Aamir Khan on Time’s list

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Also included in the list are India’s finance minister P. Chidambaram and activist-lawyer Vrinda Grover

Bollywood’s acclaimed actor-director Aamir Khan has made it to the Time magazine’s coveted list of 100 Most Influential People of 2013.

“The Time 100 issue represents our choices for the 100 most influential people in the world. It’s our 10th year doing it, and the cover always presents a special challenge,” the magazine wrote in its editorial about the Time 100 issue.

While the magazine has, in some of its past Time 100 editions, put “a postage-stamp-size picture” of all the 100 influencers on the cover, the magazine says it is “trying something new” this year, with “seven cover portraits of Time 100 honorees who reflect the breadth and depth of our list, each one profiled inside – as is our tradition – by an equally luminary voice”.

Aamir Khan is profiled by an equally well-known Indian star, composer A.R. Rahman, who paints a rather compelling image of the actor, praising him for using his influence to raise social awareness in India.

“In a world of false diplomacy and evasiveness, Aamir is a straightforward man. A man of his word. His movies are commercial successes — ‘Lagaan’ was nominated for an Academy Award — but they also display a sense of social responsibility: they tackle important themes, like poverty and education,” pens Rahman.

The other personalities on the seven covers are the Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai (profiled by Chelsea Clinton); hip-hop-artist-turned-entrepreneur Jay Z (by Michael Bloomberg); Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence (by Jodie Foster); first-term Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (by Sarah Palin); inventor-entrepreneur Elon Musk (by Richard Branson); and Chinese tennis star Li Na (by Chris Evert).

The magazine segments its top 100 influencers into five sections: Titans, Leaders, Artists, Pioneers, and Icons. Interestingly, Khan features not for being an artist, but as a Pioneer. Another Indian that features among the ‘pioneers’ is Vrinda Grover, human-rights lawyer and an advocate of women’s rights.

India’s finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, on the other hand, makes an entry as a Titan, whom Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, describes as “a fish out of water” for being an uncharacteristic Indian politician.

“Indian politicians are warm and fuzzy, chronically late and terribly imprecise. Chidambaram is detail-oriented, works from 8 to 8 and has a reputation for getting a lot done, but with an arrogance that rubs many the wrong way, perhaps too many to unite the weak coalition government likely to emerge from next year’s election,” writes Sharma.

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