24. Sunil Mittal, 51
Bharti Airtel Chairman
He heads Bharti Enterprises,one of Indias leading business groups with interests in telecom,agri business,insurance and retail. Bharti Airtel,under the leadership of Mittal,has been at the forefront of the telecom revolution and has transformed into the largest mobile phone operator in India with a market value of $25 billion. It has also entered into a joint venture with Wal-Mart to tap the growing retail market in India.
He was one of the first Indians to identify the mobile telecom business as a major growth area and launched services in Delhi in 1995.
With the telecom sector going in for 3G technology,Mittal will remain a major player. His insurance venture,in tie-up with Axa,is also expanding.
25. Deepak Parekh, 64
He is the most consulted person in financial matters. He heads several committees on capital markets and infrastructure and is the prime force behind the housing loan culture in India. The government recently appointed him as a director to put scam-hit Satyam Computers on track.
Parekh was the first from the business community to raise his voice against the Gujarat riots of 2002. Others mustered the courage after Parekhs outburst and there was a wave of protests and condemnation from India Inc.
As a director on the Satyam Computers board,there are great expectations from him. The government,regulators and the corporate world will continue to look at Parekh for new ideas and,of course,fire-fighting.
26. Lakshmi Mittal, 59
The worlds fourth richest man heads the worlds biggest steelmaking company,ArcelorMittal,which has made the first steel columns for Freedom Tower coming up on the site of the WTC twin towers in New York. His neo-Palladian mansion in London is perhaps the most expensive private residence.
Mittal Steels $34-billion hostile takeover of European steel giant Arcelor in 2006 was an epic. Mittal fought cultural jibes and governmental blockades in a battle that lasted months,eventually winning it.
Mittals conquest sent rivals,Japans Nippon Steel and Posco of Korea,into building defences against possible hostile bids. Mittals expansionary urges are no secret but he can resume them only after the financial crisis which has hit ArcelorMittal hard.
27. A.R. Rahman, 43
Rahmans very first soundtrack,for Roja,made it to TIMEs list of top 10 movie soundtracks of all time. And theres no missing his winning streak in 2008: Jodhaa Akbar,Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na,Ghajini and Yuvraaj. Not to forget the biggest cherry on the cake,his Golden Globe for Danny Boyles critically acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire. He also won the Critics Choice Award and a BAFTA award for his score in the movie.
When he got the Golden Globe,he held up the trophy and said,This is for the one billion people of India.
Delhi 6 is already being touted as his next big score. His score for Mani Ratnams Ravana is also keenly anticipated. Hopefully,hell be seen at the Kodak Theatre with the Oscar.