Miss India winners: 1994

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Sushmita Sen
Sushmita Sen
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Miss India winners: 1994

Sushmita Sen
Sushmita Sen
Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai
Swetha Menon
Swetha Menon
Swetha Menon
Barkha Madan
Maninee De
Maninee De
Aishwarya Rai

1994 was an epochal year for Indian beauty queens internationally. Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe crown in Philippines and in the same year, Aishwarya Rai triumphed in the Miss World title in South Africa. It was a year when even girls from strict families and conservbative small towns were given the go-ahead--even encouraged and goaded---to follow the footsteps of Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai. coaching institutions sprouted all over India to groom girls in pageant participation skills

Miss India Universe - Sushmita Sen

Miss India World - Aishwarya Rai

Miss India International - Francesca Hart

Miss India Asia-Pacific - Swetha Memon

Miss Tourism World Wide - Barkha Madan

Sushmita Sen

Sushmita Sen - Miss Universe 1994 and the first Indian to win the crown - attended a Hindi-medium school until the ninth standard and didn’t know a word of English until she was 16. By 18, she had established herself as a model but perhaps not amongst the finest. Euphoria gripped India on May 21, 1994, when, for the first time ever, an Indian girl was crowned Miss Universe. Sushmita Sen born 19 November 1975 in Hyderabad, India. In 1994, at the age of eighteen, Sushmita Sen a former beauty queen was won the title of Miss Universe 1994 contest. She was the first Indian woman to win the competition. Sushmita Sen is an Indian actress who appears in mainly Hindi films she has also appeared in few Tamil films. Sushmita Sen, the first ever Indian to win a Miss Universe title in 1994 had her finale outfit stitched by a little-known Meena Bazaar tailor.

Sushmitha Sen plunged into Bollywood in 1996 almost immediately after winning the crown. But the very next year she did her first film in Tamil, ‘Ratchagan’ opposite Nagarjuna. The big banner much hyped film with the music of A R Rahman was a non-starter. But one remembers her as the ‘Shakalaka Baby’ of ‘Mudhalvan’. That's Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994 who is now a successful actress and an entrepreneur. . While Sushmita Sen bagged almost five Best Supporting Actress awards in her acting tenure,

According to Femina Femina Diffivult to believe considering that her father was an Air Force officer.

Aishwarya Rai

Miss World 1994, Miss India World 1994: Light-eyed beauty Aishwarya Rai made the country proud by winning the Miss World title and became the second Indian to be crowned Miss World in 28 years.

MISS WORLD 1994 WINNER

Miss Photogenic Award

Asia & Oceania’s Queen of Beauty Award

[According to a source she was awarded the Most Beautiful Miss World ever in the 50 year’s pageants history in 2000.] The celestial beauty Aishwarya Rai is proud of India. Aishwarya Rai was born in south of India. The lucky day when Aishwarya Rai was born 1st November 1973 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Aishwarya Rai daughter of Krishnaraj Rai and Brindya Rai and Sister of Aditya rai.

Aishwarya Rai was very popular even before she made it in films. Remember the Pepsi commercial where Amir Khan does dangerous stunts to get her a Pepsi? Remember the flat stomach advertisement for a television brand? In truth when Sushmitha Sen was crowned Miss India above Aishwarya Rai in 1994 the public was shocked as Ash was more popular with them. How ever Sushmitha Sen won the Miss Universe crown and Aishwaya won the Miss World crown in the same year.

Aishwarya Rai was very particular that she should be launched in films by the one and only Mani Ratnam. So the most beautiful girl of the year had to wait until 1997 and Mani Ratnam launched her in ‘Iruvar’. Aishwarya Rai’s present stature stemmed from her good decision to care for worthy films and not just any. ‘Iruvar’ was a serious film and her role was restrained and delicate she had no opportunity to cash her beauty.

With her ambition fulfilled Aishwarya Rai did her second film also in Tamil. Shankar directed ‘Jeans’ was her first major box office hit. She then went to Bollywood she saw and she conquered. But Aishwarya Rai still has a soft cornered fascination for Tamil. Her last Tamil film was the critically acclaimed ‘Kandukonden Kandukonden’ in 1999. Even after more than a decade since her last Tamil film Aishwarya Rai is still the most wanted heroine in Kollywood. Bur her status and stature was too big for ordinary films. Rajinikanth wanted her for ‘Padayappa’ and ‘Baba’. He also tried for her to be his ‘Chandramuki’. But Aishwarya Rai could not take the offers. But 2010 is going to be her year in Kollywood. The biggest and most anticipated two films of the year are riding on her. Mani Ratnam’s ‘Raavanan’ and Shankar-Rajinikanth’s ‘Endhiran’ are proof to Aishwarya Rai’s hold in the industry. After Aishwarya Rai nobody could garner fans and films although they tried hard. Our producers also were keen to cast a beauty only for the glamour quotient and the hype it would generate before the release. Nobody sincerely wanted to give a role of substance to these beautiful girls. Here we don’t entirely blame the industry as some beauty queens were more than just duds for Kollywood.


