18 extraordinary Indian men – and one spectacular woman – like you've never seen them before
GQ Legend: Rahul Dravid
When Rahul Dravid retired in early 2012, the cricketing world lost a stalwart – an athlete who was not only gifted and accomplished, but also unassuming and humble. The former India captain embodied the spirit of true sportsmanship: a titan who was above the petty politics of the game. Solid, dependable and consistent, he was the man the nation could turn to for hope in the face of defeat. And, to more than a billion people, the No 3 position will always belong to The Wall.
“It was a huge honour to play with Rahul Dravid. He is a legend. By the time I was picked for the Indian team, he was an established star. There was lot to learn from him – like the rigour with which he prepared for each game. He wouldn’t leave any stone unturned, whether it was a practice game or a Test match. People talk about his textbook technique, but many other players have had similar skills. To be able to score over 20,000 international runs, though, you need to be mentally invincible. Rahul was a colleague for more than a decade. He was all about balance, on and off the field, and often guided me. I consider myself privileged to have shared a dressing room with him” - Yuvraj Singh
TV personality: Shekhar Gupta
Amid the gaggle of voices emanating from nightly television news, his stands out for its clarity, gravitas and incisiveness. With over three decades as a political journalist, including 16 years leading The Indian Express newspaper as editor-in-chief, Gupta has displayed a canny ability to flit between print and television, where his Walk The Talk show on NDTV 24x7 has brought candid conversations with some of the most influential people on the planet right into our living rooms.
“Shekhar is a fine journalist, and I’m a big supporter of everything he does – as a writer, editor, publisher and television personality. I’ve been a guest on Walk The Talk several times, and admire his ability to get to the heart of issues, ask pertinent questions and capture the essence of a conversation” - Nandan Nilekani
Director: Anurag Kashyap
With the epic Gangs of Wasseypur I and II gaining accolades at Cannes and at home, one of indie cinema’s greatest champions is finally enjoying the kind of mainstream success few honest filmmakers ever achieve.
“Anurag Kashyap has believed, and succeeded, in making the kind of cinema he feels strongly about. For years he struggled to achieve this, and now that he has, it’s only just that he receive the recognition that GQ honours him with” - Amitabh Bachchan
Lifetime Achievement: Anil Kapoor
Staging a comeback is a feat few people are able to pull off – and in the fickle world of cinema, it takes talent, business savvy and flair: traits our Lifetime Achievement awardee has in spades. After a memorable two-decade run, Kapoor faced a dry patch before bouncing back with 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, which catapulted him back into our consciousness. The rest is history: an appearance alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol following a run in hit American TV show 24 (soon to be adapted for local television, with Kapoor in the lead). Most importantly, though, the prolific 54-year-old actor-producer continues to do it all with inimitable style.
“He’s a great actor, and was an incredible host to me [in India] – we’ve become friends. I first met him at the Golden Globes in 2009 where I gave away the award for Slumdog. I really wanted him to make Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and I was so excited when he said he’d do it. Anil has a remarkable work ethic, and is inspiring to watch. I have so much respect for him” - Tom Cruise
Emerging talent: Ayushmann Khurrana
Radio jockey – check. Reality TV host – check. Lead in critically-acclaimed indie movie – check. What’s next for the pugnacious young man from Chandigarh? How about a breakthrough into the big time?
"Within 15 minutes of meeting Ayushmann, I knew we had our Vicky Arora. We needed someone special to do the role justice, for which Ayushmann had the perfect balance of innocence and spontaneity” - John Abraham
Inspiration: Shekhar Kapur
When your body of work as a filmmaker includes Elizabeth, Bandit Queen, Mr India and Masoom, your place in the pantheon of legendary Indian artists is assured. How many other directors can claim to have created an Oscar-winning period picture based in 15th century England as well as Bollywood’s most over-the-top villain? But truth be told, Kapur had us at Digjam.
"I first met Shekhar in 1994, after being blown away by Bandit Queen, which he had just completed. We got together for a few projects that never really took off, but I was happy for him because he went ahead and established himself in Hollywood. Some years later, he introduced me to Andrew LLoyd Webber and Bombay Dreams happened. A lot of things I thought would never come to fruition did because of Shekhar’s initiative. He introduced me to the Internet saying it would revolutionize information and knowledge sharing, and make songs and videos go viral. He has this uncanny ability to predict what will work in the future” - AR Rahman
Watch this space for more on the other winners.
Photo Credit: Bikramjit Bose, Tarun Vishwa, Abhay Singh, Tarun Khiwal
Stylists: Antara Motiwala and Tanya Vohra
By GQ Staff
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