Sushant Singh Rajput tops the list this year:
I took a few of my ‘maybe’s, wrapped it up in reckless dreams, tossed it up with some spare passion, and the earth gently shook!
— Sushant Singh Rajput, on Twitter (November 2018)
His ruminations on Sartre and Descartes, his musings about Van Gogh and Gaudi, his reflections on stars, galaxies and the cosmos… that’s what Sushant Singh Rajput’s friends, family and co-stars remember him by. Often described as a cross between philosopher and artiste, with the mindset of an astronomer and astrophysicist, the recurrent takeaway from those who got to know Sushant was that he wasn’t your run-of-the-mill ‘hero’. Unlike some heroes, his reading certainly wasn’t confined to the dialogues before a scene is to be shot. Cinema was part of his world, but his world wasn’t limited to the Friday collections. Most parts of his list of ‘50 things’ had little to do with making more movies or earning more money: from deep diving to charting the trajectories of planets, from NASA to CERN, this was a curious, exploratory mind… a seeker.
“He was very talented, and he was a little, I don’t know — I think he was looking for something,” a senior Bollywood actor said of him not long after he passed away. Thousands of fans and followers who were impacted by his death have also been looking for something since then — explanations, answers, closure. His absence has served to remind us, sharply, of the space he had occupied. His loss evoked unprecedented reactions — grief, nostalgia, pain, and rage, too. And that good-looking guy, with a boyish charm and a mind forever curious, became larger than life once he was no longer amidst us.
A superficial reading of the word ‘desirable’ is about physical appeal and glamour. But it’s not that. The point is not about charm or physique or good looks alone. From where we see it, this is about how much you think about a person, about the mind space an individual occupies. And who has occupied a greater mind space this past year than Sushant?
His school in Patna paid a fitting tribute to him last year by sharing the poem
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep. This is how it concludes —
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
He lives amidst us, in the thoughts of those who remember him, each day.
The Times 50 Most Desirable Men 2020 list
MEET THE DESIRABLE NEW FACES OF 2020
The Times 50 Most Desirable Men 2020 brings the spotlight on some of India’s most handsome men with talent to match. These dudes have made a mark with their striking personality, swag, style and oodles of charm. Here’s presenting the new faces, who feature on this year’s prized list:
9. Gurfateh Singh Pirzada
Last year, he grabbed the audience’s attention when he featured in the web movie
Guilty, also starring Kiara Advani. Guilty as charged for being delightfully good-looking, if his turn in this talked-about web film is anything to go by, he sure has a pretty good chance to shine on the big screen, too.
18. Ishwak Singh
After playing small parts in movies like
Raanjhanaa, Aligarh and
Veere Di Wedding, in 2020, he came into the spotlight for his performance in the much-talked-about series,
Paatal Lok. He was also seen in the web-anthology, Unpaused. A student of architecture, Ishwak’s interest in performing arts drew him to theatre for which he joined the troupe Asmita for eight years. Today, he’s a talent to look out for.
19. Pavail Gulati
He has played important parts in the web shows
Haq Se and Zoya Akhtar’s
Made In Heaven, however, it was the popular and critically-acclaimed film, Anubhav Sinha’s
Thappad last year, which won him a lot of accolades. Pavail will soon be seen with Taapsee Pannu once again in Anurag Kashyap’s
Do Baraah, with Amitabh Bachchan in
Good Bye and opposite Nushrratt Bharuccha in
Janhit Mein Jaari.
22. Aly Goni
As a strong supporting character in the TV show
Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, his good looks and personality left quite an impression on viewers. Aly also showcased his dancing skills when he paired up with his ex-girlfriend Natasa Stankovic for
Nach Baliye 9. He participated in Khatron Ke Khiladi in 2020 and was seen in
Bigg Boss 14. Popular among the ladies, Aly is in a relationship with TV actress Jasmin Bhasin.
