Miss India contests: Behind the scenes

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Miss India contests: Behind the scenes

Those who design clothes for Indian beauty queens

In the 1950s and '60s, young women like Iona Pinto had to depend entirely on their own resources. Iona Pinto, the statuesque beauty queen, won the Femina Miss India title in 1960, a year after the beauty pageant was launched

Often it meant that a tailor down the road and family and friends helped with makeup!

Things are not the same for the Miss Indias of today. There is an entire team of designers, beauty experts and stylists that prepares a Miss India to face all challenges at beauty pageants. Participating contestants showcase creations by some of India's finest designers in the likes of Manish Malhotra, Ritu Kumar and Shantanu & Nikhil among others and receive much appreciation.

Those who groom the beauty queens


Pond's Femina Miss India 2013 ramp walk training sessions with Alesia Raut

By Arunima Mazumdar,TNN| The Times of India | Mar 23, 2013

Arunima Mazumdar Femina Miss India

Diction expert Sabina Merchant has been associated with the Miss India pageant since the early 21st century. The training takes place in the massive five star hotel of Mumbai, Westin. The public speaking expert has had the honour of having trained a whole lot of beauty contestants in the past such as Miss Universe Lara Dutta, Miss World Yookta Mookhey, Miss Universe Diana Hayden and Miss World Priyanka Chopra.

Supermodel Alesia Raut has been training the girls on how to walk the ramp for some time now had, in fact, never been associated with it as a participant. She feels Marc Robinson's approach in taking the pageant to an international level has been significant.

Next important is fitness - optimum physical and mental strength needed to brave the nerve-wrecking competition. Enter Payal Gidwani Tiwari, celebrity fitness and yoga expert who has been roped in to help the Ponds Femina Miss India 2013 contestants tone-up to perfection. Elaborating on the exercise plan she says, "The girls were made to do a sequence of asanas, Pranayam, meditation and kriyas daily to achieve a more holistic approach to life. I mixed yoga, calisthenics (a combination of simple, rhythmical movements, generally without using equipment) and functional training to increase their body strength and flexibility. These movements included bending, jumping, swinging, twisting and kicking. "

Skin and beauty is the most significant area of the Miss India pageant. And for this, they have brought in Cosmetologist Dr Rashmi Shetty to give expert beauty counselling to the contestants.

Prominent grooming experts in the past

Dermatologists and plastic surgeon, Dr Jamuna Pai has been providing skincare tips to the Miss India pageants for more than 15 years. Supermodel Aditi Govitrikar has helped contestants perfect their catwalk and stage presence in the past. Well known photographer Dabboo Ratnani too has contributed significantly by doing portfolios for the Miss Indias. Other names include actress Mahima Chaudhary, jewellery designer and fashion expert Queenie Singh, fashion designer Rina Dhaka.

A Miss World Contest in India

The popularity of the Miss World Contest is, however, not above criticism. The contest was opposed by many when it was held in India by Amitabh Bachchan’s ABCL. The protests against the pageant were still echoing in the streets of India when the decision was taken by the organisers to hold the Miss World contest for the first time on home ground, Bangalore.

Diaspora Miss India contests

There are a series of Miss India comptetitions in different nations such as Miss India UK and Miss Canada.

The Miss India UK entrants must be between 17 and 25, at least 5ft 3in tall, British-born and of Indian origin.

Life after the crown

Miss India Universe winners have gone on to do well in various walks of life. Cinema and modelling and/ or marriage are the favoured career options but hardky the only ones. Former Miss India Universe title holders are now working as:

Boutiquiers: Amrita Thappar,Roopa Satyan

Law: Farzana Habib ,Alamnjeet kaur ,Vasuki Sunakavalli are practicing lawyers Alamjeet is a Supreme court.

Politics: Naina Balsaver.

Managing directors of Multi National companies: Raj Gill, Shallini Dholakia.

Filmistan (Hindi-Urdu cinema): Sushmita Sen,Juhi Chawala, Lara Dutta,Neha Dhupia,Pooja Gupta,Namrita Shirodkar, Dolly Minhas,Simran Kaur,Tanushree Dutta, Niktia Anand, Gul Panag,Sangita Bijlani, Swaroop Sampat

Hollywood: Persis Khambatta worked in in the Star Trek series

Migration to the United States of America: Persis Khambatta and others.

Modelling and then marriage: Mehr Jessia, Madhu Sapre,Lymaraina Dsouza, Sandhya Chib,Sonu Walia and others..

Writing: Meher Castelino Mistri is an author.

Though the contest is still very young, three former Miss Indias, Indrani Rehman, Persis Kambatta,Nafisa Joseph, are no more.

Miss India and Filmistan

Though Aishwarya Rai was a runner up in Miss India 1994, she won Miss World. Since then, she hasbecome super star of Bollywood interviewed in the USA as well as India.

Back in the 70s, Tina Munim won an International Teen Princess Contest at Aruba and got selected by legendary actor Dev Anand to star in his film, Des Pardes. , she married industrialist Anil Ambani, one of India’s biggest businessmen.

