Movie star Bachchan is Indian of the Year

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Sun Dec 24, 2:17 AM ET

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, whose star and sex appeal remains undiminished by age, has been voted Indian of the Year, the Times of India reported on Sunday.

An opinion poll in the newspaper said 15 percent of Indians voted for the 64-year-old actor as the most popular citizen, far ahead of the five percent who backed star batsman Sachin Tendulkar and ruling Congress party president Italian-born Sonia Gandhi.

Bachchan got maximum votes from housewives -- 19 percent -- and those in the 35-45 age category in the survey of 1,005 people in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.

He was also the overwhelming choice in the Indian capital, where he completed college, where 31 percent voted for him.

Tendulkar, currently playing for India in a cricket series against South Africa, was second ranked, despite a slump in form over the past year.

Gandhi, who pipped Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the survey was the second most popular choice along with Tendulkar despite Hindu nationalist politicians questioning her foreign birth.

Singh, steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal -- who is of Indian origin -- and Bollywood actors        Abhishek Bachchan and        Aishwarya Rai each followed with four percent votes each.

Bachchan has several new films lined up in 2007. In 2002, he was voted as the most popular screen and stage icon of all time on a BBC online survey.

Posted 26 Dec 2006

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