mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five

Jun 24, 2014, 10:59 IST
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #32 Ankur Garg, 31 and Tarun Jain, 31/co-founders of iFor India
    IF it's not by you, it's not for you," reads the tagline of iFor India, an online platform that asks Indians to take 'ownership' of their country and voice their opinion about various socio-political issues in their respective constituencies, ultimately rating their elected representatives on the basis of work they have done. The brainchild of 30-somethings Ankur Garg and Tarun Jain, the initiative, launched in August last year, is a virtual report card that helps citizens make informed decisions about their respective MPs and MLAs on various parameters including basic needs (such as sanitation and cleanliness, public transport), governance and administration, growth and progress, professional education and reputation. It works on simple logic. One has to register on the website by providing their mobile phone number and once they receive a verification code, proceed to the rating system. Thirty-one-year-old Garg, a former Microsoft employee who shifted to Mumbai from Ghaziabad last year, says the site's objectives are manifold. "We wanted to build a database that would reflect our sentiment and send out a strong message to politicians that they need to focus on their work rather than making promises. Also in the future, we want to tie up with media houses and publish these report cards so that a larger audience is informed about the work of politicians. This will create constructive pressure on leaders." Jain and Garg understand that everyone might not have Internet access. That's why they are in talks to have a mobile app. "In tier-II cities, many people own phones but don't have access to computers. We will soon launch an android app. They will just need to provide their Aadhaar card number for authentication and then access the app. Also, we have launched the volunteer programme where individuals can become volunteers and facilitate in forming local groups that will discuss the rate cards and take them to the MLAs or MPs," Garg says. — Rinky Kumar
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #01 Amit Trivedi/composer, 35
    This 35-year-old musical genius, easily the most exciting talent in Bollywood right now, realised his love for music during his school days and decided to pursue it professionally. He began composing at 19 and was also part of a band, Om. It was the break with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and his movie Dev D that introduced him to Bollwood. Kashyap recommended his name to Raj Kumar Gupta for Aamir, which eventually released before Dev D and the music was an instant hit. But it was Dev D's music that got people to notice this young talent. The film's peppy Emotional Atyachar and O Pardesi came as a refreshing change from the regular Bollywood fare and went on to become anthems. Dev D's music fetched him a National award. Success after success followed: No One Killed Jessica, Wake Up Sid, Udaan, Aisha, English Vinglish, Ishaqzaade, Kai Po Che, Lootera, and his latest offering Queen. Tridevi's music does not seem to be bound by the restrictions of Bollywood stereotypes, and it is for this very reason that he is noted as one of its brightest sparks, especially among youngsters. With more high-profile movies releasing this year, including NH 10, Milan Talkies and Bombay Velvet, Trivedi's star is on the ascendant. – Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #02 Yuvraj Walmiki/hockey player, 23
    Mumbai and India's young hockey hero Yuvraj Walmiki is a rags-to-riches story. Just that he is yet to get rich, thanks to the poor profile of the national game and its players. Walmiki (23) made national headlines with his penalty shootout strike that saw India beat traditional rivals Pakistan to clinch the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy. But his career has been through ups and downs since. He was not picked into the Indian team for the 2012 London Olympics, and only got a lucky opportunity to play the 2014 World Cup after one of the first team members got injured in training. However, a dismal ninth place show from India at The Hague will mean that the wily striker has a point to prove at the upcoming Commonwealth Games (July 23 to August 3) in Glasgow and the Asian Games (Sept 19 to October 4) in Incheon. Indian hockey's future depends on a young, skillful strikers like Walmiki. It is high time the Mumbaikar starts scoring for India again. –Ashwin Ferro
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #03 Rohit Sharma/cricketer, 27
    When Rohit Sharma is in full flow, there isn't a bowling attack which can stop his brilliance. And when the runs dry up, which they do to the best of players he causes cricket lovers to rue, "what a waste of talent." Though Rohit (27) made his limited overs debut in 2007-08, he earned Test colours only last year, when the West Indies came touring. He was an instant hit in the traditional game with two centuries in his first couple of Tests. He could not replicate that performance when he toured South Africa and New Zealand. Those failures notwithstanding, he remains Mumbai's best batsman to watch. The cynics say he appears laidback, but there is not a device to measure body language. His fans believe he takes pride in his performance and is hungry for runs. There is good reason to believe them, but he has miles to go. – Clayton Murzello
