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Small screen, big moves

The small screen has been his home ground, first as an actor and then as a game show host. Shah Rukh Khan, 43, is now going a step further to rule television.

Print Edition: January 25, 2009

Shah Rukh Khan
The small screen has been his home ground, first as an actor and then as a game show host Shah Rukh Khan , 43, is now going a step further to rule television. His company, Red Chillies Entertainment, has floated a TV production division—Idiot Box—to produce shows for general entertainment and lifestyle channels. Samar Khan, a former film journalist, is tipped to head the operations of the division. The first show to go on air is “The First Ladies with Abu Sandeep” on NDTV Good Times and the first episode will showcase Nita Ambani, wife of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. Next in line is a sitcom Ghar Ki Baat for NDTV Imagine. That’s not all; Red Chillies is set to make waves on the big screen, too. It had announced an investment of nearly Rs 100 crore in three big-budget movies in 2008. One of the flicks, Billu Barber, will hit the theatres in February. In 2007, Om Shanti Om—a Red Chillies production—was the highest-grossing Hindi film of all time, raking in $45 million (Rs 216 crore) at the box office worldwide. Will Idiot Box replicate the big screen success? Given Khan’s penchant for grand vision, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Cool desis in USA
The list of Indians creating global waves just got bigger. These five young turks made it to the's top 50 coolest Desis list for 2008.

Gurbaksh Chahal
Gurbaksh Chahal
This 26-year-old entrepreneur started an online company at 16 and sold it for $40 million. He also founded and sold online advertising network Blue Lithium to Yahoo! for $300 million.

Mira Veda
Mira Veda
The california-based singer and activist (30) is the only South Asian woman on the board of the Grammys. Veda will release her second album in 2009.

Parvez Sharma
Parvez Sharma
The 36-year-old Showed exemplary courage, making his award-winningdocumentary, A Jihad for Love, on gay Muslims— filming it in countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sudhir Venkatesh
Sudhir Venkatesh
The new york-based sociologist spent time with a Chicago-based gang for his book, Gang Leader for a Day. The book talks about the day-to-day violence Blacks face.

Brandon Chillar
Brandon Chillar
This 22-Year-old California-based National Football League star, one of the few South Asians in NFL, signed a $5.8-million contract with the Green Bay Packers in 2008.

Dr Leena Srivastava, 48, Executive Director, Operations, TERI
Dr Leena Srivastava
Knighthood for the dame
One hardly hears of women knights, but this is the kind which India desperately needs. Dr Leena Srivastava, 48, Executive Director, Operations, TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), has recently been appointed Knight of the Order of Academic Palms (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques) by the Prime Minister of the French Republic. The honour has been conferred on her for work related to sustainable energy, environment, and her contribution towards academics and scientific research. She’s been at it for 25 years, and way back in 1983, she spearheaded TERI’s project on developing energy economic modeling as a basis to evaluate the impact of policy decision on energy security and environment performance. Srivastava is passionate about effecting a pricing change in the energy sector. “I am against blanket subsidies and I believe that the distorted pricing is at the root of all our woes,” she says. Though awareness has been slow, rest assured, her cause is certainly one of the most vital issues of our times.

Bajaj brothers—Rahul (left) and Shishir (right)
Bond of brothers
The spar lasted six long years, but finally culminated in a settlement just before 2008 ended. The warring Bajaj brothers—Rahul (left) and Shishir (right)—settled their dispute under a family agreement signed on December 21, 2008, after many a failed mediation attempt. Rahul, 70, and Shishir, 61— grandsons of late Jamnalal Bajaj—have worked out an arrangement to exit from each other’s companies by removing the cross holdings—a process which got stuck several times due to differences over market valuations. “All disputes between both sides stand resolved,” says the senior Bajaj in a statement. Though the minority shareholder—the Pittie family—threw a spanner in the works by challenging the deal, the dispute is settled. Other warring families would do well to take a cue from the Bajaj brothers.

The chosen one?
Who will grace the 18th floor office of deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India’S Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road headquarters? The post fell vacant after V. Leeladhar’s four-year term as Deputy Governor ended in December ’08. While Bank of India CMD T.S. Narayanasami, 60, is a top favourite with 40 years of banking experience, Punjab National Bank CMD K. C. Chakrabarty, 56, has also emerged as a frontrunner. The final call will be taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who heads the Appointments Committee of Cabinet. Though the possibility of a dark horse emerging cannot be ruled out, the duo does not make the choice any easier.

Contributed by Anusha Subramanian, Dhiman Chattopadhyay, Anand Adhikari And Shamni Pande

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