing keeps her down, she always comes out stronger..

Anonymous said...

Great analysis Aspi.

If Reshamiya and Vishal-Shekhar have some power then Rahman definitely has some more. IMO, SRK trumps Adi Chopra because SRK's greatest year (2007) was Adi's weakest year. Also, Saif is definitely on the way up with Race breaking BO records and Tashan looking good.

One nitpick: Sajid Khan has nothing to do with Boggie Woogie apart from appearing a few times as a guest.

Aspi said...

Anon, its not hard to map Himesh and V-S's power. They are both deal-makers which automatically gets more cachet than being a reticent and soft-spoken music composer. When calibrating power, popularity matters but not as much as what you do with it.

Aspi said...

Gang, I took Deepika off based on the feedback I got. I still think it would be fun to have her on the list, but meena and sidekick have logic on their side :)

I take back what I said about her.

Anonymous said...

@Aspi:

Still not agree on Rahman's exclusion. :)
What one does with his/her power is a different story IMO. The fact that he is the highest paid composer and he gets offered most of the major films if not all should be considered. He is the only composer whose a presence on the credits means anything commercially. But, hey it's your list. :)

Aspi said...

Anon, if you were a named Drift regular, this would be your list too :)

Fair enough. Let's hear what the rest of us have to say. And we can always add A. R. in.

Cinderella said...

i think Rahman is preferred just 'cos his music is a commercial succeess but he can't call the shots as in make anything 'happen'.thats dosen't account to 'power',does it? and same goes with Mani Ratnam.

Mind Rush said...

Driftji,
Methinks you should make this Power List an annual event. It would be much anticipated if it were done at the same time every year.

People would introduce Vishal-Shekhar as the Drift Power Listers, or AR Rahman as the one who "almost made it to the Drift list..Think about it.

Parallel entertainment!

Aspi said...

Cinderella, finally! Someone who is with me on AR although I confess I wasn't able to get a good feel for anyone purely in the music industry while making the list.

Mind Rush, I can see Head doing it now:

Head: Drift Power List mein number two Shahrukh Khan! SRKji, iss list mein Aditya ke peechhe tumhara number hai. Kaisa lagaa?

SRK: Kaun woh bewakoof Aspi ka list? Waise Aditya itna talented hai or handsome bhi. Uske peechhe number two aane mein koi problem nahi. Hehehe.

Joules said...

Megan, regarding Ash not piggybacking on anyone. Its well known that she road Salman Khan's coattails when entering bollywood. (Does anyone remember her earlier movies - Jeans, Hamara dil aapke paas hai etc..) That got her the much needed attention. Her career graph started very similar to Katrina Kaif's.

She latched on to Vivek Oberoi when he was a rising star and dumped him as soon as she saw AB's baby.

Yeah, she is a beautiful face and is somewhat talented to ride the bollywood wave but saying she made it all on her own is a little bit of a stretch.

Joules said...

That was rode not road

headmistress said...

fantastic list... definitely exhaustive! I agree with Aspi on AR Rahman - whil ehis music definitely wins commercial and critical acclaim, I don't ever see him exerting any kind of influence on the film/music industry as a whole though. However I am intrigued by his collaboration on the Lord of the rings musical...

megan said...

Well joules i beg to differ.. Ash got Taal and HDDCS and she started dating Nanga Khan while shooting HDDCS. She shot to stardom thanks to those movies, she did not do any other movie with him after that (full fledged role) so how could she have piggybacked on Salman's.. After HDDCS she totally shot to A league.. So i fail to understand what she actually got out of that episode? apart from bruised eyes and a lot of so called big projects (Bajirao Mastani, Chalte Chalte etc)..she lost more because of him than she got anything out of him.. HDDCS could have had Bobby Deol instead of Salman and the movie would still have been a big hit..

Plus she was the most famous supermodel and debuted with Mani Ratnam's movie and Deols (who were considered big back then).. Salman definitely didn't help her get those projects..