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #04 Ajinkya Rahane/cricketer, 26
    A little birdie told us that when Sachin Tendulkar ended his India career at the Wankhede Stadium last November, he took Ajinkya Rahane (26) aside and emphasised that he has plenty in him to become an accomplished player. If this is true, it is great news for Mumbai cricket because, after Tendulkar, the city has not produced a batsman who can claim to be a great one. Doubtless, Rahane can be one and has displayed his prowess in good measure spread over all three formats of the game. From rock solid defence to sizzling strokeplay, Rahane has showed it all. Probably, the best thing going for him now is that the selectors want him to stick to the middle order and not keep him as an opening batsman option. Many a middle order player has been sacrificed on the altar of that position. In Rahane, we repose our faith to enrich Mumbai's batting legacy. – Clayton Murzello
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #05 Rajkummar Rao/actor, 30
    There are stars and then there are actors. Rajkummar Rao clearly falls into the latter category. The 30-year-old National Award winning actor for Hansal Mehta's Shahid is definitely not the conventional hero type, but he has managed to make a place for himself in Bollywood, purely with his talent. He hails from a middle-class family in Gurgaon, Haryana, and he says he wanted to be an actor even during his school days. Once in college, he dabbled in theatre and soon after college, he joined FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) in Pune. For more than a year after graduating from FTII, Rajkummar went around trying to meet the right people, asking for work. His big break came when he responded to a commercial put out by Ekta Kapoor for Love, Sex Aur Dhokha. It wasn't a big role, but Rajkummar's acting prowess was noticed by the people who mattered. Offers started pouring in and soon Rajkummar was a busy actor. Critics say it is his hunger to do unconventional roles that separates him from the rest. Not the one to insist on playing the lead, he has done smaller character roles in films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Chittagong and Talaash. In 2013, he played Govind in Abhishek Kapoor's hit Kai Po Che. His moment of glory came with Shahid, where he played the role of the controversial slain lawyer Shahid Azmi. The national award followed, and with Bollywood producers placing trust in non-chocolate-boy-looks heroes, Rao's future in the industry is brighter than ever. – Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #06 Viren Rasquinha/Olympic talent scout, 33
    From hockey-playing Bandra's bylanes to the captaincy of the Indian team, Viren Rasquinha's rise in Indian hockey was impressive. Rasquinha began his career with the 2001 FIH Junior World Cup title and became the team's midfield mainstay for over half-a-decade thereafter. During this time, he helped India win silver at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, followed by a gold at the 2003 Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur. A gold at the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad followed. Rasquinha represented India at the 2004 Athens Olympics too, but two years later lost his place in the 2006 Asian Games squad. Then, suddenly, at 28, when most athletes peak, Rasquinha (now 33) decided to swap his hockey stick for books and joined the prestigious Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. In 2009 he returned as CEO of Olympic Gold Quest, a non-profit organization to help India's top sportspersons aim for Olympic gold. Wrestler Sushil Kumar, boxer Mary Kom, badminton stars Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are a few of India's sports stars to have benefited from OGQ. An Olympic gold from Rasquinha's OGQ seems close at hand! –Ashwin Ferro
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #07 Sarfaraz Khan/cricketer, 16
    He has already played for India under-19 and could do so for the senior team as well. But that won't change 16-year-old Sarfaraz Khan's tough training methods supervised, even devised by his club cricketer father Naushad. Sarfaraz was the toast of schools cricket in Mumbai ever since he scored 439 for Rizvi Springfield against Indian Education Society in 2009. The Kurla lad hasn't looked back and has scored runs at every level after that to earn his India under-19 cap which he wore with great pride during the last World Cup in Dubai. He's a strongly built right hander who could be rewarded with a Mumbai Ranji Trophy cap if Sandeep Patil & Co are willing to take the risk of blooding him this season. Sarfaraz's nine-year-old brother Musheer is making waves on the local scene with his left-arm spin. – Clayton Murzello
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #08 Arijit Singh/singer, 27
