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Sachin, Amitabh among billionaires

By H S Rao in London
March 26, 2003 19:24 IST
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Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan have joined India's Top 20 Billionaire's Club, according to a new report.

The wealth of Tendulkar and Bachchan has been estimated at Rs 2 billion each, according to Success 2003, a report by Britain's Eastern Eye released in London on Tuesday night.

Information technology chiefs dominated the list with Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, whose wealth has been estimated at Rs 176 billion, heading it.

Shiv Nadar, Chairman of HCL Technologies is second with wealth of Rs 69 billion followed by Anil and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries Ltd. Their wealth has been put at Rs 50 billion. 

Infosys Chairman N R Narayana Murthy is fourth with a wealth of Rs 47 billion. The Hinduja family is at the ninth position with wealth of Rs 18 billion.

There are three women in India's top 20 - Thermax CEO Anu Aga, HSBC Chairperson Naina Lal Kidwai and herbal 'czarina' Shahnaz Husain.

Tendulkar's rise from humble beginnings to where he is today was documented by the report.

"Tendulkar comes from a lower middle class Maharashtrian family, studied in a Marathi school and lived in a community 'chawl' in Bandra (East), a suburb in Mumbai," it said.

"Not only is Tendulkar talented on the field, he has also been smart off it," said advertising expert Prahlad Kakkar, who has directed several advertisements featuring the cricketer.

"Tendulkar has handled his advertising portfolio very smartly, in the process making himself one of the richest Indians around," Kakkar added.

The cricketer has now diversified into his other passion, food, starting his own restaurant called Tendulkar's in Mumbai. He plans to open a string of eateries, the report said.

According to it, Amitabh Bachchan's entry into the Billionaire Club has surprised everyone. Just five years ago, Bachchan was struggling under huge debt because of the colossal losses incurred by his company, Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited.

A 'hands-off owner,' the superstar left the running of his dream venture in the hands of professional managers who ripped him off, the report said.

Even, Prateeksha, his bungalow in Juhu, was sealed by the banks to whom he owed money.

"From being in a debt trap, where I thought there is no way out, to being considered as one of the richest men in India, it's been a long journey," Bachchan said.

"If this struggle has taught me the value of money, it has also taught me how even the best of friends desert you in extreme crisis, and how important family is," he said.

The three women in the Billionaire Club stand out for their contribution to the business field they have excelled in, the report said.

Anu Aga inherited an ailing, decaying business from her husband Rohinton. She not only got rid of the loss making units but brought in professional managers to handle the show.

In five short years, she has turned Thermax around completely.

Beauty and herbal 'czarina' Shahnaz Husain is the first generation women entrepreneur in her family.

"I was married at the age of 14," she said. But she had inherited a love and knowledge of herbals and ayurvedic products from her grandfather.

What was just a humble beginning in Delhi, now stretches to over 138 countries, she added proudly.

Investment banker and chairwoman of HSBC, Naina Lal Kidwai, is the first Indian woman to graduate from the Harvard Business School.

Kidwai has established herself as one of India's best bankers and is a shrewd negotiator with a talent for anticipating new sectors of growth, the report said.

Despite lucrative offer from abroad, Kidwai says she has no plans to leave India. "In the US, I may have brokered bigger deals, but here, it's much more at the cutting edge of reform, the ability to influence, to shape," she said.

India's top 20 billionaires:

  • Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro, Bangalore (Rs 176 billion);
  • Shiv Nadar, Chairman, HCL Technologies, New Delhi (Rs 69 billion);
  • Anil and Mukesh Ambani, Reliance, Mumbai (Rs 50 billion);
  • N R Narayana Murthy, Chairman, Infosys, Bangalore (Rs 47 billion);
  • Malvinder Singh and Shivender Singh, Ranbaxy, Mumbai (Rs 33 billion);
  • Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto, Pune (Rs 25 billion);
  • Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Essel Group, Mumbai (Rs 22 billion);¬†
  • Kumarmangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group, Mumbai (Rs 21 billion);
  • Hinduja Family, Hinduja Group, currently based in Mumbai (Rs 18 billion);
  • R C Burman, Chairman, Dabur India, Delhi (Rs 18 billion);
  • B Ramalinga Raju, Chairman, Satyam Computer,¬†Secunderabad (Rs 15 billion);
  • Vijay Mallya, Chairman, U B Group, Mumbai and Bangalore (Rs 6 billion);
  • Gautam Singhania, Chairman, Raymonds, Mumbai (Rs 6 billion);
  • Shahnaz Hussain, Chairperson, Hussain Herbals, Delhi (Rs 4 billion);
  • Niranjan Hiranandani, Chairman, Hiranandani Constructions, Mumbai (Rs 4 billion);
  • Anu Aga, Chairperson, Thermax, Pune (Rs 3 billion);
  • Amitabh Bachchan, films, Mumbai, (Rs 2 billion);
  • Sachin Tendulkar, cricketer, Mumbai (Rs 2 billion);
  • Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairperson, HSBC, Mumbai (Rs 1.7 billion), and
  • Shapoorji Pallonji, Chairman, Shapoorji Pallonji Constructions (Rs 1 billion).
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