Also joules, piggybacking on Vivek? LOL sorry no offense but that is hilarious.. she was way bigger star than him when she started dating him, she was way way out of his league.. seriously which movie did she actually get thanks to her relationship with him? Kyun Ho gaya Na? LOL..

Aspi said...

Somehow whenever "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" gets mentioned, I picture Vivek running around like a little teenager in the shortest shorts you could put on a man and not get an NC-17.

Amrita said...

Aspi - yeah thats what I figures re: Bhandarkar. I know the film industry everywhere has this habit of praising people to the skies and then flinging them down, but Bollywood is a class apart when it comes to doing it.

Also, I too agree with you and Cinderella about Rahman. He gives a project cachet but he isn't strictly necessary to a movie's success. Perfect example: SRK has him replaced with Vishal Shekhar for OSO. Would it have been better with Rahman composing? Absolutely. But did it make a difference to the performance? No.

Megan - Actually, Vivek wasnt the joke he is right now when she started going out with him. He was actually a rising star until his mouth and love for Ash did him in. And while she got HDDCS on her own, she was considered a jinx until it proved to be a hit and after that she got insider status after she began dating SK - which is why she got dropped like a hot potato after she dumped him. And Bollywood works on the insider status, poor thing. After which she shut up, put her head down and worked her way up all over again by doing offbeat movies and home productions and of course, Kyun Ho Gaya Na - until she got the item number in BaB and was hot again.

And I wouldnt read too much into SRK's apology either. the man throws them around like confetti so other people will finally shut up and go away. which is why he's the tops. never deny, just straight up admit the other person is right and the other person will not only leave you alone, they might even come to like you.

Aarohi said...

@Aspi:

Anon here...

My humble argument is based on inclusion of V-S and Reshamiya in the list. What influence do these guys have in terms of calling the shots as in 'making something happen'. Reshamiya has managed to switch to acting (Did I thank god enough for that?) and he has been successful in finding an audience for himself. But as far as music is concerned I don't see him or V-S exerting any influence or making any difference.

Side note: Rahman managed to get copyright of his compositions for Aamir Khan's next production. This was the issue because of which Rahman had to leave OSO. Following this, Aamir also gave copyrights of TZP tracks to SEL and Prasoon Joshi.

Anonymous said...

Megan:- Not nice, Aishwarya.
http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?page=article§id=30&contentid=2008032720080327022603202bbfe37f1

Anonymous said...

Poor Vivek. Aish really didn't treat him very nicely. I have to believe that stupid press conference he gave was her idea - or at least she encouraged him to do it.

But that is the way some stars manage to stay on top. Using other people to do their dirty work.

Aspi - Funny comment about Kyun Ho Gaya Na and Vivek's shorts. I hope someday he is able to regain some of his dignity back. Oh - and great list!

Aspi said...

aarohi, I think you are right about V-S. They probably don't have enough power to make it to the rising list on second thoughts. I'll take them off (need to remember to do this tomorrow) unless someone protests.

Himesh I'd like to keep because the minute a very popular success in a desirable demographic category becomes a popular actor AND starts his own production shingle (which is the key to power in Bollywood) - he must be watched.

sidekick said...

i agree with aarohi on V-S or for that matter any music composer. the only reason i agree with apsi on HR is coz of his producer status and also that he's a singing, acting, music composing star who's managing to build his own power base - pretty impressive.

If I had to add any music composer at all to this list it would have to be Rahman. I'd turn Amrita's argument around and say, not doing OSO doesn't do a thing to change Rahman's fortunes. Look at Anu Malik.... he had a big hit in Main Hoon Na and if he'd done OSO it may have helped revive his flagging fortunes. I'd go as far as to say V-S moved into the uber league thanks to OSO --- so that's really SRK and Farah.

