The stardom Narendra Modi and Salman Khan enjoy refuses to fade away as they topped the charts as the living role model of the young and Bollywood’s biggest icon, respectively, the Hindustan Times Youth Survey 2017 has revealed. Modi was also chosen the biggest political icon.
In a country where stars are almost worshipped like gods, it was no surprise when Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan took the top four spots in the survey with 18.3%, 15.3%, 13.3% and 13.2%, respectively. Clearly, people like to stick to conventional choices, even if all of them happen to be plus-50 actors.
Surprisingly, though , Kangana Ranaut and Vidya Balan — who featured in the list some years ago —now seem to have dropped out.
In what suggests the youth prefer the ‘star’ value over acting, Nawazuddin Siddiqui or Irrfan are other surprise omissions from choices. “Nawaz is someone who is an icon in his own rights. He has done some hatke films and I’m so impressed that despite not being the conventional good looking hero, he can give any leading actor a run for his money,” says 23-year-old Shagufta Ali, a master’s student.
Prime Minster Narendra Modi retains the highest-rated living role model position for the fifth year in a row, indicating a preference among the youth for influence, power, money and mass appeal. No longer looking for a short cut to make it big, youngsters are keen to explore success stories that are gripping. In comparison, former US president Barak Obama, who also featured in the survey results for three consecutive years, is no longer in the picture. Replacing him are Bill Gates (25.6%), Sundar Pichai (11.10%) and Malala Yousafzai (6.8%) who take up the three spots after Modi.
Some youngsters HT spoke to are divided on the choices. “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the living role model that I look up to. The way he is transforming society only through means of peace and his Art of Living teachings, is commendable. A role model is someone who is doing his bit to bring about a change in the society,” says Tripti Babbar, 22, a postgraduate student.
In 2011, when Hindustan Times launched its annual Youth Survey, Narendra Modi was nowhere in the picture. In 2013, he was voted the top political icon and has not looked back since. Salman Khan, chosen India’s sexiest man from 2011 to 2014, is Bollywood’s top icon in 2017
Sexiest man alive
Sex appeal is a heady mix of appearance and popularity. While Salman Khan defines the term sexy for most of the youth — he has topped four surveys — the last two years have put Ranbir Kapoor as the sexiest man alive, going strong with 32.7% this year. Ranveer follows with 21.6% and Justin Bieber with 9.2%. Surprised by Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham, Ryan Gosling or Tom Cruise not making it to the list, Mrinal Madan, 24, an MA second year student, says, “I think Hrithik Roshan is hot and sexy. He’s got a great body, sex appeal plus he’s so good looking despite being a father to two sons.” Even Prabhas’s name is in the running. “I loved him in the film [Baahubali] and even if he is from South film industry, I find him to be sexier than many of our Bollywood heroes,” says Babbar.
Sexiest woman alive
Her Hollywood stint might have worked wonders for Deepika Padukone, who outpaced five-time favourite Katrina Kaif second year in a row as the sexiest woman alive. With nearly one-third of the youth voting for Padukone this year — same as last year — she successfully left behind international actors. “Deepika is just so hot. The way she acts on screen and carries herself is perfect,” says Ali. While Priyanka Chopra takes the second position at 22.9%, Alia Bhatt has hit the third spot with 22.1%.
Virat Kohli emerged as the top sports icon, dethroning MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar who held the spot for three years in a row each. 29.7% of the youth said Kohli was biggest icon, followed by Roger Federer (13.9%) and PV Sindhu (10.5%). “After Dhoni, it is only Kohli, who has that quality to lead a team and keep everyone united. He is young, full of ideas and someone, who knows how to balance things,” says Madan.
Overlooking the flaws that Indian political system broadly suffers from, India’s youth unanimously chose prime minister Narendra Modi again as their political icon with a dominating percentage of 47.5%. Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi feature in the results with 8.9% and 8.7%. Initially hailed as a game changer, Delhi’s chief minister and the leader of Aam Aadmi Party Arvind Kejriwal settles for third slot with a tie with Mamata Banerjee at 7%.