Persis Khambatta starred in the highly popular series. In 1979, Swaroop Sampat won the covetted title. Swaroop was the lead in the TV comedy Yeh Jo Hain Zindagi and married comedian Paresh Rawal. Sangeeta Bijlani starred in a number of Bollywood movies. Juhi Chawla stormed into Bollywood with QSQT with Aamir Khan. 1986’s Miss India Mehr Jessia went on to become a model and marry Arjun Rampal, the Bollywood star.

The runners up for 1993 Pooja Batra went on to become a Bollywood actress. Miss Indias started getting more and more attention. And then in 1994, the whole of India with eyes open wide watched Sushmita Sen win the Miss India and Miss Universe title. And even though she was second, Aishwarya Rai went on to be called the World Most Beautiful women for the next decade.

2006's Miss Australia Sabrina Houssami says she is not averse to acting in Bollywood films and has already received a few offers.

South Indian, especially Tamil, films

Be it Miss World 1994 Aishwarya Rai Bachchan or Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen, the cinema of the South has always given incredible debut opportunities to the ladies. Both Sushmita and Aishwarya forayed into the industry in 1997 with Tamil movies. While Sush debuted with Ratchagan, Ash's first film was Iruvar (later dubbed in Telegu as Iddaru). Miss India Universe 1984 Juhi Chawla soared high at the box office with hits like the Kannada film Premloka and the Tamil film Paruva Ragam. Miss Asia Pacific 1993 first runner-up Namrata Shirodkar essayed unforgettable characters in Ezhupunna Tharakan, Vamsi and Anji. Her other films like Kindari Jog, Vicky Dada, Shanti Kranti and Nattukku Oru Nallavan gave her career a massive boost.

Subsequent years have opened the gates further for Miss India winners to enter the South industry. Examples include the debut of beauty-queens-turned-actresses like Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta, Miss India Universe 2001 Celina Jaitly and Miss India Universe 2002 Neha Dhupia. Even the newer Miss Indias, including Miss India Universe 2004 Tanushree Dutta, Miss India World 2004 Sayali Bhagat and Miss World 2008 first runner-up Parvathy Omanakuttan have created a niche for themselves in the South. In fact, Parvathy's role in 2012's Billa 2 was highly appreciated.

Sources for the Miss India series of articles on Indpaedia include, in the alphabetical order

Daum DesiHotMasala I AM She IndianAutographs LatestNewsPics MensXp Mid-Day MissIndiaWorldUniverse Missosology Missosology Missosology Oocities Pageantopolis SabreBiade SouthDreamz The Times of India The Times of India The Times of India The Times of India The Times of India Arunima Mazumdar & Richa Barua The Times of India The Times of India Voy.com

Related articles on Indpaedia

Miss India contests: History <> Miss India contests: Behind the scenes <> Miss India winners: 1947-58 <> Miss Ind1a winners: 1959-61 <> Miss India winners: 1962-64 <> Miss India winners: 1965 <> Miss India winners: 1966 <> Miss India winners: 1967 <> Miss India winners: 1968 <> Miss India winners: 1969 <> Miss India winners: 1970 <> Miss India winners: 1971 <> Miss India winners: 1972 <> Miss India winners: 1973 <> Miss India winners: 1974 <> Miss India winners: 1975 <> Miss India winners: 1976 <> Miss India winners: 1977 <> Miss India winners: 1978 <> Miss India winners: 1979 <> Miss India winners: 1980 <> Miss India winners: 1981 <> Miss India winners: 1982 <> Miss India winners: 1983 <> Miss India winners: 1984 <> Miss India winners: 1985 <> Miss India winners: 1986 <> Miss India winners: 1987 <> Miss India winners: 1988-89 <> Miss India winners: 1989/ 90 <> Miss India winners: 1991 <> Miss India winners: 1992 <> Miss India winners: 1993 <> Miss India winners: 1994 <> Miss India winners: 1995 <> Miss India winners: 1996 <> Miss India winners: 1997 <> Miss India winners: 1998 <> Miss India winners: 1999 <> Miss India winners: 2000 <>  Miss India winners: 2001 <>  Miss India winners: 2002 <>  Miss India winners: 2003 <>  Miss India winners: 2004 <>  Miss India winners: 2005 <>  Miss India winners: 2006 <>  Miss India winners: 2007 <>  Miss India winners: 2008 <>  Miss India winners: 2009 <> Miss India winners: 2010 <> Miss India winners: 2011 <> Miss India winners: 2012 <> Miss India winners: 2013 <> Miss India winners: 2014 (regional) <> Miss India winners: 2014 <> Miss India 2015: regional winners <> Miss India winners: 2015 <> Miss India 2016: regional winners <> Miss India winners: 2016 <> Miss India 2017: regional winners <> Miss India winners: 2017 <> Miss India Universe/ Diva 2017 <> Miss India 2018: regional winners <> Miss India winners: 2018 <> Miss India Universe/ Diva 2018

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