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.

Vote for Your Favourite 21st Century Indian Writers

 1 
Salman Rushdie
(Novelist)

Salman Rushdie
13
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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 
Shreya Ghoshal
(Singer, Writer, Actor, Composer)

Shreya Ghoshal
4
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.

 3 
Mammootty
(actor, film producer, screenwriter, film actor)

Mammootty
6
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.

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 4 
Padma Lakshmi
(Model. Writer)

Padma Lakshmi
5
Birthdate: September 1, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madras, Tamil Nadu, India

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.

 5 
Fareed Zakaria
(Journalist)

Fareed Zakaria
5
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

 6 
Ruskin Bond
(Writer)

Ruskin Bond
16
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. 

 7 
Shashi Tharoor
(Writer, Politician, Diplomat)

Shashi Tharoor
6
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.

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 8 
Dinesh D'Souza
(Conservationists)

Dinesh D'Souza
6
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.

 9 
M. Karunanidhi
(2nd Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu)

M. Karunanidhi
4
Birthdate: June 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Thirukkuvalai, 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.

 10 

Kalki Koechlin
5
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.

 11 

Chetan Bhagat
8
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.

 12 
Arundhati Roy
(Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist)

Arundhati Roy
13
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.

 13 

Ashutosh Rana
4
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.

 14 
Javed Akhtar
(Screenwriter, poet, and lyricist known for his contributions to Indian music and Bollywood films)

Javed Akhtar
5
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.

 15 
Kiran Bedi
(Police officer)

Kiran Bedi
4
Birthdate: June 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amritsar, India

Kiran Bedi is an Indian police officer and social activist. In 1972, she became the first Indian woman to serve as an officer in the Indian Police Service. From 2016 to 2021, she served as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, playing an important role in the development of the Indian Union Territory. Her life has inspired many films, including Karthavyam.

 16 
Gulzar
(Lyricist)

Gulzar
4
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.

 17 
Sudha Murty
(Author)

Sudha Murty
3
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.

 18 

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

 19 

Rahul Khanna
6
Birthdate: June 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India

Rahul Khanna is an Indian film actor and writer best known for his work in the Hindi film industry. He is also known as the elder son of popular actor Vinod Khanna. Apart from working in the film industry, Rahul Khanna also appears on TV, hosting important events like the Miss India pageant, the IIFA Awards, and the Screen Awards.

 20 
Tom Alter
(Actor)

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

Tom Alter was an Indian actor best remembered for his contribution to Indian theatre and Hindi cinema. Alter quit his day job as a teacher in order to pursue a career in acting. Although he was of American origin, Alter could speak fluent Hindi and Urdu which made him popular in India. In 2008, Tom Alter received the prestigious Padma Shri.

 21 

Kumar Vishwas
4
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.

 22 
Romila Thapar
(Historian known for Authoring books about Indian history)

Romila Thapar
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Renowned history scholar and JNU professor Romila Thapar has also taught at Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania. She has previously been in the news for rejecting the Padma Bhushan twice, stating she didn’t accept state awards. She has also often opposed Hindutva and the “saffronization” of education.

 23 
Zakir Naik
(Physician, Writer, Intellectual, Preacher)

Zakir Naik
7
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.

 24 

Deepak Chopra
4
Birthdate: October 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

Deepak Chopra is an Indian-American alternative-medicine advocate and author. After emigrating to the United States in 1970, Chopra went on to become an important figure in the New Age movement. Credited with co-founding the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, Chopra is one of the wealthiest personalities in alternative medicine. He has also drawn criticisms, thanks to his tall and ridiculous claims.

 25 
Nasser Hussain
(Cricketer)

Nasser Hussain
3
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.

 26 

Soumitra Chatterjee
4
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.  

 27 
Vikram Seth
(Writer)

Vikram Seth
4
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.

 28 
Arun Shourie
(Politician, Journalist, Writer)

Arun Shourie
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jalandhar

One of the most prominent political and current affairs commentators in India, Arun Shourie first gained fame with his anti-Emergency articles in the Indian Express in the 1970s. Once a World Bank economist, he has also won the Padma Bhushan and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and been a Rajya Sabha MP.