    Arijit Singh, a trained classical singer, comes from Murshidabad in West Bengal, near the Indo-Bangladesh border. He came to Mumbai to take part in the reality show Fame Gurkool and soon after joined composer Preetam's team as an assistant. He later worked with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who gave Singh his first break in one of their albums. Yet, Arijit lived in anonymity till his big chance came when he was offered to sing Tum Hi Ho in Mukesh Bhatt's film, Aashiqui 2. The song became an instant hit and went viral on social media, catapulting Arijit to fame. More hits followed with movies such as Barfi (Phir Le Aaya Dil), Agent Vinod (Raabta), Phata Poster Nikla Hero (Main Rang Sharbaton Ka) and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (Kabira). This soulful singer is now in demand and he usually chooses to sing soft, melodious numbers. – Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #09 Kangna Ranaut/actress, 27
    Kangna Ranaut is a classic example of what talent combined with tremendous self-confidence can bring to the table. The 27-year-old Kangna Ranaut came to Mumbai from small-town Himachal Pradesh with almost no chance of making it in Bollywood. She had no godfather, she had no family connections and her accent made the powers-that-be laugh. Today, she has managed to force the same people to take notice of her with stupendous performances in cult hits such as Life In A Metro, Fashion (for which she won a supporting actress National award), Tanu Weds Manu, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, and most recently, a blockbuster performance in Queen. Even if she had no background in films, Kangna dreamed big. She first moved to Delhi to be a model and subsequently moved to Mumbai to try her hand at acting, much to the chagrin of her parents and other relatives. Kangna refused to take any financial assistance from her father, even when she was struggling to make ends meet while looking for work. She was barely 18 when she made her debut with her first film, Gangster. This curly haired actress dared to play a flawed character of an alcoholic woman and was immediately accepted by the audience but not so much by the film industry. Kangna's next film Woh Lamhe, loosely-based on the life of troubled actress Parveen Babi brought in more accolades. Despite losing her way in between with average roles, Kangna remains a talent to be noticed in 2014 and beyond.– Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #10 Anand Gandhi/writer and director, 34
    Anand Gandhi struck gold with his critically-acclaimed film, The Ship of Theseus, but he has had a long journey before he reached that point. His writing career started in 2000 when as a 20-year-old, he started making money by writing screenplay and dialogues for Ekta Kapoor's TV soaps, Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. Soon, he moved away from TV soaps (he has since then spoken against the aesthetic quality of those soaps) to write plays. The plays he wrote, mostly in Gujarati were Sugandhi, Pratyancha, Kshanostav, Janashatru and the commercial hit, Chal Reverse Ma Jaiye. In 2003 he made a short film, Right Here, Right Now, which received quite a bit of acclaim. Three years later he made another short, Continuum. His first feature film, The Ship of Theseus, came in 2012 when he was in a hospital nursing his grandfather. Equipped with the script, he made the rounds of several producers before one of the actors of his film, Sohum Shah, offered to produce the film. The result was a powerful, deeply impactful film that went on to win accolades and awards. –Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #11 Ritesh Batra/filmmaker, 35
    A Bandra boy, Ritesh Batra had no film background, but a passion and fascination for filmmaking. Was it this that made him direct last year's sleeper hit The Lunchbox? Perhaps, but there is a back story to his entry into films. He enrolled for a film programme at New York University, but soon dropped out. He studied economics, instead, and even started working. But like a magnet, films pulled him back, and he would enroll in a film school soon. He started with writing and directing short films like Café Regularo Cairo, Gareeb Nawaz's Tax and The Morning Ritual. His shorts made it to the film festival circuit and he got the much-elusive applause and encouragement. While planning a documentary on Mumbai's famous dabbawalas, he struck upon the story idea for The Lunchbox. Producer Anurag Kashyap liked the script and decided to back it. Thus Batra's debut feature film The Lunchbox had an eclectic mix of actors like Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and debutant Nimrat Kaur. It was an instant hit on the festival circuit, and was talked about even before its release in India. In Batra, Bollywood has another unconventional talent to look up to. –Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #12 Heena Sidhu/shooter, 24
