Miss India winners: 1947-58

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Miss India winners: 1947-58


Miss India Esther Victoria Abraham

Esther Victoria Abraham

Esther Abraham

Esther Victoria Abraham (1916-2006), known in Hindi-Urdu films as Pramila


Esther Victoria Abraham Khan Stage Name Pramila, the first Miss India 1947 from Kerala. The Pramila Theatre Artist, Film Actress, Producer, Stunt Artist, Land lady and Strong and Stout in her thoughts and Work. A born rebel, she walked out of her conservative Baghdadi Jewish home in Kolkata at 17 to join a theatre company.

Esther Abraham

She went on to realise her real dream and blazed across the Indian screen as a vamp and a fearless stunt star in 30 films, including Ulti Ganga, Bijli, Basant and Jungle King. She became the first major woman film producer, with 16 films under her Silver Productions banner.

Esther Abraham
Esther Victoria Abraham Khan, centre

In those four decades, she shunned the limelight, brought up her four sons and a daughter and waged a colossal battle to get back her property in Mumbai's Shiva ji Park area from the clutches of creditors and authorities.

Esther Abraham

With a whirlwind life like that, even the most stout-hearted scriptwriter would hesitate to pen her biopic. Her youngest son actor Hyder Ali of television series Nukkad-fame pays a very personal tribute here: My ma may be known for dash and feisty spirit but it did not come up only when she was cornered. It was her trait. It appeared in everything she did.

I asked her what it was about her that AmolPalekar wanted her to act in his Marathi film, Thang, at 90. How do you manage to be the centre of attraction even now, I asked her. She said, 'Haidoo, you have to command what you want. If you do not get it, demand it. If you still don't get it, grab it. If you still do not get it you to kill to get it. If you worry about what the world thinks, you will waver from your goal.'

She was like that. She never cared too hoots if the world was shocked, embarrassed... right from the day she walked out of her house.

She hurt people in the process but she was able to compensate because she succeeded financially. She never took from people, she only gave. Throughout, she remained economically independent and died as a landlady.

Charting your own independent path was easier said than done. When she wanted to emulate the success of her cousin in Bollywood as a Kolkata teenager, she joined a Parsi travelling theatre company.

Her job was to keep the audiences quiet with her charms during the 15 minutes it took to change reels in the single-projector silent film. You can imagine the courage and conviction it took for someone, who had been a kindergarden headmistress and had pre-university art certificates from London.

Her orthodox father clobbered her for that but she did not care.

Her spirit showed again when our father left for Pakistan, leaving us in debt. Our family building had been mortgaged for Rs 1 lakh (easily equivalent to crores of rupees today). Some of its flats had been requisitioned by the government.

Unlike other film people, she gave up all trappings of stardom, travelled in public buses to fight court battles. She juggled her film finances to ward off auctions on two occasions and a civic injuction on another.

She wanted all of us to join cinema. Only I stand devoted to it. My siblings said it is too irregular a profession. My mom said, all life is irregular. That was her message to us. Never give up. You have keep trying and trying all the time till your last breath and the opportunity will create itself.


India did not hold a national contest. Nor did it participate in the Miss World contest


Miss India Indrani Rehman

Indrani Rehman

Indrani Rehman, extreme right
Indrani Rehman was a classical dancer

Indrani Rehman, 1st Miss India to participate in Miss Universe. From the photograph it seems that she was in the Top 5, which means that India started ranking in the top rungs from its very debut.


Nutan See also Nutan

Nutan won the Miss India title in 1952 and rose to cinematic fame with films like Seema, Bandini and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. She won several Filmfare Best Actress Awards was later awarded a Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1974.

For rare photographs of Nutan, including her famous late 1970s bikini photo, see Nutan


Miss India Peace Kanwal

Peace Kanwal

Peace Kanwal

Peace Kanwal

Miss India winners: 1954

Leela Naidu

Leela Naidu (Miss India World 1954)

Leela was a classic beauty. So much so that the fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue once called her one of the five most beautiful women in the world.

After the Femina Miss India pageant, she became an actress in Bollywood.


No national contest was held

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: 2000Miss India winners: 2001Miss India winners: 2002Miss India winners: 2003Miss India winners: 2004Miss India winners: 2005Miss India winners: 2006Miss India winners: 2007Miss India winners: 2008Miss 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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