Famous 21st Century Indian Writers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie.
6
Famous As: British-Indian novelist
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mumbai

Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist whose work Midnight's Children is widely considered the best novel of all Booker Prize winners. In 2007, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to literature. In 2008, he was ranked 13th in the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list published by The Times.

 2 Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi.
5
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: September 1, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chennai

Padma Lakshmi is a model, television host and author. She has hosted cooking competition program Top Chef and has published cookbooks. She has acted in films and television too and is also an activist working for immigration and women’s rights and is a critic of skin-lightening creams. She was married to novelist Salman Rushdie for a little over three years.

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 3 Mammootty

Mammootty.
4
Famous As: actor, film producer, screenwriter, film actor
Birthdate: September 7, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chempu

National Film Award- and Padma Shri-winning Indian Malyali actor Muhammad Kutty Panaparambil Ismail, or Mammootty, is a superstar in Southern India. Initially a lawyer, he later soared to fame with films such as Vidheyan and Mathilukal. He also chairs Malayalam Communications and is devoted to medical and other charitable causes.

 4 Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 19, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kasauli
Sahitya Akademi Award-winning children’s author Ruskin Bond is best known for creating the protagonist Rusty, modeled on his childhood in Dehradun and found in his books such as The Room on the Roof. Many of his books, such as The Blue Umbrella have been made into films. 

 5 Shreya Ghoshal

Shreya Ghoshal.
4
Famous As: Singer, Writer, Actor, Composer
Birthdate: March 12, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Durgapur

National Award-winning singer Shreya Ghoshal grew up in Rajasthan and later moved to Mumbai, where her electrical engineer father was posted. After gaining attention with the talent show Sa Re Ga Ma, the classically trained artist was catapulted to fame with her playback singing in Devdas, and never looked back.

 6 Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat.
6
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Delhi, India
Indian investment banker-turned-writer Chetan Bhagat is known for his bestselling novels such as Five Point Someone and One Night @ the Call Center. Many Bollywood movies, such as Kai Po Che! and 3 Idiots, have been adapted from his novels, with the former winning him a Filmfare Award.

 7 Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria.
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: January 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Fareed Zakaria is an Indian-American journalist, author, and political commentator. He has been serving as an editor-at-large for Time and editor for Newsweek International. He has also been serving as a columnist for Newsweek. His show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, which he hosts for CNN, has won a Peabody Award

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 8 Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor
6
Famous As: Writer, Politician, Diplomat
Birthdate: March 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London

Born in London, to an Indian couple, Shashi Tharoor is known for his award-winning books such as the The Great Indian Novel and his over-the-top English vocabulary. Tharoor is also a Congress MP. He made headlines when his wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel.

 9 Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy
12
Famous As: Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist
Birthdate: November 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Assam

Apart from her bestselling books such as The God of Small Things, Man Booker Prize-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy is also known for her left-wing political activism. Born to a Syrian Christian mother and an Indian Hindu father, Roy had initially studied architecture and worked as a script writer.

 10 Girish Karnad

Girish Karnad
4
Famous As: Linguist, Author, Film director, Actor, Translator, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Matheran, Maharashtra, India

 11 Kalki Koechlin

Kalki Koechlin
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 10, 1983
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pondicherry, India

National Film Award-winning Indian actor Kalki Koechlin was born to French parents, who were followers of Sri Aurobindo, in Pondicherry. Though she initially aspired to be a criminal psychologist, she later studied drama in London. She soared to fame with films such as Dev.D and That Girl in Yellow Boots.

 12 Soumitra Chatterjee

Soumitra Chatterjee
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Krishnanagar, Bengal Presidency, British India

Soumitra Chatterjee was an Indian film actor, director, writer, playwright, singer, and poet. He often collaborated with prominent director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in 14 films. A veteran actor with over 210 film appearances, he was the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema given by the government of India.  