    INDIA boasts of four Olympic medals in shooting. However, not even one of them has been bagged by a woman. Mumbai-based Heena Sidhu has emerged as the likeliest candidate to change that fact, come 2016. The 24-year-old, currently ranked No 1 in the Women's 10m air pistol rankings, won a historic gold medal in the 2013 ISSF World Cup Final, thanks to a world record score of 203.8 in the final. Sidhu, who clinched a gold medal in the Asian Air Gun Championship at Kuwait and a silver medal in the ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup in USA in March this year, has always been among the medals. Back in 2010, Sidhu won a gold medal and a silver at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and a silver medal at the Guangzhou Asian Games. 2014 will see Sidhu compete for the top honours in three World Cups, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Incheon Asian Games and the World Championships. –Amit Kamath
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #13 Narsingh Yadav/wrestler, 24
    AT a time when Sonepat and Chhatrasal Stadium are considered as the nerve-centres for wrestling, Narsingh Yadav put Mumbai on the wrestling map of India after winning the gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, in the 74kg category. The son of milk distributor from Jogeshwari, Yadav was the only athlete from Mumbai to compete at the London Olympics in 2012. While that campaign ended in defeat in the first round itself against Canada's Matt Gentry, by virtue of entering the tournament itself, Yadav became the first wrestler from Maharashtra to qualify for the Olympics in the last 40 years. While the 24-year-old is not a part of the Indian team for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, he will hope to make a comeback into the team in time for the Asian Games at Incheon later this year. –Amit Kamath
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #14 Ojas Adhiya/tabla player, 26
    AT 26, Ojas Adhiya is being recognised as one of the most promising tabla players on the music scene. His father, of course, noticed his interest in percussion when Ojas was only two, and three years later, he began learning from Mridangraj, a close family friend of late music director Kalyanji. In 1993, the child prodigy was recognised by the Limca Book of Records as the youngest tabla player in India, when he was five. Later, he was part of Kalyanji-Anandji's Little Wonders series, doing over 500 stage shows with them. Today, he has accompanied many top-notch artistes, including santoor maestro Pt Shivkumar Sharma, flautist Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, vocalists Parveen Sultana, Ajay Pohankar and Rashid Khan, sitar maestro Rais Khan and violinist N Rajam. Besides classical musicians, he has played with ghazal artistes like Hariharan and Talat Aziz, and percussionists Vikku Vinayakram and Sivamani. One has been seeing Ojas perform on stage for quite a few years. Clearly, he is set to carry the tradition forward. –Narendra Kusnur
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #15 Sandeep Tulsi Yadav/wrestler, 26
    MUMBAI's Sandeep Tulsi Yadav returned home with a bronze medal from the Budapest World Championships in 2013. After being beaten by South Korea's Han-Su Ryu in the quarter-finals in Budapest, Yadav won both his repechage bouts to introduce Greco-Roman wrestling into the vocabulary of sports lovers in India. The 26-year-old, who trains at Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Kandivli campus, is now targeting glory at the Incheon Asian Games later this year. –Amit Kamath
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #16 Mohini Dey/bass player, 17
    ONE of the most dazzling bassists in India, Mohini Dey is only 17 years old. And like most child prodigies, she began doing concerts and recordings at the age of 10. Among her many achievements, she's performed with tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, composer A R Rahman, keyboardist Louis Banks, drummer Ranjit Barot and American guitar wizard Mike Stern. The daughter of well-known bass player Sujoy Dey, Mohini became fascinated with the instrument when she was three. She would see her father playing, and soon began learning from him. When she was 11, she began playing with Ranjit Barot, and there's been no looking back ever since. Like most young musicians, Mohini had to maintain a balance between her music schedules and her studies. But her aim was to be as versatile as possible, and she thus played with musicians from the jazz, funk, blues, fusion, Hindustani classical and Carnatic streams. Her experience with Louis Banks's band Ganga Shakti gave her fresh exposure. Mohini is currently working on her album. That will be worth checking out. — Narendra Kusnur
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #17 Aditya Mehta/snooker player, 28
    MUMBAI'S Aditya Mehta first announced himself to the nation after being a part of the bronze medal-clinching Indian team at the Doha Asian Games in 2006. A gold medal in the team event at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games followed. In the next year, Mehta tasted individual glory by becoming the first Indian to win an individual snooker medal (bronze) at the Asian Games. Mehta was also on the silver medal-winning Indian team at the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad. The cueist, who turned pro in 2008, then took the cue-sports world by storm after defeating much favoured compatriot Pankaj Advani 7-5 in the 2012 Asian Snooker Championship at Doha. That year also saw him being conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award. Unbelievably, 2013 was even more fruitful for Mehta as he won the World Games gold medal at Cali, Colombia besides an individual bronze and a team silver at the 2013 Asian Indoor Games at Incheon. Not for nothing is Mehta considered as the best in the business by snooker legend Yasin Merchant. — Amit Kamath