Aishwarya Rai entered films and stormed the silver screen. Aishwarya Rai was awarded the Filmfare Best Actress Award twice, besides several other national and international recognitions. Fondly called Ash in the film circuit, she is married to actor Abhishek Bachchan.

India’s Aishwarya Rai and winner of Miss World 1994 title has a Dutch tulip named after her. The orange and yellow edged tulip is one of the Netherlands' most enduring symbols. In 2003, she became the first Indian to make it to the jury of the Cannes Film Festival. The following year she was hailed by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most powerful and influential people the world over.

Francesca Hart

1994: the three national queens (L to R) Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen and Francesca Hart

Miss India International - Francesca Hart

(No photograph available. Can any reader help? I We believe that Francesca was not able to represent India internationally. No wonder her pictures are not readily available. Indpaedia has managed to get one rare Femina picture, in fairly crisp colours, of Francesca Hart with Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen.)

Swetha Menon

Miss India Asia-Pacific - Swetha Menon, semi finalist at Miss Asia-Pacific, 1994

Barkha Madan

Miss Tourism World Wide - Barkha Madan, fourth place, 1994

Maninee De

Maninee De who played the vamp in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi had won Miss Congeniality in 1994.

Aishwarya’s intimidating presence

Daily Bhaskar.com | Aug 08, 2013 reminds us that ‘Sushmita participated in Miss India’s beauty pageant the same year when Aishwarya Rai gave her name and at least 25 participants withdrew their names because they thought that Aishwarya was too beautiful [an way too established a name as a model] to be outshined during the beauty pageant. But as fate had it, Sushmita won the Miss India Universe title and Aishwarya came in a close second and had to make do with the Miss India World title.’

The view from Aishwarya’s end

Miss India contest was very narrow between Sushmita and me: Aishwarya Rai |Sunrita Sen, India Today December 15, 1994

Given Aishwarya Rai’s extremely high profile as one of India’s top models, it was natural for the other aspirants to the Miss India crown to feel intimidated. Apparently, things were not too easy for Aishwarya either.

She told |Sunrita Sen of India Today : :In fact, if anything did unnerve me, it was the media hype towards the end. I was being pushed as one of the strongest contenders and I thought, 'Oh oh, I could do without this'.”

What Aishwarya thought about the contest between the eventual winner and her is given away by these lines from her: “But the media did have their expectations. The Miss India contest was very narrow between Sushmita and me and so they thought if she could get Miss Universe, I could bag Miss World.”

Mehroo Turel on that epochal January

Mehroo Turel, finalist

The national contest in which the national favourite, rightly, lost to a world beating outsider.

Jasmeet (Jesse) Randhawa: Top 5

Mehroo Turel was one of the beauties who made it to the finals of that historic contest in which every finalist would go on to carve a niche for herself . Who can be better than she, with her ringside view, to record memories of that week that changed the relationship of Middle India with beauty contests, and planted India firmer in the international beauty arena on the base prepared by Reita Faria:

“I was selected for the finals after two rigorous rounds of selection in Mumbai and I started getting geared up for the finals of Femina Miss India 1994 which was going to be held in Goa. This time there was a whole lot of publicity associated to the event. We were called for a few sponsored sessions to create more publicity pre-event. I got my dresses, shoes and accessories in place. We still had to do those on our own. Luckily I had my Miss Asia-Pacific wardrobe in place which had cost a fortune, but my mum sponsored me all the way. My sister was another big support as she was constantly guiding me on what to wear, how to wear, the art of make up, how to sit, how to stand, how to talk and whatever associated with it. I was never very good at all this - the acting and flaunting business. I did what came naturally and that was exactly why I did NOT win.

“Finally the day dawned when I had to pack my bags and leave for Goa. All the girls were to meet at a specific point at the airport. Vanity cases, strollers, the click of heels are some of the things I can still remember from that day. Another thing I can never forget is that face. The face that stood out from all others at the airport. There was minimal make up and yet one would want to turn around and grab a second look at her. If you haven't guessed already I am talking about Aishwarya Rai. I had met her a couple of times before that during some modelling assignments, when she was still a struggling model like most of us. She would always keep to herself and be chaperoned by her mum. But then suddenly one fine day she shot to fame and her face was plastered on most big-time brands! Having her as a contestant amongst us relatively unknown faces, just didn't seem fair!

