Sadiq Saleem
"From Parveen Babi to Priyanka Chopra, Instep takes a walk through the archives of Time magazine and digs out the other Bollywood faces that once graced the iconic covers."

India’s latest export Priyanka Chopra, who has been making waves internationally with her TV show Quantico and her upcoming film, Baywatch has made it to the cover of Time magazine. The magazine, in its May edition, counts her among the “Top 100 Influential” people in the world alongside Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Zuckerberg, Sania Mirza and Adele.

Time, the first weekly news magazine is a milestone in print media created in 1923 by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce, and its special issues have always made news. The contribution of the person is perceived to be enormous if he or she has made it to Time’s list of the most influential people; whether it is Malala Yousafzai or the Pope, Time’s covers have a lasting legacy.

However, this time around, the magazine has come up with six different covers instead of taking the responsibility of shortlisting that one person from the long list. Time will hit the stands with seven prominent faces featured on the covers. They include Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicki Minaj, Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, International Monetary Fund managing director Christina Lagarde and Priyanka Chopra.

As soon as Priyanka shared this news on Twitter, congratulatory notes and wishes poured in on social media and from stars as big as Dwayne Johnson. But the news also raised some eye brows. The local press in India and some foreign publications have raised concern over the magazine’s choice and have openly questioned just how influential Priyanka really is? Is she really influential to grace the cover? But looking at the attention bestowed on Priyanka from all corners of the globe, the appreciation certainly outweighs the criticism.

That said Priyanka is not the only Bollywood face to have made it to the cover of Time magazine. Over the years, the magazine has honoured several prominent stars from the galaxy of Bollywood.

We at Instep thought to dig through the magazine’s archives to bring out the other Bollywood cover stars.

Parveen Babi

She defied Hindi film norms by playing characters that not only drank and smoked openly but also indulged in pre-marital relationships. She was a free spirit. She made it to the cover of the Europe edition of the magazine on July 19, 1976. The cover story was titled ‘Asia’s Frenetic Film Scene’. Late Parveen was the first and the youngest Indian star to be featured on the cover of Time at the age of just 27.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan featured on the Asia cover in 2003 leading the headline ‘The new face of Film’. In order to pay tribute to this iconic beauty, Time drafted a flattering prologue which goes like this: “Aishwarya Rai gets the sort of web adulation that even Britney Spears might envy. The 17,000 sites in her honor include poetry sites, a Hindu shrine site, even a site dedicated to her eyes. For billions more, from Kabul to Kuala Lumpur, ‘Ash’ is the most recognized female face in Bollywood, the Indian film industry.”

Ash in her interview shared how legends like Robert de Nero and Mike Leigh wanted to work with her but she just did not have the time.

Shah Rukh Khan

The man who made his debut on the small screen in 1988 with a television serial called Fauji went on to become the world’s richest and most loved celebrity. Girls, women and seniors, all go crazy when he opens his arm wide in his signature style. His fandom surpasses geographical boundaries.  Forget humans, a flower has been named after him in Singapore. Time tried to crack the phenomena known as Shah Rukh Khan in their Asian issue of 2004 where they had listed Asian Heroes “20 under 40”.  He was the first male actor to have featured on the magazine cover.

Aamir Khan

Amir Khan happens to be the only actor who was featured on the cover of Time magazine, twice. He was first placed on the cover in the year 2012 when his talk show Satyamev Jayate paved way for responsible television projects.

Khan featured in the Asian edition of the magazine that labeled him the ‘first superstar activist’ who is trying to fight the evils of the Indian society. The headline read ‘Khan’s Quest’ which had a question: “He’s breaking the Bollywood mold by tackling India’s Social evils. Can one actor change a nation?” In 2013, he appeared on the cover again but this time as one of the 100 most influential people.

Courtesy: Instep (The News International)

Sadiq Saleem is a UAE based entertainment journalist. He is also an Instep correspondent and can be contacted on his page fb/sidsaidso.

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