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Showbiz women shine in Asian Rich List

Bend it like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha & Meera Syal are both first timers in the Asian Rich List, among significant 19 other women.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:18 IST

The success of Asian films and showbiz has made their makers millionaires in the UK and has brought women centrestage. This year there are 19 women on the rich list.

Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha,43, and comedienne Meera Syal, 41, famous for Goodness Gracious Me and Kumars At 42 and who also wrote the musical Bombay Dreams have, for the first time joined the list of Britain's richest Asians. Both have been valued at £4 million and slotted at 276.

Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list for the past three years, said: "This is the first year I have seen independent, younger women who show signs of cracking the glass ceiling, if they are not yet breaking it. It shows a shift from the traditional and sometimes subservient role some Asian women have taken in the past."

The Asian success is evident from the fact that there are 71 more millionaires this year as compared to 2002. Despite a fall in economic fortunes in general, Asian entrepreneurs are on the increase, worth at £8.9 billion.

While billionaire steel giant LN Mittal remains the richest Asian for the third consecutive year, the exclusion of the Hinduja brothers from the Asian Xpress list of richest Asians has caused a major stir.

Although they were at second position last year the paper said they appeared to have moved their money back to India after losing their costly battle for British citizenship. A spokesman for the Hinduja brothers said that both Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja have been travelling on their British passports. Not only that but wives and children also have British passports. They do not have any other passports.

It is well-known that first Gopichand and later Srichand Hinduja had got their British and gave up their Indian ones. The spokesman also denied that the Hinduja wealth has been transferred from the UK. "What was there before, is still there."

Even though the collective wealth of the 300 leading Asians is worth slightly less than last year, they include several rags-to-riches stories. The list also shows that Asian millionaires are getting younger with 47 under the age of 40 and worth £1.33 billion. Ammet Kotecha, 29, is the youngest entry worth £5million.

Beresford identified the presence of East Africans, including Jasminder Singh and Manubhai Madhvani, who was expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin, as significant. He said: "There was a huge debate about whether we should let in the Ugandan Asian immigrants. I hope those who argued against it will be eating humble pie."

He also pointed out: "Asians are becoming more successful and success in showbiz terms translates in the long-term into money." He said Asians are "heroically trying to prop up industry. They have a strong family spirit, they believe in education and the rule of law. They are the sort of 'new Britons' who are exactly what this country needs."

The 10 richest Asians

1. Lakshmi Mittal, LNM Group, £1.31bn (last year £900m)
2. Mike Jatania and family, Lornamead Int, £570m (£548m)
3. Vijay & Bhikhu Patel, Waymade Healthcare, £350m (£298m)
4. Jasminder Singh and family, Edwardian Group, £350m (£400m)
5. Tom Singh, New Look, £250m (£160m)
6. Anil Chandaria and family, Comcraft, £200m (£200m)
7. Sir Anwar Pervez, Bestway, £167m (£175m)
8. Gulu Lalvani, Binatone, £150m (£120m)
9. Bharat and Ketan Mehta, Necessity Supplies, £118m (£80m)
10. Navin and Varsha Engineer, Chemidex Pharma, £111m (£105m)

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 22:16 IST