“By the time we reached our hotel, I got a sense that this was NOT going to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Fun time was over, as I could sense competition in the air. Girls who had otherwise been friendly in the aircraft had suddenly gone mute, the camaraderie fading away, the organisers shouting out instructions. I didn't have much time to analyse as we we were asked to freshen up and meet again in the lobby for some photoshoot. Some girls from other towns and cities had taken connecting flights to Bombay and had been on their feet for more than 24 hours! We were all exhausted. After that all that I can remember is a blur of rehearsals, video shoots, interspersed with the sub-contests organised. The Miss 10, Miss Vivacious, Miss Congeniality - the more these contests took place, the more I realised that I was really not prepared for this world of glamour, the world of showing off what you are not. At the breakfast buffet while I would merrily fill my plate with bread buns, jam and omelette, others would be picking at fruits or having healthy juices. While I would roam around wearing causal shorts to beat the heat, some others would be wearing full make up and gowns! I tried my best to fit in, but within a day or two I just wanted to go back home. I felt very much out of place and homesick.

“The feeling of unfairness also kept building up as we saw most of the judges talking Aishwarya Rai and greeting her during the sub-contests and it came as no surprise when she won one of them! During those few days in Goa I barely interacted with her. After the rehearsals most of the girls would retreat to their rooms while I would be pacing around trying to befriend someone, anyone! While I didn't pay much attention to the final winner - Sushmita Sen, I do remember her smoking quite a bit behind the scenes. But she always looked focused, practising her poise, her diction, while I was whiling away my time, waiting to go home!

January 16, 1994

“The day of the event. There were butterflies in my tummy since that morning as I tried hard to look cool and composed. We went through our rehearsals one last time and then everyone started getting ready. As against the previous Miss India contests, make up and hair stylists were provided for us. My mother along with my sister and her fiancé had arrived in Goa the night before. At least someone will clap for me in the audience, I thought!

“Now to be honest I don't remember the exact sequence of events that night. We had four rounds. Each round had its own elimination taking place based some some criteria given. I was pleasantly surprised when I coasted through the first two rounds, confidence building each time. In round three which was Q&A round, I was pleased to get my all-time favourite actor, Rishi Kapoor as the one on the judges to ask me a question. His question was "If you had to choose between two men, one rich but ugly and the other poor and handsome which one would you choose and why?" Now a smart Ms. India finalist who knew the ways and means of this contest would have selected a 'poor but smart' option adding that she would toil hard by his side day and night to make ends meet! I, however was an honest girl who hadn't done her home work well and my reply was instantaneous - rich and ugly, already making a mental note that we could do plastic surgery on his face with all that money! The crowd gave a decent applause. Either they were delighted with an honest answer or laughing at my stupidity. I was selected for the next round.

“I was in the top 10 contestants round feeling very happy and confident on stage, making a mental note of buying very high heels next time as I felt dwarfed next to a 5'9" girl. I don't remember much about this round where I am sure I must have failed at the Q&A, as I never made it to the last round of 5. Later on I found out from my score that I had stood sixth, after Shweta Menon. Watch me on this rare and only video of my contest where I am present. Mehroo Turel/ YouTube

“I was very disappointed and tried my best not to show it, laughing it out with the other girls who had lost. Now that the contest was over, gone were the plastic masks replaced by girlish giggles. Some couldn't hold back the tears, others consoled. We found a common factor in our failure and gave each other sympathy and comfort. We went backstage to try and see the final round. The girls who made it to the top 5 were Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Shweta Menon, Jasmeet Randhawa and Francesca Hart. It was the Q&A round which turned out had a tie for the first two places! It was Sushmita Sen in a tie with Aishwarya Rai and now the tie-breaker question was being asked.

“Finally it was time for the results to be announced. In the reverse order Miss India Asia Pacific crown went to Francesca Hart who was a tall, sweet looking girl from North India. I got to learn later that she couldn't go for the International contest and that Shweta Menon was sent in her place. After that the Miss India World winner was announced. We all held our breath and were completely shocked when Aishwarya Rai's name was called. It took us a whole minute to realise that she was not the winner of the big crown after all. The Miss India Universe 1994 is Miss Sushmita Sen! The drama wasn't over yet as minutes later a tearful Aishwarya Rai came running to the dressing room and was soon surrounded by her bunch of professional friends ready to console her. Having had enough excitement for a day I walked out into the crowd looking for my mother.”

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

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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

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