Anjan Das
Anjan Das
If you believe in something, follow your conscience!

The Forbes India Celebrity 100 is in its third year and we have 5 faces gracing our covers this year. For the first time since we began drawing up the list, Shah Rukh Khan has been unseated from the top slot by his friend and peer Salman Khan, who’s on the first cover of the issue. Our 5-cover special also includes (in order of their ranks) Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ranveer Singh and Sania Mirza.


It took us intense planning and strategising to execute the shoots of these 5 A-listers. Like last year, top fashion photographer Colston Julian collaborated with us for four of the cover shoots. Forbes India Photo Editor Vikas Khot shot the Sania Mirza cover. We also roped in celebrity stylist Antara Motiwala to create looks that are exclusive for Forbes India, which is essentially a business magazine. We decided on sharp portraits of the stars. Antara opted for bespoke styling and allowed the subjects to be their natural self.

Salman was at ease and sported a faint smile. Akshay’s salt-and-pepper stubble resembled George Clooney’s. Hrithik was sharp and intense with perfectly groomed hair. Ranveer was his usual quirky self but sported the look of an undercover agent for the cover shot. And last but not the least, Sania looked classy and confident in her striking yellow outfit.

Forbes has always been known for its portraitures. The look of the who’s who matters. And it was no different this time. Here’s a video of the making of the Celebrity 100 covers.


The shoots were not only exciting but also fulfilling. There were smiling faces all around. And the very special 5-cover edition, the result of many weeks of tireless work put in by the design and editorial teams at Forbes India, brings you detailed profiles, interviews, snapshots and inforgraphics on the country’s biggest stars.

We present you one of our key annual issues  – the 2014 Forbes India Celebrity 100. And sincerely hope that you enjoy browsing it as much as we did putting it together.

Happy Reading!

It’s that time of the year again. The Forbes India Celebrity 100 Special is ready to hit stands and here’s a sneak peek of what went into the creation of this flagship issue.

V5_I27_Forbes India Cover_Final.inddLike last year, when we debuted with the Celeb List, the Forbes India team had to address the big question of who would grace this year’s cover. A lengthy selection and elimination process followed. We glanced at our categories. We checked who stood where. And it boiled down to two choices: Amitabh Bachchan OR Virat Kohli.

Mr. Bachchan, the evergreen legend of Indian cinema, is among the country’s most enduring celebs. This year he reported the highest increase in earnings among the Top 10 celebs on our list. Kohli, on the other hand, is the bold new face of Indian cricket and has already achieved much in his short career. This year he climbed two spots up to No. 7 on the list.

Both interesting choices influenced by the twin religions—Bollywood and cricket—of our country.

Young turk Kohli eventually emerged as ‘the face’ for the cover. His fantastic run in the last one year, his aggressive personality that has made him a marketer’s delight, and his achievements that inspire a generation of youth made him a worthy successor to Shah Rukh Khan on the cover of the Forbes India Celebrity 100 issue.

Leading fashion photographer Colston Julian was roped in for the cover shoot. [His body of work can be viewed at] Colston and I decided on a dynamic portrait of Kohli. We opted for bespoke styling and allowed his body language to do the talking. Kohli brought along his exclusive Tom Ford suit, which he claimed was his “best-fitting suit that needed no alterations” and among his most precious possessions. He teamed it up with an elegant white Gucci shirt that worked well for our cover.

Scroll down for snapshots of the Kohli photo shoot.






This Celeb Special edition is packed with profiles, interviews, stories, info graphics and pictures of India’s top celebrities. Our design team worked tirelessly to create multiple templates and layouts to best bring out all the elements. And the result is for you to see. As always, we look forward to your precious feedback.

It was challenging to create the cover for Celebrity 100 Issue on a business platform. How will the issue shape up? Will there be a bling factor to it? Will the colour palette be different from a conventional business fortnightly? Will there be a scope for breaking the usual mould by tweaking the template? Well, we kickstarted the design and visualisation process by keeping in mind all these questions. The aim was to create a dynamic identity, the “Celebrity 100” logo that was used across print and web which went through a series of design changes…. and then the tedious process of developing the templates, choosing the right fonts and an entire colour palate for the magazine…..Phew!!!! But the final result was astonishing.

