An Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and a missionary, Mother Teresa was the founder of Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation. She was both an admired and controversial figure and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. While she was admired by many for her charitable work, she also earned criticism for her stance against abortion and contraception.
The Winner of Miss World 2000; a successful actress in Hindi films; the owner of production house that promotes regional Indian cinema and the first Indian actor to play the lead character in an American television show – Priyanka Chopra’s list of achievements is long. The popular star is also a singer, a tech investor and the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
The third Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi served as PM from 1966 till 1977 and then again from 1980 till her assassination in October 1984. She is considered one of India’s strongest PM and is hailed for leading India to victory over Pakistan in 1971, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. However, she is also categorised as authoritarian and is criticised for imposing Emergency in 1975.
P. V. Sindhu is an Indian badminton player. In 2016, she won the Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first Indian woman to receive an Olympic silver. Sindhu became a national icon following her performance in the 2016 Olympics. In January 2020, she was honored with the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.
Remembered for her heroics against the British, the Indian Joan of Arc Rani Lakshmibai remains an icon of the 1857 Indian Rebellion. The wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, she is known for leading the fight against the British after her husband’s death. She also inspired the legendary lines Khoob Ladi Mardani.
Deepika Padukone is one of the highest-paid Indian actresses. She is also known for her off-screen work, which involves supporting charitable organizations. She founded The Live Love Laugh Foundation, which aims at creating awareness on mental health. In 2018, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world.
Indian actress Aishwarya Rai is one of the most popular and influential celebrities in the country. She began her career as a model and was crowned the Miss World 1994. She started acting soon after and became one of India’s top actresses. Besides acting, she is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS).
An impressive doubles tennis player, Sania Mirza has six Grand Slam titles under her belt. A former doubles world No. 1, Sania Mirza is one of the greatest Indian female tennis players ever. In 2005, Sania Mirza was named in Time magazine's 50 Heroes of Asia list. In 2016, she was named in the magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list.
Indian actress and producer, Anushka Sharma is one of the most popular and highest-paid actresses in the country. She was featured by Forbes Asia in their 30 Under 30 list of 2018 and is the recipient of numerous awards. Beginning her career as a model, she soon ventured into acting and made a name for herself within a short while.
One of the most popular and also amongst the highest paid Bollywood actresses, Kareena Kapoor is best known for her roles in movies like Chameli, Omkara, 3 Idiots and Jab We Met. Born into a film family, the beautiful, accomplished and award winning actress always aspired to enter the film industry and eventually made her debut at the age of 19 with the movie Refugee.
Sridevi was an Indian film actress who appeared in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam language films. Considered one of the most popular actresses of all time, Sridevi was dubbed the First Female Superstar in India. With several prestigious awards under her belt, she was also regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation.
A former world no.1, Saina Nehwal holds the feat of being the only Indian female player and overall the second Indian player to achieve this ranking. She is the first Indian female to have bagged in an Olympic medal in badminton. She was also awarded India's third highest civillian award, the Padma Bhushan.
Tabu is an Indian actress best known for her work in the Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu film industries. One of the most celebrated actresses of her generation, Tabu is renowned for playing unconventional roles. In 2011, she was honored with the Padma Shri by the Indian Government. She has also received other prestigious awards, such as National Film Awards.
Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet and political activist. An important figure in the Indian Independence Movement, she was a proponent of anti-imperialistic ideas, women's rights, and civil rights. Her illustrious career as a poet earned her the nickname Nightingale of India. After India became independent, she became the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.
Preity Zinta is an Indian actress and entrepreneur. She is best known for her roles in the romantic drama films Kal Ho Naa Ho and Veer Zaara. She has degrees in English honors and criminal psychology but chose to become a model and actress. She is known for playing unconventional roles and is the recipient of several awards.
Manushi Chhillar is an Indian actress and model. Chhillar achieved popularity in 2017 when she won the Miss World pageant, becoming only the sixth Indian to win the pageant. After winning the pageant, Chhillar went on to sign a three-film contract with the popular production company Yash Raj Films. She has also modeled for popular brands like Fashion Big Bazaar.