If there's a metric to judging a composer's power list worthiness, to me it would be whose music is most likely to be critically and commercially appreciated when the movie is a dud. i can't see too many candidates scoring over rahman on that. financially/creatively too he seems to be working on his terms - copyright control which after his stand seems to be gaining favor in BW. Plus if that music school of his takes off, he may have his power base. Can't imagine a better strategy in BW than vertical integration. YRF became power players, after Adi Chopra had the foresight to set up that studio that so many producers seem to use.

megan said...

heh no matter what, desi women will always think having 2 boyfriends (they will disregard the fact that first boyfriend has several criminal conviction and the second boyfrined has a foot in the mouth symdrome ) is worse than running over people while they are drunk and telling the world you are with a girl (even if the girl wants privacy)

it doesn't matter for a girl that the boyfriend is way less successful than her, as long as you are with a man, then you are piggybackin on their miniscule success.. like women's success means nothing compared to the mens'??? i mean wtf

Aarohi said...

Yes, Reshamiya is definitely a worthy choice given that there is a sizable market for whatever he chooses to do.

Joules said...

Aspi, The more I think about this list and the criteria you are using, I believe there are two groups of power listers here. One who have enough clout themselves to get a project off the group and another that depending on their camp/boyfriend/girlfriend can get a project off the ground.

SRK, Amir, Akshay, HR, Hrithik, KJo, Mahesh-Pooja are the first kind while Farha, VS and almost all actresses (unfortunately) is an example of the later.

Aspi said...

Joules, you are right about that. Its like Google PageRank as I mentioned in the post. The similarities are striking [engage geek mode] and makes me understand how wonderfully organic Google's base concept is [disengage].

sidekick, perhaps we should do one for the music world. Its big enough and in Bollywood important enough that it might be fun. But I don't know many insiders.

SkD, you here? Remember your promise? We might call it in.

girlie girl said...

I kinda have to agree with joules on the list seperation. I mean, there is no way that Farah Khan would be where she is today if it wasnt for the blinding support of SRK and the SRK name in her movies. I think VS started great on their own but I feel like they dont have enough clout of their own to continue...and even if they do, they seem to be banking projects with big names so their name recognition can be more successful. I think at times, I see Ritwick on the second list as well...just because of his father's movies and being associated with them...

Aspi said...

girlie girl, I don't mind separating the lists only it becomes complicated enough that its out of my reach :(

FYI, I took V-S off the list. Makes sense.

anu g said...

If u do ever decide on a general power list, i think bcci's lalit modi would stand right up there in the forefront. He fits into the exact description of 'power'ful. He makes things happen, he makes other people invest, he makes news(he is being interviewed by all channels) and finally makes tons of money!

Amrita said...

I think VS get in the limelight coz of their reality show cred -- in actual fact, they've done just about ok. So I'm ok with taking them off. And sidekick is right: losing OSO didnt matter a rat's ass to rahman. he'll always have people queuing up. it'll be interesting to see how long he can keep up the copyright thing. It's long overdue imo.

And as far as Vivek goes - I dont know if aishwarya put him up to it, but if she did she paid for it handsomely by putting up with him. he's always struck me as a man who'd be uber annoying in a relationship up to and beyond the point of calling you up in the middle of the night to read you his Hallmark poetry.

Aspi said...

Curiosity overwhelms me about this publishing rights scenario? Any details on it, anyone?

Who enforces it? For example today if you play a Yash Raj song at a disco or party, YR will come kick your ass and ask for a hapta (which is fine, its how music royalties work).

So now in OSO's case, if I play an OSO song at a New Years Party, I have to pay AR?

girlie girl said...

oh no, i dont mean you should make the changes to this list...it's perfect the way it is...but as mind rush suggested, if we make this an annual thing, i think it should be broken up a little more.

Agree with VS being taken off the list...

Cinderella said...

I agree with Megan about Ash.
That girl is where she is on her own - right from her modelling days to the paegent and then acting.
and me thinks she is so preferred because of her popularity among the masses[boyfriend/no boyfriend] right from the time she had won the world title.
But i must say she's got enuf of 'clout' to use all that's in her reach to her full advantage!and that i don't think makes her any less powerful individually!