Between all these, it was still undecided who would grace our first ever Celebrity 100 cover. A lengthy process of selecting that best face from the list of categories was on. In the end, it was a toss-up between the two most popular faces in the entertainment industry: The two Khans who have dominated the entire industry for almost a decade.

Our final vote went to Shah Rukh Khan, who continues to make the biggest bucks in Bollywood. A whopping Rs 202.8 crore with 23 brand endorsements to boot. On the total point tally he topped the List, living up to the monicker of King Khan and the Badshah (as people like to call him) of Bollywood.

For the cover, it was decided that Dabboo Ratnani (top celebrity photographer) will do the shoot. My colleague, Dinesh Krishnan, our photography director, writes on how the cover shoot with Shah Rukh went about. You can read it here. Between me and Dinesh, we decided that the look on the cover would be very classical, allowing the power of the image and the elegance of design to do the rest of the work.

Here is a video of the Photoshoot:

YouTube Preview Image

Since we had planned on what kind of an image was going to be shot (a dynamic portrait), I had decided that it would be interesting to experiment with the printing technique and take the cover to the next level, at least for a special edition like this. For a few special edition copies we felt that we would go for silver foiling on the cover with drip-off effect (Foiling is an innovative printing technology that enables you to apply metallic foil, in-line, at press speed, in an endless spectrum of colours. A drip-off is a special-effect print varnish that is applied in the final printing unit to  sections that have a matt appearance. Then, the coating unit is used to apply a conventional full-area that drips off on the spots previously given a matt coating. This maintains the matt effect on these parts and makes the rest of the areas glossy).

Below are a few examples of how the initial cover proofs had shaped up:

1. After the final four colour initial printing, this magenta space in the proof depicts (as you can see in the image below) where matt/drip-off effect was incorporated.

2. The overlap of the magenta proof on the four colour cover depicting the matt/drip-off effect

3. The Sheet of the printed cover which went through a lengthy process of silver foiling, four colour printing, and then the final process of Matt/drip-off effect

4. The final finished cover

I am sure you would have enjoyed reading what it takes to make a Forbes India special Edition cover. I sincerely hope that you would enjoy browsing through the entire magazine as much as we did creating it.

Till then…… happy reading!









Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity (both material and spiritual). She is the harbinger of good fortune and is worshipped across Hindu households and commercial establishments.

In Hindu mythology, Lakshmi is depicted as the Goddess who showers coins of prosperity on mankind. She is also an embodiment of beauty.Her face exudes calmness and love, while her strong personality demonstrates the power of wealth.

The term rich in the Indian context implies wealth and power – elements that you see in the striking image of Goddess Lakshmi on the cover of Forbes India Rich List 2012. The idea of putting Her on the cover stemmed from one of my recollections of a fantastic project which New York-based photographer Manjari Sharma has undertaken.

Manjari is in the process of shooting a series of Indian deities for Project Darshan: A fine art series that aims to recreate through photographs nine Gods and Goddesses from Hindu mythology. These deities will be represented in six-foot long images. The final result of this project would be a massive print installation of these images across museums; this would closely resemble the experience of a Hindu temple, replete with incense sticks, lamps and invocations accompanied by detailed texts on each deity.

The use of a rarely explored medium like photography to preserve India’s cultural heritage lends uniqueness to this project which kicked off in 2011. To create imagery for Project Darshan, an exhaustive research on the deities has been undertaken. A team of 35 craftsmen from India has been formed to take care of props, sets, make-up, costumes and jewellery. The journey from production to fine art printing is a precious one. Every image in this series seeks accuracy in form and function.

Recently, I connected with Manjari for the image of Goddess Lakshmi which suited our Rich List cover quite magnificently. We’re both excited about this collaboration.

All those who have made it to the Forbes Rich List are blessed by Goddess Lakshmi. She’s steered them through times of economic uncertainty. She is their fortune, wealth and prosperity.