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #18 Tanvi Lad/badminton player, 21
    MUMBAI'S Tanvi Lad may only be 21 years old but she has the fire in her belly to cause a few upsets. She recently stunned much-fancied Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland in the Japan Open Super Series badminton earlier this month. The World No 61 also sent opponents like junior national champion Rituparna Das and Arundhati Pantawane packing enroute to winning the All-India Ranking Badminton Tournament in February this year. The year, has been a successful one for Tanvi, who was a part of the historic bronze medal-winning Indian team at the Uber Cup in New Delhi. The badminton ace, who plays for Air India, had endured a heartbreaking loss to Beiwen Zhang in the final of the 2013 Swiss International tournament. However, she made up for that loss by romping to the Bahrain International Challenge title later that year. She was also given the best junior sportswoman award by the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) last year. Going by her talent, it won't be her last major honour. — Amit Kamath
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #19 Shreya Ghoshal/singer, 30
    This brilliant 30-year-old playback singer has already sung close to 1,500 songs in about 12 Indian languages. Shreya's career as a background singer began when she won the reality TV show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and was noticed by film makers. The story goes that film maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali's mother was watching the show and she was so impressed by her talent that she requested her son to take her on in one of his films. Bhansali managed to track her down and that is how then 16-year-old Shreya was signed for her debut film in Bhansali's Devdas which won her the National Award, apart from many other accolades. Fourteen years later Shreya is one of the few singers who can boast of having sung for almost every music composer (nearly 70 so far) in the industry. Her amazing range and her ability to sing a variety of emotions has got her innumerable awards. Some iconic songs like Bairi Piya… from Devdas, O Saathi re… from Omkara, Pal Pal Har Pal from Lage Raho Munnabhai have been the highlights of her career. An interesting sidelight about her career is that Governor Ted Strickland of the American state of Ohio was so impressed with her concert that he declared June 26 as Shreya Ghoshal Day. Now that is something that no other singer in India can boast of. - Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #20 Deepika Padukone/actor, 28
    DEEPIKA PADUKONE comes from a family that is completely alien to Bollywood. Born in the Danish capital of Copenhagen and brought up in Bangalore, Deepika may have dreamed being part of Bollywood, but had no idea how to go about realising that dream. She got her first break in 2007 with Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om. Critics were bowled over by her beauty and poise, but did not give her many marks for acting. To her credit, Deepika has walked miles in the acting department since then. Imtiyaz Ali's Love Aaj Kal gave her a fabulous platform to display her enhanced acting skill. Though she has been panned by some well-wishers and critics for choosing some remarkably bad scripts, Deepika bounced back with brilliant performances in Cocktail (2012) and Yeh Jawani Yeh Diwani (2013). The biggest surprise was a masala film Chennai Express in 2013 where her comic timing made her the darling of the masses. The same year, her role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Ram Leela was another winner. Deepika had arrived; both as a critically-appreciated actor as well as a crowd-puller. — Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #21 Kapil Sharma/comedian, 33
    IN a country where stand-up comedians are not taken seriously, Kapil Sharma has struggled hard to make a name. His unbelievable journey from a "nobody" to one of the most-loved (and most-recognised) television celebrities could be material for a movie. Five years ago, Sharma, then absolutely unknown, participated in a TV reality show called The Great Indian Laughter Challenge' as a contestant. His quick wit and flair for comedy made him stand out among other contestants and he was approached for another TV show Comedy Circus, yet again as a contestant. Since then, Sharma has not looked back, and it was not long before he was offered his own TV show, the remarkably successful Comedy Nights With Kapil. The show is one of Indian television's highest rated prime time offerings, and some of the biggest names in Bollywood queue up to appear on it. Riding the wave, Sharma has moved on to the big screen with a three film deal with Yashraj Films. — Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #22 Kalki Koechlin/actor, writer, poet and activist, 30