 29 

Amrita Pritam
6
Birthdate: August 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gujranwala, Pakistan
Died: October 31, 2005

Amrita Pritam was an Indian poet, essayist, and novelist who wrote in Hindi and Punjabi languages. She is widely regarded as the first major female Punjabi poet and the leading Punjabi-language poet of the 20th century. In 1956, she was honored with the Sahitya Akademi Award, becoming the first woman to receive the prestigious award.

 30 
Atlee Kumar
(Director)

Atlee Kumar
7
Birthdate: September 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Koratalla Siva
3
Birthdate: June 15, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: India

 32 

Suresh Oberoi
4
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.

 33 
Madhur Jaffrey
(Known for her award-winning role as Manjula in the 1965 movie Shakespeare Wallah)

Madhur Jaffrey
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Delhi, India

 34 

Tanikella Bharani
5
Birthdate: July 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Secunderabad, Hyderabad State (now Telangana), India

 35 
Nandana Sen
(Actress)

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

Nandana Sen is an Indian actress, children's rights activist, children's author, and screenwriter. Apart from appearing in Indian films, Nandana Sen has also appeared in Italian, Canadian, and American films. She has also been playing an important role in fighting against the crisis of child trafficking. She has also written six children's books, including The Monkey Who Wanted to Fly.

 36 
Varun Grover
(Writer, Lyricist, Stand-up Comedian)

Varun Grover
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sundernagar, Himachal Pradesh, India

 37 

Rahat Indori
5
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.

 38 
Girish Karnad
(Linguist, Author, Film director, Actor, Translator, Screenwriter)

Girish Karnad
5
Birthdate: May 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Matheran, Maharashtra, India

Actor, film director and playwright, Girish Karnad was also a Rhodes Scholar with a Masters degree in philosophy, political science and economics. A prolific writer, he authored scores of plays in Kannada, which were later translated into other languages. Also an eminent actor, film director and screenwriter, he was conferred with numerous awards including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

 39 
Ahmed Deedat
(Writer)

Ahmed Deedat
3
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.  

 40 
Kalpana
(Actress)

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

 41 
Mahasweta Devi
(Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer)

Mahasweta Devi
7
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.

 42 
Vairamuthu
(Author, Actor, Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter)

Vairamuthu
3
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
(Actress)

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

 44 
Sagarika Ghose
(Author, Journalist)

Sagarika Ghose
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Delhi

Renowned journalist Sagarika Ghose was an Oxford Rhodes scholar before she joined media giants such as The Times of India and CNN-IBN. Apart from being the daughter of Indian civil servant and theater personality Bhaskar Ghose, she is also the wife of popular journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.

 45 
Vikramaditya Motwane
(Film director)

Vikramaditya Motwane
3
Birthdate: December 6, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, India

 46 

Na. Muthukumar
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: August 14, 2016

Na. Muthukumar was an Indian poet, author, and lyricist who predominantly worked in the Tamil film industry. He is credited with writing several popular film songs and is widely regarded as one of the most successful lyricists of his generation. During his illustrious career, Muthukumar won several prestigious awards, including two National Film Awards for Best Lyrics.

 47 
Devdutt Pattanaik
(Mythographer)

Devdutt Pattanaik
6
Birthdate: December 11, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, India

Indian mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik has redefined the genres of Indian folklore, legends and myths by retelling ancient tales through his books. A qualified physician, he later studied comparative mythology and penned bestsellers such as My Gita. His shows, such as Business Sutra and Devlok, have been hits, too.

 48 
Piyush Mishra
(Screenwriter, Music director, Actor, Singer, Lyricist, Songwriter)

Piyush Mishra
3
Birthdate: January 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: India

 49 
J. P. Dutta
(Film producer)

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

 50 
M. T. Vasudevan Nair
(Author, Screenplay Writer & Film Director)

M. T. Vasudevan Nair
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kudallur, Palakkad district, Kerala, India

Known as MT to his fans, M. T. Vasudevan Nair is a legendary figure of Malayali literature. He gained popularity with works such as Naalukettu and Asuravithu, which mostly reflected the social and cultural aspects of his home state, Kerala. He is also a National Award-winning screenplay writer.