In its third year, the 2014 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list found a new leader. Shah Rukh Khan, who was a clear No. 1 in the previous two editions, has dropped to the third rung. He has been replaced at the top by Salman Khan. The No. 2 slot is now occupied by Bollywood’s enduring star Amitabh Bachchan, who is up from the fifth position last year.
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Reason for this shuffle: Shah Rukh Khan did not have a release within our period of consideration (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014). Meanwhile, Salman Khan had two hits—Jai Ho and Kick—and substantial earnings as host of reality show Bigg Boss on Colors TV (owned by Network 18, publisher of Forbes India). Amitabh Bachchan, too, drew sizeable earnings from his TV shows Kaun Banega Crorepati and Yudh apart from brand endorsements.
This is also the first time in the three-year run of the List that the overall No. 1 heads the earnings and the fame charts. However, despite a quiet year, Shah Rukh Khan has only slipped to No. 3. This can be attributed to his undiminished brand value that has earned him about Rs 202 crore (the highest through endorsements). With 22 deals, his is also the highest number of brands endorsed by a celebrity. But on the fame count, he could only garner a No. 7 as opposed to the top slot last year.
Fame, in fact, proved to be a surprise factor this year. Take actor Preity Zinta, for instance, who makes an entry at No. 14 on the back of her fame count which far outweighs her earnings. Her film career, however, had no role to play in this. It was her spat with Ness Wadia, the co-owner of IPL’s King’s XI Punjab, and the strong performance of the team that attracted strong media coverage.
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Other notable newcomers this year include singer Arijit Singh, cricketer Ajinkya Rahane and actors from Bollywood and the South: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Rajinikanth and his son-in-law Dhanush are among the 20 debutants; 10—among them Sunny Leone, MC Mary Kom, Kangana Ranaut and Imtiaz Ali—are returnees.
Snakes and Ladders
TV comedian Kapil Sharma has made the biggest climb this year: He’s up 60 places to 33 as his show Comedy Nights with Kapil continues to enthrall audiences. Singers Yo Yo Honey Singh and Mika Singh too have made significant progress to Nos. 16 and 40, from their earlier slots of 59 and 74, respectively.
The major absentees from the list include music director Pritam; he was ranked 29 last year. The others who couldn’t retain their places include Emraan Hashmi (43 last year), Amit Trivedi (64), Sajid Khan (76) and Jeev Milkha Singh (87): In all, there are 30 dropouts.
The celebrity list reflects the enhancement of woman power in the Indian entertainment industry led, of course, by Bollywood. There are now 28 women compared to 21 last year. Of these, five are returnees and five debutants. Women celebrities also outdid the men on air-time bought for TV commercials. The first three slots among endorsers are occupied by Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif.
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It’s a social world
Celebrities in India seem to have embraced social media as the quickest and, often, most effective marketing tool. For free. Some actors have used it to release their new movie’s first look and ensured a committed audience before its release. Others, like comedian Papa CJ, bring in packed houses for their shows by communicating the time and date for their next performance.
But few use social media as well as Amitabh Bachchan. With 11.8 million followers on Twitter and counting, the window with his fans is always open and responsive. Just another pointer to his unfailing (and amazingly, growing) popularity—a lesson the younger guns would do well to learn.
The Top Ten and their Earnings:
1. Salman Khan Rs 244.50 cr
2. Amitabh Bachchan Rs 196.75 cr
3. Shah Rukh Khan Rs 202.40 cr
4. MS Dhoni Rs 141.80 cr
5. Akshay Kumar Rs 172.00 cr
6. Virat Kohli Rs 58.43 cr
7. Aamir Khan Rs 80.47 cr
8. Deepika Padukone Rs 67.20 cr
9. Hrithik Roshan Rs 85.00 cr
10. Sachin Tendulkar Rs 59.54 cr
Celeb 100 List compiled by Cuckoo Paul, Debojyoti Ghosh, Deepak Ajwani, Deepti Chaudhury, Kathakali Chanda, Kunal Purandare, Pravin Palande, Salil Panchal, Samar Srivastava, Shabana Hussain, Shravan Bhat & Sohini Mitter.