    WITH her waif-like figure and porcelain skin, actor Kalki Koechlin looks docile. But her delicate features belie her steely resolve. The unconventional actor, is a writer, poet and a theatre artiste. She is one of the few Indian actors who speaks her mind about women's issues. Last year, she showed a dynamic aspect of her personality when she appeared in a You Tube video called It's Your fault, an Anti-rape campaign, which spoke about different dimensions of a rape victim's life. Earlier this year, she gave a 16-minute monologue titled, 'Truths of Womanhood' about how women feel staying in a patriarchal society and being subjected to sexual, physical and mental abuse by men. Later, in one of her interviews she admitted that she was sexually abused as a child. She spoke about it to raise awareness about child sexual abuse and how a majority of women face this crime. — Rinky Kumar
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #23 Simin Patel/founder, Bombaywalla blog, author of a forthcoming book on Mumbai's Irani cafes, 29
    MUMBAI'S colonial architecture and culture finds a new historian of sorts in 29-year-old Simin Patel. The SoBo resident is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Oxford. In April 2013, Patel started a blog, Bombaywalla (.org), which documents the city's magnificent but crumbling heritage architecture. Now, she has bagged a book deal from Roli books to work on a book on Mumbai's Irani cafes with city-based photographer, Hashim Badani. Bombaywalla is filled with rare photographs of the city's colonial architecture, fascinating trivia on both hidden and popular structures, typography and other architectural details. Patel's forthcoming book on Irani cafes hopes to fill the gaping hole in the documentation of these cultural icons of the city. — Kareena Gianani
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #24 Ranbir Kapoor/actor, 32
    AT 32, Ranbir Kapoor has been part of the industry for eight years, and even though he entered as the son of yesteryear superstars Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, it is by sheer dint of talent that he has made it to the top. After a much talked about debut in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya (mostly because of that one scene where he drops the towel and is almost nude), Ranbir went on to score in movie after movie. Saawariya was a dud, but his Kapoor charm earned him millions of female fans. His next movie Bachna Ae Haseeno was a superhit. As were most of the movies that followed, including Wake Up Sid, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, and the likes. It is Ranbir's ability to pick the right scripts that put him ahead of the rest; even those that have star power behind them. It took an out of the box director like Imtiyaz Ali to give Ranbir a true platform for his talent with Rockstar, perhaps the most intense Bollywood film of 2011. The next year, he played a deaf-mute person in Barfi, a role that strengthened his position as one of the top actors in the industry. He followed it up in 2013 with Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, one of the year's biggest box-office successes. Ranbir continues to be choosy about his scripts, and it is this skill that might keep him right up there. — Shubha Shetty-Saha
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #25 Rhys Sebastian D’Souza/saxophonist, 25
    A phenomenally gifted saxophonist, Rhys Sebastian D'Souza began singing at the age of three, and then shifted to the piano, before moving on to the clarinet, playing at Not Just Jazz By the Bay when he was 13. The saxophone came in only at the age of 16, when his grandmother gifted him one. The son of renowned pianist Merlin D'Souza, 25-year-old Rhys loved the saxophone so much that he began learning from the great Joe Pereira aka Jazzy Joe, who had earlier mentored his clarinet playing. Rhys plays both tenor and alto saxophones, and is comfortable on stage as well as studio. To add a feather to his cap, he was also part of the stage musical 'Jazz' as an actor and musician, along with actor Bugs Bhargava Krishna. Earlier this month, he fulfilled a dream by playing in New Orleans, the cradle of jazz, along with veteran musician John Boutte. With his technique and amazing sense of melody, Rhys is surely someone to watch out for. — Narendra Kusnur
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #26 Pooja Gaitonde/ghazal singer, 21
    AT a time when not many youngsters are entering the field of ghazals, Pooja Gaitonde's voice comes as a breath of fresh air. The 21-year-old singer is clearly establishing herself as someone who will take ghazals to the next era. Pooja has learnt from a variety of senior artistes, including vocalist Pandit S C R Bhatt, Raja Upasini and Suniti Gangoli. She has taken guidance in harmonium playing from the great Pt Tulsidas Borkar, in Urdu diction from well-known personalities Ibrahim Durvesh and Javed Ahmed Sakhi, and in ghazals and light music from the likes of Talat Aziz, Rajkumar Rizvi, Kuldeep Singh and Dhanashree Pandit-Rai. Besides various shows at Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre, Karnataka Sangha, St Xavier's and Bhavan's Cultural Centre, one of the major highlights of her career has been her appearance at Khazana, the festival organised by Pankaj Udhas and featuring the cream of India's ghazal singers. Among those who have praised her talent is the late Jagjit Singh. Now, that's something. — Narendra Kusnur
