The 54th Femina Miss India pageant just got over and Manushi Chhillar from Haryana is this year’s winner while Sana Dua from J & K and Priyanka Kumari from Bihar are the first and second runner-ups, respectively. Of course this is a reason to rejoice because these women will ultimately represent the country on an international platform, but then if you keep in consideration the past five years and how Indian women have fared at the contest (Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Asia Pacific and the like), their chances seem very bleak, to be honest.
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So here we are, decoding, what may have gone wrong in all these years and why India needs to buck up when it comes to beauty pageants.
The golden era
There was a time when India had captured global attention with Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai winning the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants in the same year (1994) and likewise, Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra and Diya Mirza brought all the three crowns home in 2000. We’ve also had greater luck at procuring the Miss World title with beauties such as Yukta Mookhey, Celina Jaitley, Diana Hayden and Reita Faria who showed a lot more consistency than the current crop.
Even though all of them did well at the beauty pageants, only Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra were able to sustain their fame by subsequently making a name for themselves in Bollywood as well as Hollywood.
Keeping Bollywood aside, at least there was some buzz surrounding these ladies then, which can’t really be felt now. There was always a feeling of anticipation from our end about the Miss India winners, which, sadly does not exist anymore due to our ongoing dry spell at international pageants.
Tough luck for the current crop
The following list comprises the last five Miss India (Universe) winners who couldn’t really win the international pageant. And from the list we made, we bet you won’t be able to recognize any of these beauties by face (or even their names to be honest).
- Roshmitha Harimurthy
- Urvashi Rautela
- Noyonita Lodh
- Manasi Moghe
- Shilpa Singh
Likewise, here’s a list of the last five Miss India (World) winners:
- Priyadarshini Chatterjee
- Aditi Arya
- Koyal Rana
- Navneet Kaur Dhillon
- Vanya Mishra
Do these names ring a bell? “No” would be the general consensus barring Urvashi Rautela who has done a few films and an item number in Kaabil. Their careers seem to have faded over time and the next point is to blame, if you ask us.
Focus on Bollywood instead of the pageant
The most important reason we can attribute to the lack of interest by these young girls to win international pageants is because their sole motivation seems to be Bollywood. Which is why, most pageant contestants are enrolling themselves in acting classes these days. This may as well be why there’s a lack of focus because the end goal seems to be Bollywood’s glitz and glamour, rather than the pageant (the pageant is only a means to get into Bollywood).
Lara Dutta once mentioned how there’s been a whole lot of change in the format of the contest and that India has not been able to adapt to the change, which is where it is going wrong. What worked 10 to 15 years ago is not what will work now. With the changing needs of the industry, India needs to buck up on its grooming program, fitness modules and other aspects in order to make a mark internationally.
And so, here’s hoping things work out for the current crop of winners on the international level or else they will fade into oblivion, just like how it was for the previous (five years’) winners.