In summation, as Manjari says, “Diwali is approaching and it’s a blessed time for
Maa Lakshmi and Forbes India to have found each other.”

About Manjari Sharma

Born in Mumbai, 32-year-old Manjari Sharma was raised in the city. She relocated to Brooklyn,New York and works as a fine art photographer. Rooted in the study of relationships and personal mythology, her work has been recognised as walking the line of fine art and traditional portraiture.

She believes that an artist’s vulnerability and experience of culture shock can often transform a banal journey into an adventure. She has shot extensively in the US and India, exploring its mythologies and the people who inhabit these lands. Being Mumbai-bred, the sight of paintings of deities was common to her, but to reproduce them photographically was an ambitious task.

In the past few years, her wor­k has been showcased in several group and solo exhibitions in the USand elsewhere. Most recently, her works were exhibited in the Critical Mass show Across the Divide which had Todd Hido and Espacio Nudage in the Jury, and was curated by José Luis Callejo and Gloria Rueda.

She has also had solo shows of her work Paani at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles in 2011 and at Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque,New Mexico in 2010. Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, Gallery 339 in Philadelphia, The Photographic Centre North West in Seattle, Kris Graves Projects in Brooklyn and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado have also featured her work in group shows.

Manjari has also been invited to speak at the School of Visual Arts and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.

To view more of Manjari’s extraordinary body of work is a must visit.

Below are behind-the-scenes stills from the making of the cover and the Goddess Lakshmi photo shoot:


Photo Assistant Dilnaaz Mehta sits in on sizing and proportions
for the Maa Laxmi set for Darshan


Photographer Manjari Sharma (right) and Art Director
Aparna Raina select fake Lotus flowers for the set


Aparna Raina finesses details on the elephants for Maa laxmi’s set


The Drashan crew prepares for the photo shoot


Sonam Bajwa get’s made up to perfection by make-up Man Sunil for the Maa Laxmi set


Maa Laxmi’s crown get’s situated for the final shot


The constructed lotus get’s it’s last touches



The backdrop is put in place for Maa laxmi’s set


The crew organizes the props for the final shot


Manjari Sharma gets ready to photograph Maa Laxmi on a 4×5 Sinar alongside
Harish Valecha, camera and lighting crew


Final Shot: Maa Laxmi, 2011, © Manjari Sharma, All rights reserved.



Hope you enjoy the edition as much as we did putting it together!


Anjan Das
“We live in a world where styles change constantly and fresh ideas are the benchmark. Professionals in every stream, especially design, must be aware of these changes and possess the flexibility and imagination to stay ahead of the trends”, yes that’s what my book of wisdom says.
Currently I am the Design Director with Forbes India. Been here since last September and enjoying every bit of my work thoroughly, not to mention the fun with my team at work makes it a pleasurable experience. Prior to this I have worked with different publications such as Travel+Leisure (Thailand), Rolling Stone India, Grazia and Maxim India to name a few.
I love conversations on design, be it conventional or out of the box; classy or anarchic; cleaner or clutter; print or digital; product or industrial. A sucker for typography and anything which has “a type” embedded in it.
Striking visuals, a perfect colour palate and the right choice of fonts are top on my checklist when we put every edition to bed, so I must
have to say “ business is good if the product is better”

Hope to catch up from time to time!
Most Popular
Anjan Das's Activity Feed
December 16, 2013 12:18 pm by Anjan Das
Thanks Gunjan! Appreciate your comments.
December 14, 2013 18:12 pm by gunjan
Perfect choice... Well deserved.. Man with dashing looks who never disappoint with his performance
January 29, 2013 23:10 pm by Mehr
fantastic job ! Shah Rukh looks handsome as always ..banker !
January 29, 2013 19:14 pm by kw
thanks for share, very interesting...and absolute the best and right choice for the cover. nobody can mess with the institution srk!
December 01, 2012 18:31 pm by Alumna’s Photograph on the Cover of Forbes Magazine | Columbus College of Art & Design Blog
[...] To read more about Anjan Das’ decision to place Sharma’s image on the cover, click here. [...]