Oscar winning music director AR Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire fame, his Sri Lankan co-performer MIA of the hit O Saya song and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani have made it to the Time’s 100 list of the World’s Most Influential People.
The new list to be published in the May 11 annual Time 100 issue is the pick of the magazine’s editors and may not be confused with the popular choice in TIME.com’s online poll that “just happened to be” won on Monday by “moot – the mysterious 21-year-old creator of the influential Web message board 4chan.or”.
“In our annual TIME 100 issue, we do the impossible: name the people who most affect our world,” said the editors as they relegated moot to the 35th position and instead chose ailing Democratic senator Edward Kennedy for the top spot.
British premier Gordon Brown makes it to the second spot, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the eighth place, Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Kayani is sitting pretty at the 19th position, just a spot ahead of President Barack Obama.
AR Rahman, who gets the 59th position in the editors list, “won two Oscars, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for giving Slumdog Millionaire its frenetic sound”, notes Padma Lakshmi actress, author and the host of Bravo’s Top Chef, in an accompanying piece.
“In India, a country of a billion inhabitants, where film and pop music are one, AR Rahman, 43, dominates the music industry so totally that he has supplied the sound track for a whole generation,” she writes.
“A veritable Pied Piper, he has shaped modern India’s music for more than a decade. Now the ‘Mozart of Madras’ has the world’s foot tapping along with him,” adds Lakshmi, noting the award winning Jai Ho is now the campaign song for India’s Congress Party.
Vikas Swarup, the author of the novel Q&A that became the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, describes Nandan Nilekani, placed 31, “as a middle-class kid from a small town, (who) rose to become a co-founder and co-chairman of Infosys Technologies and a key player in India’s growth story”.
“In a blog post about Slumdog Millionaire, Nandan Nilekani alluded to the film’s valuable subtext – that it doesn’t matter where you come from, only where you are headed,” he writes. “That could serve equally as an epigraph for Nandan’s own life.”
“As the new India, fuelled by its robust democracy and favorable demographics, seeks to make the transition from a developing nation to a developed one, it will need the vision and talent of people like Nandan Nilekani,” Swarup adds.
The great thing about MIA, as Maya Arulpragasam placed 43rd is known, “is that she doesn’t have some global plan”, writes producer director Spike Jonze.
“She just has things she cares about and is interested in, from all over the world… She reacts to whatever is in front of her: ‘Those are booming Indian drums’, ‘That is a dope producer’, ‘Those kids are making sick beats’.”
“And she has great taste. Anyone can hear all this stuff, but to be able to curate it, you have to have taste, and Maya Arulpragasam, 33, has it,” he adds.