 13 Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 20, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kolkata

Vikram Seth is an Indian poet and novelist. He is credited with increasing the readership of the English language in India. A revered and celebrated writer, Vikram Seth has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Sahitya Academy Award, WH Smith Literary Award, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, Crossword Book Award, Padma Shri, Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and Commonwealth Writers Prize.

 14 Kiran Bedi

Kiran Bedi
4
Famous As: Police officer
Birthdate: June 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amritsar, India

 15 Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain
3
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: March 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madras, India

Born to an Indian Muslim father and a British mother in Madras, Nasser Hussain moved to England with his family, as a child. At 12, he was the youngest to join the Essex Under-15 cricket team. He grew up to become one of the best English Test cricket captains.

 16 Ashutosh Rana

Ashutosh Rana
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gadarwara, Madhya Pradesh, India

While he initially played Ravana in local Ramleela productions of his native state Madhya Pradesh, Indian actor Ashutosh Rana later soared to fame with the series Swabhimaan. The NSD alumnus later won Filmfare awards for his roles in Dushman and Sangharsh. He is married to actor Renuka Shahane.

 17 Palak Muchhal

Palak Muchhal
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 30, 1992
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Indore

 18 Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi
5
Famous As: Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer
Birthdate: January 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dhaka
Died: July 28, 2016

Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning Indian author Mahasweta Devi is regarded as a gem of the Bengali literary world. She had also been a left-wing social activist, and her works such as Hajar Churashir Maa and Rudali have either tribals or people from the marginalized communities as their protagonists.

 19 Rahul Khanna

Rahul Khanna
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India

 20 Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Journalist
Birthdate: July 11, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata

 21 M. Karunanidhi

M. Karunanidhi
4
Famous As: Politician, Screenwriter, Author, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: June 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: August 7, 2018

The patriarch of the Karunanidhi political family of India, M. Karunanidhi had been the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for almost 20 years. The DMK leader was also a noted scriptwriter and author, having written films such as Parasakthi. His son, M. K. Stalin is the current Tamil Nadu chief minister.

 22 Atlee Kumar

Atlee Kumar
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: September 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

 23 Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Politician, Writer, Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India

Born into a family of Urdu poets from Gwalior, renowned Indian lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar had initially been a screenwriter, along with Salim Khan, for films such as Sholay and Deewaar. The Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan winner has also been a Rajya Sabha MP.

 24 Kumar Vishwas

Kumar Vishwas.
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 10, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pilkhuwa, Uttar Pradesh, India

Kumar Vishwas is a Hindi poet, politician and lecturer. He was an active member of the anti-corruption movement, Indian Against Corruption, and was also one of the founder members of Aam Aadmi Party. Kumar Vishwas is known for his comments on topical issues relating to India.

 25 Tom Alter

Tom Alter
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 23, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mussoorie, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: September 29, 2017

 26 Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 19, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Shiggaon, Haveri, Karnataka, India

Known for her humility and simplicity, Indian philanthropist and author Sudha Murty had humble beginnings as a TELCO engineer. She is married to Infosys co-founder Narayan Murty and heads the Infosys Foundation. The Padma Shri winner has penned over 200 titles, such as Dollar Bahu, in both Kannada and English.

 27 Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D'Souza
5
Famous As: Conservationists
Birthdate: April 25, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Born to Goan Christians in Bombay, Dinesh D'Souza later moved to the U.S. for higher studies. The Indian-American right-wing filmmaker and writer is known for his anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama's America. Convicted of illegal campaign contribution, he was later pardoned by Trump. He was also associated with an adultery scandal.

 28 Gulzar

Gulzar.
4
Famous As: Lyricist
Birthdate: August 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dina, Punjab

Famed Indian lyricist, poet, author, screenwriter, and film director Gulzar has been a major figure in Bollywood for over six decades. He started doing odd jobs as a teenager and eventually entered films, where he made a name for himself as a lyricist and screenwriter. He soon started directing films as well. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.

