Actress Deepika Padukone has added to her rapidly growing list of achievements by being crowned the sexiest Asian woman in the world for the first time. The award-winning movie star dethroned Bollywood rival Priyanka Chopra, who has won the title for the last two years, in the popular long running list annually published by UK-based Eastern Eye newspaper.
The win rounds off a dream year for the current queen of Bollywood, who has won numerous 2016 Best Actress awards for her acclaimed role in Indian film ‘Piku’ and commenced shooting her high-profile Hollywood debut ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ opposite Vin Diesel.
In demand, A-list star Deepika was delighted to top the list for the first time and said: “Well it does bring a smile to my face but sexy means different things to different people. For me it’s not just physical. For me being comfortable with who you are, is sexy! Confidence is sexy! Innocence and vulnerability is sexy.”
The 2016 edition of the popular annual poll was based on millions of votes pouring in from across the globe and heat generated by stars with their work, and on social media sites in the past 12 months. The mass interest in the 13th edition of the list was such that it was trending on Twitter in various countries including across India during the voting process.
Eastern Eye’s award-winning Entertainment Editor Asjad Nazir, who founded the list and puts it together annually, believes 2016 was another major turning point for Deepika and will lead to even bigger things for her.
“This was the year Deepika not only won awards, but also became the undisputed queen of Bollywood and the highest paid leading lady in Indian cinema. It was also the year she smashed her way into Hollywood and generated mass excitement with none-Bollywood audiences even before the release of her mega-budget Hollywood debut. With huge films releasing next year, it looks like 2017 will be an even bigger year and more international producers will try stealing away the jewel in Bollywood’s crown,” said Asjad.
Four times winner Priyanka Chopra was pushed down to second place and actress Nia Sharma took third spot, and reclaimed her crown as the sexiest television star. TV actress Drashti Dhami maintained her top five place and came in fourth. Rapidly rising star Alia Bhatt cracked the top 10 for the first time and was ranked fifth.
Others in the top 10 are Sanaya Irani (6), Katrina Kaif (7), Sonam Kapoor (8), highest placed Pakistani Mahira Khan (9) and Gauahar Khan (10).
The highest placed newcomer in this year’s list is Indian television actress Harshita Gaur (17). The youngest on the list is 20-year-old actress Helly Shah (31) and the oldest is 53-year-old philanthropist Nita Ambani (32), who is the first woman to ever be included as an editor’s choice in the 13-year history of the long running countdown. “The first ever editor’s choice is the golden hearted philanthropist. She makes the list not for being powerful or rich, but for touching hearts with her amazing charity work and the way she supports sports. She has a queen like aura and looks incredibly fabulous in her fifties,” said Asjad.
Like recent years’ Indian television stars continued to dominate the list. Nia Sharma, Drashti Dhami, Sanaya Irani and Gauahar Khan all retained their places in the top 10.
Other small-screen actresses in the list include: Rubina Dilaik (11), Niti Taylor (12), Jennifer Winget (17), Krystle D’Souza (26), and newcomers Shivani Surve (29), Helly Shah (31) and Jasmin Bhasin (35). “The continued dominance of small screen stars again shows how important television is in the lives of people around the world and perhaps explains why so many films are under performing at the box office. With streaming giants like Amazon and Netflix going after big markets like India, this trend will only continue,” said Asjad.
The highest placed British woman was half-Indian British pop superstar Charli XCX (18), who has a Gujarati Indian mother from Uganda. Other popular stars in the 2016 list include Kareena Kapoor Khan (13), Sri Lankan beauty Jacqueline Fernandez (15), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (19), Esha Gupta (27), Shraddha Kapoor (30), Hina Khan (39), Anushka Sharma (42) and Disha Patani (47).
The full countdown of 2016’s 50 Sexiest Asian Women is published in the UK’s most established and popular Asian newspaper, Eastern Eye, on December 9.
“What continues to make this list the most popular of its kind is the strong presence of real women of all ages the public can relate to and why it’s the only sexiest women list of it’s kind where more females than males vote annually” said Asjad.