Anonymous said...

I agree with sidekick on ARR - I can think of several movies that were duds, where his music stands by itself.

Aspi,

yes a power-list for the music crowd please!

Re: Aish - I do feel she gets a lot more flack for keeping to herself than some other, more vocal actors do. I don't get why so many people are riled by her - she's certainly very good looking, and is reasonably talented (needs the right director), but those datapoints fit so many women in the industry! The whole Vivek Oberoi thing - the guy built himself a reputation for shooting off his mouth long before he hooked up with Aish - remember the Rani controversy over Sathiya? With that background, I find it hard to believe his claims.

- Bitterlemons

Amrita said...

Aspi - oh no no, you're thinking of bollywood and royalties in the anglo american sense where an artist gets paid. In Bollywood, you're traditionally paid a lump sum and then you take it and go home. baat khatam. then the producers took the album and sold it to the music company for a lump sum. which spelled the end for the producers. after that, all the moolah went to the music company. even licensing music is a new concept apparently:
http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/feb/10spec.htm

It's like the wild west out there. In fact, Rahman started this crusade coz he was sick of asking music companies for their permission to perform his songs (!):
http://www.glamsham.com/movies/scoops/06/oct/13_a_r_rahman_shahrukh_khan_om_shanti_om.asp

Amrita said...

One more link:
http://www.saindia.com/article/view/298/1/45

Joules said...

Bittermelons, I could reverse your question and say why is it when someone says anything negative about Ash their credibility or reasons are questioned? Do you like all a-list bollywood actresses? IMHO, I do not think she is that talented. Sure under the right director any actress would shine.

For some reason Ash fans and 20 year desi girls always play the victim card with her. btw, I like Deepika and she has had two boyfriends in two weeks. No problems with having multiple boyfriends. For all I care you can have both or many at the same time.

Aspi said...

Amrita, thanks for the links! Couple of points about those articles:

The comparison with western artists setting up their own shop in the first linke is a little tangential. Most artists are humored by their labels and get their own vanity shingle. The rules changed a bit when Madonna's Maverick discovered Alanis Morissette but more or less this landscape remains the same. In India, we are talking about a genuine production house for anyone who treads that path - and that includes scouting, recording, production, distribution and rights management.

Second, I still can't figure out who enforces Rahman's copyright. Maybe he just won't care - although given that he doesn't do too many dance mixes, those hotel owners in Mumbai aren't going to think of it as a big win. They still have to deal with YR-type rights hounds.

Sidekick said...

Aspi, I don't think you need to partition the list into the hosts and the parasites. At the outset I think you set up the ground rules for qualification as both the ability to make projects happen and the ability to use camp allegiances to win projects. That Farah and VS belong to successful members of the latter category, doesn't negate their power even if they are lesser beings on this list than their more powerful dosts.

Bitter lemons, what was the vivek-rani jhagda? i know rani refuses to talk about vivek, but i never got why.

amrita, thanks for all the links ; it makes things a little clearer. aspi, i think it's that others CAN enforce copyright over his material that frustrates Rahman, rather than whether they WILL.

m said...

my understanding is that Rani wanted Vivek's chops but she realized he wasn't married so she didn't pursue further, j/k

apparently rani wanted vivek but he just wanted her as friends or something, i don't know.. i didn't follow bollywood back then apart from ash and hrithik's movies so i don't know the details..

Cinderella said...

and what about reality shows and all other perfomances then?are they all also supposed to take permission from the music companies to perform those songs??

Joules said...

Regarding the Rani-Vivek jhagda what I heard was Vivek was trying to act as big a star as Rani on the sets of Saathiya and Rani wanted more perks/attention as the senior artist. I dont think there was anything romantic between them.

Just that after company Vivek considered himself the next hot thing in bollywood which did'nt sit well with the queen bee of that time.

