The winner takes it all

SRK pips Big B as India's favourite entertainer, Dhoni is most popular sportsperson, and Sonia Gandhi has last laugh in year end polls, garnering 35% of votes to become India's favourite political leader

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Published: Tue 1 Jan 2008, 12:20 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:00 PM


Shah Rukh Khan 29%

THE MAN of the millennium has finally finished second best in a poll, but only just. Shah Rukh Khan won the voting for entertainer of the year with 29%, just one percentage point ahead of the Big B's 28%. Akshay Kumar, who has had a string of hits in 2007, was a distant third with 14%.

Shah Rukh led in Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata and Amitabh in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune. Rajinikanth not surprisingly was the clear favourite in Chennai with 40% of the votes.

What clinched the race for the top slot in favour of Shah Rukh was the fact that he had impressive leads in big cities Delhi and Bangalore, while Amitabh led very narrowly in Mumbai and the other cities where he topped were relatively small.

Vidya Balan, who like Akshay has had more than one hit this year, was the top female entertainer and fifth in the overall list behind Rajinikanth. Her 6% was just a touch more than Katrina Kaif's 5%.


Sunita Williams 30%

Lakshmi Mittal became the global czar of steel, Arun Sarin led Vodafone's takeover of Hutch, Bobby Jindal became governor of Louisiana, C K Prahalad was chosen the world's top management guru, but the NRI/PIO who most captured the imagination of urban India was astronaut Sunita Williams.

Sunita won 30% of the votes in this category, followed closely by Mittal with 28%. The rest of the field, which included Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi, Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit, Adobe chief executive Shantanu Narayan, academic Deepak Jain and film director Mira Nair, were left far behind by the two front-runners. Jindal was third, Sarin fourth and Nair fifth, but they all had single digit percentages of the total votes. Interestingly, Mittal was the clear leader in Ahmedabad, despite Sunita's Gujarati roots. He also led in Pune and Hyderabad. Sunita was second in these three cities and led in all the others. The only person to challenge this duopoly in any city was Sarin, who was second in Delhi with 22% of the votes.


M S Dhoni 27%

It was a remarkable year for Indian sports. India won the Twenty20 World Cup, an Indian became the first to hit six sixes in a T20 international, Vishwanathan Anand became world champion for the second time, Sania Mirza reached her highest career ranking, the football team won the Nehru Cup, Dola Banerjee won a gold at the archery World Cup, Jhulan Goswami emerged as the world's fastest woman bowler and so on.

But Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the clear choice for sportsperson of the year, with 27% of the votes. Teammates Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly finished second and third with 23% and 21% respectively, well ahead of fourth-placed Sania with 10%.

Dhoni was the top choice by huge margins in Delhi and Bangalore and a comfortable one in Mumbai, but Yuvraj led in Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad, though only by a bit. Sourav was the choice of almost two-thirds of Kolkatans.

The only persons to figure in the top three in any city apart from these Men in Blue were Anand - third in Mumbai and Bangalore and joint third in Chennai - and Jhulan Goswami, joint No. 1 with Yuvraj in Chennai.


Sonia Gandhi 35%

You might think that given a choice between politicians and social activists or others in public service, middle class India would choose the latter. Think again. In the voting for the politician/public service person of the year, most of the political nominees finished well ahead of any of the social activists.

Sonia Gandhi won hands down with 35%, ahead of Manmohan Singh with 22% and Narendra Modi with 19%. Sonia led in every city except Ahmedabad, where 79% voted for Modi and Hyderabad, where 45% picked him. In Delhi, he was not among the top three, with Mayawati (21%) finishing a close third behind the PM.

Prakash Karat, who has dominated news headlines for several months, was a distant sixth with just 4% voting for him. More significantly, even in Kolkata, only 7% chose him as the politician/public service person of the year.

Social activists or others who have contributed significantly in the field of public service, like R K Pachauri, Jean Dreze and Arvind Kejriwal ended up at the bottom of the charts. But Bangalore doctor Devi Shetty, who provides affordable heart care for the underprivileged, was just ahead of Prakash Karat at No. 5.


Mukesh Ambani 25%

Indian businessmen made waves globally in 2007, so picking one as the businessperson of the year was bound to be a tough choice. The voting confirmed this with the top three separated by just five percentage points. Mukesh Ambani, who is in the race for the richest person in the world, ultimately won top billing with 25%, brother Anil was just a wee bit behind at 23% and Ratan Tata a very close third with 22%.

The divided opinion was reflected in the fact that Mukesh led in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad, Anil in Hyderabad and Tata in Chennai and Kolkata. The only city in which someone else led was Bangalore, where the flamboyant Vijay Mallya topped with Anil Ambani second.

Sunil Mittal of Bharti was third in Ahmedabad and joint third in Kolkata, while DLF's K P Singh was third in Chennai. The contest was closest in Mumbai, where the difference between top-ranked Mukesh and fifth ranked Mittal was just 13%.

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