In 2010, Sunny Leone was named among 12 top porn stars by Maxim magazine. After a flourishing career in the porn industry, Sunny Leone settled in India where she is currently popular as a film actress. Her journey from a porn actress to a successful Bollywood personality is viewed as an inspirational story by many young women across the world.
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.
Sonia Gandhi is an Indian politician and president of one of the most prominent Indian political parties, The Indian National Congress. As the president of Indian National Congress, which has been one of India's most successful political parties in the country's post-independence history, Sonia Gandhi remains one of the most powerful women in India.
Raveena Tandon is an Indian film actress, producer, and model. Although she is best known for her work in the Hindi film industry, Tandon has also played important roles in many popular South Indian films like Kamal Haasan's Aalavandhan and Upendra's eponymous film. Over the course of her career, Tandon has received several prestigious awards, including a National Film Award.
Rani Mukerji is an Indian actress best known for her work in the Hindi film industry. One of the most successful actresses of her generation, Mukerji has featured in the highest-paid and most popular actresses of the 2000s lists. She has also received several awards like Filmfare Awards and Screen Awards. Rani Mukerji is also known for her humanitarian work.
Indra Nooyi is an Indian-American business executive known for her association with PepsiCo where she served as the chief executive officer from 2006 to 2018. Often ranked among the most powerful women, Nooyi was named in Forbes' World's 100 Most Powerful Women list in 2014. In 2017, she was named in the magazine's 19 Most Powerful Women in Business list.
Karisma Kapoor is an Indian film actress best known for her association with the Hindi film industry. Born into the famous Kapoor family, Karisma achieved popularity during the 1990s when she played important roles in successful films like Jigar. She then established herself as the leading actress of Bollywood by winning prestigious awards like National Film Award and Filmfare Awards.
Nora Fatehi is a popular figure in the Indian film industry. Although born and raised in Canada. Nora has worked in Malayalam, Telugu, and Hindi language films. She was part of one of the highest-grossing Indian films ever - Baahubali: The Beginning. Apart from appearing in films, she has also made a mark in the TV industry.
Razia Sultana is known for being the only female Muslim ruler of Delhi. She ruled the Delhi Sultanate in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent from 1236 to 1240. She was the daughter of Mamluk Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish. Upon her ascend to the throne, she was challenged by rival nobles, many of whom she defeated.
Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had held several ministries, such as external affairs and information and broadcasting. Named India’s “best loved politician” by Wall Street Journal, Swaraj was known for her prompt assistance to Indians in emergency situations abroad and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan posthumously.
Padma Shri- and Padma Bhushan-winning legendary Indian singer K. S. Chithra is also a 6-time National Award winner. Trained in Carnatic music, she earned a government music scholarship. A star in the South Indian music scene, she also gained recognition with her Hindi tracks such as Kehna Hi Kya.
One of the most respected and best-known playback singers in India, Lata Mangeshkar is popularly known as the Nightingale of India. She had a long career of more than 60 years and was honoured with India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna..
Shabana Azmi is an Indian actress best known for playing eccentric and unconventional characters. One of the most acclaimed and celebrated actresses, Azmi has won several prestigious awards, including a record five National Film Awards under the Best Actress category. In 2012, Shabana Azmi was honored with India's third-highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan.
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.
Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary social reformer who dedicated her life to educate girls and bring about gender equality in the face of resistance from the conservative Indian society. Phule, who was illiterate till her marriage, went on to become a teacher, a feat considered first by an Indian woman. With her husband, she established schools for girls in Maharashtra.
Known as Hindi cinema’s “Tragedy Queen,” Meena Kumari is remembered for her stellar performances in films such as Pakeezah and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. The four-time Filmfare-winning actor sank into alcoholism after her separation from her abusive husband, director Kamal Amrohi, and died of liver cirrhosis.
Indian actress Rakul Preet Singh started her career as a model and then graduated to films. She made her debut in a Telugu film in 2011 and then did a Tamil film in 2012. In 2014 she starred in a Hindi film Yaariyan. Venkatadri Express, Current Theega, Dhruva, Spyder and De De Pyaar De are some of her notable films.