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #27 Rithika Ramesh/vegan baker, 29
    RITHIKA Ramesh, 29, studied filmmaking and worked on a few films only to find that her real calling was not behind the camera, but, in front of the oven. With no prior training she set out to start India's first and currently Mumbai's only all vegan bakery, The Green Stove, from her home in Thane. This Mass Media student has been whipping up baked vegan goodies since 2012, when she launched this unique concept, which was nascent in India, and still seems to be finding its feet in our city's eating spaces. She believes that Indian and South Asian cuisines are the easiest to adopt for a vegan and all it takes is knocking out jaggery, ghee and oil to set one on the right track. From wedding cakes, to goodies for canines, Rithika has experimented in all kinds of vegan culinary exploits. She wrote an e-book, the Mumbai chapter of Vegan City Guides, which she is currently updating. Rithika dabbles in photography, writes about food in between orders and has also worked on a Marathi film, Bhatukali, as an associate producer, which released in June 2014. - Fiona Fernandez
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #28 Poonam Mahajan/politician, 33
    IT originally wasn't her destiny. After her father Pramod Mahajan's death, the one to take forward his legacy was supposed to be her brother Rahul. But events, mostly beyond her control, led her to join the BJP. Poonam Mahajan, 33, is a trained pilot, and was recently elected Member of Parliament from the Mumbai North-Central constituency defeating Congress rival Priya Dutt by a record margin of 1.87 lakh votes. This is the same Poonam who was denied a ticket by the BJP, and later allegedly offered an assembly constituency that the party was sure to lose. History sort of repeated when the BJP asked her to fight the Mumbai North Central seat against a strongly entrenched Dutt. But then, the so-called Narendra Modi wave, combined with Poonam's non-stop campaigning paid off. With a declared net worth of R 100 crore, Poonam was the richest candidate from Mumbai. Poonam has two children, a son and daughter. She studied in a Marathi medium school, and was known for being "boyish" for which she had to face criticism while she grew up, from conservative elements within the political fraternity. She was the national vice president of the party's youth wing when Nitin Gadkari was the party chief, and in 2013, was promoted as the national secretary. After her defeat in 2009, to get a seat in Lok Sabha and win with a record number of votes, she did prove that she's a phoenix rising from the ashes. — Varun Singh
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #29 Azeer Attari/bio-architect, 28
    BANDRA-BASED bio-architect Azeer Attari has been part of the Warriors Without Weapons community since he attended the one-month intensive programme in Brazil in 2011. He has since worked with his fellow Indian 'warriors' Rachana Radhakrishna, Vishal Singh Dhaybhai and Areen Attari in a number of rural communities across the country applying the Elos philosophy, which aims at creating the best world possible by focussing on beauty and abundance. The idea is to figure out a community's larger dream by playing what they call Oasis Games. Azeer, was tremendously inspired by the philosophy after meeting with WWW co-founder Edgard Gouveia Jr during his trip to Brazil. For this young talent, superlative design and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. — Moeena Halim
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #30 Masaba Gupta/fashion designer, 25
    MASABA Gupta, daughter of cricket legend Vivian Richards and actor Neena Gupta first came into the spotlight when she presented a collection of extremely wearable outfits at the Gen Next segment of Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai in 2009. Her 'fun' prints became her trademark and local markets, from Chandni Chowk's bazaars to Colaba Causeway were flooded with copies of her prints. Soon, many young designers followed suit by creating collections inspired by her funky prints, believing that this represented the 'it' mantra for quick success. Fashion house Satya Paul, (which is older than Gupta!) appointed her as the fashion director of the empire. Since then, she has managed both labels with élan. — Dhara Vora
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #31 Guneet Monga/film producer, 30