Aspi said...

Hey if you saw the way Vivek danced at the Filmfare Awards, he still considers himself the next big hot thing in Bollywood. For some strange reason related to his hair and gota-style biceps I feel like calling him Floppy Popeye.

cinderella, good question. I think like Amrita pointed out: the world of music rights management is not just ill-defined, its entirely chaotic. Who knows what happens there?!

girlie girl said...

OMG...i cannot stand Vivek's hair. I get that he's balding and is in denial about it, but jeez, groom it a little!!

Cinderella said...

yeah,ur probably right!

anyway u making another list on music industry?? will wait for it!!

Happy Ugadi to all telugu people here in advance:)
bye!!!!

m said...

vivek dances like a girl, i bet he sits down to pee

anu g said...

Aspi, if u plan a Drift Telly Power List, u'd better beware of Kekta!
http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?page=article§id=12&contentid=200803312008033102191224547809f

Aspi said...

Thankfully no such plans exist :) Good interview though. She seems to have a very nimble business model.

zazu said...

nice list - fun and thought provoking.

What does it say about the industry that your list has few directors who are directors first, and producers second and NO writers who are primarily screenwriters a la Salim-Javid? Would you say that nowadays the true creatives are marginalized?

How does your list compare with the Hollywood list from Entertainment Weekly, for example?

meena said...

Do purely creative contributors ever make a power list by being best in their field? Writers and composers dont seem to mass enough clout potential. There were differing viewpoints on including AR Rahman. Himesh only makes the list because he is multifaceted.
Salim-Javed or more recently, Imtiaz Ali, shimit amin, Farhan akhtar, etc would probably not meet the power definition. I cant think of any writers that would have this power in Hollywood either.

Now with every moderately successful actor/director in BW rushing off to start their own production houses, it will be hard to find just actors or just directors in this list. Apparently the latest to do this is Saif. Aspi, what with Race and this, you may have to reconsider Saif's position in the falling list :)

Aspi said...

As far Hollywood writers go, they are a notoriously power-shy lot. Its part of the subculture - if you put on a suit and flaunted your power, you'd be out of the inner circle of writers - thus diminishing your credibility.

meena, I agree about Saif but still want to wait and watch purely because he is currently getting his kudos purely as an actor. So we'll watch Tashan and see how he fares. But if he were to do something to leverage his popularity, he'd make the list in a heartbeat.

Sidekick said...

I agree with Meena - Saif needs reconsideration, if not "rising" then defi not "falling"! Race doesn't seem to have required much acting (from all the reviews here and elsewhere), but is raking in the moolah. if Tashan hits it big at the BO, saif shd qualify for the rising tag. he's also producing and starring in imtiaz ali's next, so perhaps the mover and shaker tag is not far behind.

anu g said...

I agree, Sidekick and Meena. With Race and Tashan, and if Lady Drift is right, his becoming Mr.Kareena soon, Saif needs to jump to the Rising column soon.(Could someone ever imagine it, many years ago when he acted and danced horribly in that Ole Ole song').

desigirl said...

I don't think Mani Ratnam is a Bollywood chappie. Same goes for ARR too - though he does loads of Hindi music these days, he's still essentially Tamil industry.

So that is what Aditya Chopra looks like in real life. Ick! Rani doesn't have good taste, does she?

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Majid said...

who loser made this power list ?


for me here is the power list

Actors:
1. Aamir khan
2. Shahrukh Khan
3. Hrithik Roshan
4. Akshey Kumar
5. Salman Khan

Actress:
1. Kareena Kapoor
2. Aishwarya Rai
3. Katrina Kaif
4. Priyanka Chopra
5. Kajol

Directors
1. Asotosh Gawarker
2. Yash Chopra
3. Karan Johar
4. Shanker
5. Mani Ratnam

Music Director
1. A.R.Rahman
2. Shankar,Ehsan loy
3. Vishal Shekar
4. Pritam
5. Hemish reshamya