24. Armaan Malik
He’s won the hearts of music lovers with his mellifluous voice and his boyish looks over the years. Armaan delivered some popular numbers in 2020, like
Mann Ki Dori (
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl),
Mera Intezaar Karna (
Khuda Haafiz) and also non-film songs like
Veham, Zara Thehro and
Beech Raaste, among others. Armaan’s English single, How Many topped Billboard’s Top Triller Global Chart, making him the first-ever artiste to have achieved this feat twice within one year. He recently collaborated with KSHMR and Eric Nam on a new K-pop-meets-I-pop track
27. Prateik Babbar
In recent times, he has been seen in films like
Baaghi 2, Mulk and
Chhichhore. The actor, who is in great shape, grabbed attention in the second season of the web show
Four More Shots Please! This year, he headlined the MX Player popular show,
Chakravyuh and was seen in the multi-starrer film
Mumbai Saga. On the personal front, last year, there was news of trouble in his marriage with Sanya Sagar.
31. Akshay Oberoi
He’s been seen in several Bollywood films in the past, but 2020 turned out to be quite a landmark year for the actor who was much in demand in the OTT space. In the last one year, he was seen in a string of projects like
Illegal, Flesh and MX Player’s
High. Akshay kept the audience engaged with his high-octane performances. He will soon be seen in the third season of the web series,
37. Vishhal Nikam
The popular actor from the Marathi film industry plays the lead character in
Dakkhancha Raja Jyotiba. Vishhal, who was voted Maharashtra’s Most Desirable Man 2020, made his Marathi film debut with Mithun in 2018. He leapt on to the small screen with the daily soap,
Saat Jalmachya Gathi. His current show, a costume drama, has made him a household name, and he’s now gearing up for his next film
39. Rohit Saraf
This young actor’s career gathered momentum with
The Sky Is Pink and
Ludo. He also made a mark in the digital space with the web series, Mismatched.
Rohit made his debut in Tamil cinema this year with
Kamali From Nadukkaveri. His upcoming projects include another Tamil film and an anthology, titled Feels Like Ishq, in the web space.
40. Shreyas Iyer
Mumbai boy Shreyas Iyer, who made an entry on this list last year, is a shining star on the cricket field, discovered by coach and former cricketer, Pravin Amre. Shreyas is an attacking top-order batsman who made headlines when the Delhi team picked him for a staggering cost at the 2015 IPL auction. He went on to win accolades for his performance on field, and was soon playing for Team India. Shreyas is currently single.
41. Shubman Gill
This 21-year-old from Punjab has a lot of achievements to his credit. In 2020, he made his Test debut against Australia. In the fourth Test, he scored 91 runs and saw India to its series win against the team from Down Under. This right-hand batsman made his ODI debut in 2019. He has previously been the vice-captain for India’s Under-19 side at the 2018 World Cup. He was also rumoured to be dating Sachin Tendulkar’s daughter Sara.
44. Nishant Malkani
After his track in the TV show
Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega ended, Nishant decided to try his luck in
Bigg Boss 14. Although his stint was not as long as he would have hoped for, this good-looking actor sure left an impression. His tall and muscular physique has earned him many admirers on social media. He is linked to actress Kanika Mann, but the two insist they are just good friends.
48. Neil Bhatt
This charming actor made his television debut with Arslaan in 2008. Later, he acted in shows like
12/24 Karol Bagh and
Gulaal. He is currently seen in
Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin and has also dabbled in Gujarati films. Neil, who is engaged to co-star Aishwarya Sharma, plans to tie the knot in December this year.
49. Avinash Tiwary
He is not your quintessential hero, but with his charm and intense performance, he impressed the audience and critics alike in
Laila Majnu in 2018. Last year, he won accolades for his work in the web film
Bulbbul, and in Karan Johar’s chapter of the web anthology
Ghost Stories. Avinash who was also seen in The Girl on The Train this year, has other prominent digital projects in his kitty.
India’s limited-overs batting specialist, Manish, who made his debut on this list last year, is no doubt one of the most good-looking cricketers around. He was a part of the Indian Under-19 side led by Virat Kohli in 2008, who went on to triumph in the World Cup hosted by Malaysia. Since then, he has been making his presence felt with his achievements. On the personal front, he tied the knot with actress Ashrita Shetty in December 2019.
We have a separate list for men who remain ‘Forever Desirable’. The coveted league includes Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Mahesh Babu. Given how drool-worthy they are, they would have undoubtedly topped the list year after year. These stars, therefore, do not feature in The Times 50 Most Desirable Men list. With plenty of new, young talent waiting in the wings to be a part of this ‘Top 50’ list every year, a separate ‘Forever Desirable’ list, gives new entrants a chance to be showcased on this platform.
Watch The Times 50 Most Desirable Men 2020 today, at 10.30 pm on Zoom.