    YOUR average Bollywood producers are driven by commercial viability rather than creative excellence. Another driving factor is the starcast, the bigger the star, the more willing the producer will be to shell out big bucks. Guneet Monga, is an exception to the norm. Monga, who's a producer and CEO at Sikhya Entertainment and Anurag Kashyap Films Private Limited, invested money and faith in movies such as The Lunchbox and Peddlers, neither of which boasted of big stars or conventional storytelling. Both films went on to receive critical acclaim as well as numerous awards. Monga has managed to make international players sit up and take notice of her, with Hollywood Reporter naming her as one of the "most prolific producers of a new wave of cinema' as well as placing her in their '12 international players to watch out for'. Born and brought up in a Punjabi household in Delhi, Monga's journey to films and fame started with working as an intern. Later, she worked with director Anurag Kashyap on acclaimed projects such as Gangs of Wasseypur. In the pipeline are international ventures such as partnering with producer Karen Tenkhoff of The Motorcyle Diaries, a Hindi remake of The Intouchables with Karan Johar and an international co-production with filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan. She recently told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview, "It is the best time to be in India and to work out of India." — Deepali Dhingra
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #33 Zeeshan Mirza, 26 and Rajesh Sanap, 27/ecologists
    BORN in the Marol Police Camp area in Andheri (E) which shares its border with Aarey Milk Colony, Zeeshan Mirza and Rajesh Sanap began their love affair with nature when in school. The pair would visit Aarey Colony almost every day. They developed an innate ability to observe, track down and study the habitat of reptiles, insects and other fauna in the bio-diverse area. Almost 20 years later, their adventures into the area have meant that the two friends have authored a definitive biodiversity report on the Aarey Milk Colony so that it can be preserved as the city's primary green lung, and assist the government in policy making. Their fear is that Mumbai may lose the Aarey forest to illegal encroachment and rampant urbanisation and they do have a basis for this fear, given how open space is eaten up in the city. So detailed is the Aarey Biodiversity Report that it received the prestigious 'Srushti Mitra' award of the state government, and Mirza was awarded the "Young Naturalist Award by Sanctuary Asia-Royal Bank of Scotland. The friends are now research associates at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. — Ranjeet Jadhav
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #34 Jonita Gandhi/singer, 24
    ALL I wanna do is sing... just a girl following my dreams", says Jonita Gandhi's Twitter status. Well, singing sure has brought this young singer close to her dreams. The 24-year-old Canada-born singer who has made Mumbai her base, became a singing sensation on YouTube, and managed to make music composers sit up and take notice. And not just any music composer. The Mozart of Madras, A R Rahman himself has been praising Gandhi in his interviews, no mean feat to achieve. Gandhi, who features in Rahman's album Raunaq, made her Bollywood debut with the title song of Chennai Express and then went on to sing for Highway and Kochaiidayan. Her most recent offering, Maloom from Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, is creating waves as well. When we asked Gandhi how she feels about starting her career with movies starring superstars such as Shah Rukh Khan (Chennai Express) and Rajinikanth (Kochaiidayan), her reply was simple. "I feel proud to have my voice in movies with such epic superstars. More than the actors, however, I'm interested in doing quality work and singing really great songs," she told us. Well, with an approach like this, this young songstress is sure to go a long way. — Deepali Dhingra
  • mid-day's 35th anniversary special: 35 achievers under thirty five
    #35 Saloni Shukla/theatre person
    SALONI Shukla's love affair with theatre and films has seen her grabbing visibility in the city for both these endeavours. Formally trained as a cinematographer, filmmaker and digital editor in the city along with New York and Singapore, the 28-year-old Shukla is known for her technical acumen in the field. The reason behind her foray into theatre is most unique as while making films, she "kept wondering how does one extract the best possible performance (from an actor) under any given circumstances," in this young director's words. Shukla ventured on to stage by doing backstage in the children's play Peter Pan. Her work in production has been for plays like The Bureaucrat and The Glass Menagerie. She has associated with prestigious theatre companies such as Ak Various and Rage.She attributes her rise in the field of stage lights to Aadhar Khurana "who let me be a part of his play after much pestering," she jokes. There are several city theatre personalities that she admires including Rajit Kapur, Akarsh Khurana and Hidayat Sami. Having just launched her production company Verite Theatre Production, she has just produced her first play, Clue. — Kanika Sharma
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About The Gallery

From entrepreneurs to artistes, these under-35s are making the world sit up and take notice as they forge ahead on the career path of their choice. Here's a look...


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