 29 Zakir Naik

Zakir Naik
7
Famous As: Physician, Writer, Intellectual, Preacher
Birthdate: October 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai

Islamic preacher Zakir Naik is also the founder of the Islamic Research Foundation and his own broadcast network, Peace TV. Though a qualified surgeon, he later gained fame as a public speaker. His channel is banned in multiple countries, such as India, Bangladesh, and the UK, for its extremist nature.

 30 Suresh Oberoi

Suresh Oberoi
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 17, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Quetta, Baluchistan, British India

Born in Quetta in British India, Suresh Oberoi relocated to Hyderabad after the Partition. A great athlete, he began modeling and then stepped into acting. Mostly a character actor, he won the National Film Award for Mirch Masala. He is also known as the father of actor Vivek Oberoi.

 31 Madhur Jaffrey

Madhur Jaffrey
3
Famous As: Actor, Television actor, Film actor, Writer, Film director
Birthdate: August 13, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Delhi

 32 M. T. Vasudevan Nair

M. T. Vasudevan Nair
3
Famous As: Author, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Palakkad, Kerala, India

 33 Nandana Sen

Nandana Sen
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 19, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India

 34 Tanikella Bharani

Tanikella Bharani.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Secunderabad, Hyderabad State (now Telangana), India

 35 Piyush Mishra

Piyush Mishra
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Music director, Actor, Singer, Lyricist, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: India

 36 J. P. Dutta

J. P. Dutta
3
Famous As: Film producer
Birthdate: October 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai, India

 37 Kalpana

Kalpana
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 5, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Thiruvananthapuram district Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Died: January 25, 2016

 38 Anita Desai

Anita Desai
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 24, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mussoorie, India

 39 Varun Grover

Varun Grover.
3
Famous As: Writer, Lyricist, Stand-up Comedian
Birthdate: January 26, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sundernagar, Himachal Pradesh, India

 40 M. J. Akbar

M. J. Akbar
3
Famous As: Journalist, Writer, Politician
Birthdate: January 11, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kolkata

 41 Rahat Indori

Rahat Indori
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 1, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: August 11, 2020

Urdu poet Rahat Indori had an illustrious and versatile career as a painter, a Bollywood lyricist, and a professor. A regular at poetry events such as Kavi Sammelan, he was known for his captivating couplets such as Kisi Ke Baap Ka Hindustan Thodi Hai. He died of COVID-19 in 2020.

 42 Vairamuthu

Vairamuthu
3
Famous As: Author, Actor, Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 13, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vadugapatti, Theni

Padma Shri- and Padma Bhushan-winning Indian lyricist, poet, and author Vairamuthu went from being a translator of law books to one of the most significants Tamil literary figures. The song Chinna Chinna Aasai from the film Roja was written by him and won him one of his seven National Awards.

 43 Sheela

Sheela
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thrissur, India

 44 Aravind Adiga

Aravind Adiga
3
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Novelist, Film director
Birthdate: October 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai

 45 Ahmed Deedat

Ahmed Deedat.
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 1, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Surat
Died: August 8, 2005

Ahmed Deedat was a South African public speaker and writer of Indian descent. A popular Muslim missionary, Deedat is remembered for his inter-religious public debates with Christians. He is credited with establishing an Islamic missionary organization called IPCI. In 1986, he was honored for his missionary work with the prestigious King Faisal International Prize.  

 46 Arun Shourie

Arun Shourie
3
Famous As: Politician, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jalandhar

 47 Amish Tripathi

Amish Tripathi
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 18, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

 48 Jayant Narlikar

Jayant Narlikar
3
Famous As: Physicist, Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Scientist, University teacher, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: July 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolhapur

Born to a math professor father and a Sanskrit scholar mother, Astrophysicist and IUCAA professor Jayant Narlikar grew up to collaborate with Sir Fred Hoyle, leading to the conformal gravity theory, also known as the Hoyle-Narlikar theory. He has won the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and penned sci-fi novels, too.

 49 Sagarika Ghose

Sagarika Ghose
3
Famous As: Author, Journalist
Birthdate: November 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Delhi

 50 Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai
5
Famous As: Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: September 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chandigarh