The votes are in and the verdict is out! The hottest desi girls (well so far, in India) are Shriya Kishore as Miss India Earth, Pooja Chopra as Miss India World (a clear favorite who’s every smile, answer or move elicited whoops of joy from the row behind me, I’m guessing they were family and friends since they cried and laughed all at the same time. She also won the subtitles ‘Femina Miss Beautiful Smile ‘ & ‘Talwalkars Femina Miss Beautiful Body ‘ and Ekta Chaudhury as Miss India Universe 2009.
Did you know they’ve now put the World and the Universe on the same platform? (I suppose it saves everyone the awkward which one shall we send to the real contest? moment.) After a heady day at brunch I napped all the way to Andheri, Mumbai where surprisingly the show started bang on time (I’m guessing the live telecast may have had something to do with that.)
First up I have to point out that clearly the brief here was “feel free to sell sell sell!” The contest is now known as Pantaloons Femina Miss India 2009. Wait a year or two and with any luck there will be at least 5 more names involved. Also the curious number of “subtitle winners” ranging from “Pantaloons Femina Miss Fresh Face” (yes she just washed it) to “Sahara Star Femina Miss Hospitality” (now that’s clever) which gave all the sponsors there 3.5 seconds of fame means everybody wins. (I just really want to know what the “Kohler Femina Miss Bold” had to do to score that title. I’m guessing cat fight? Then the “Collection g in association with D damas & World Gold Council Femina Miss Golden Heart” came and smoothed things over just like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz.) Heck even the emcees (somewhat hammingly) plugged their wardrobe designers.
The other thing was that it was super hot. As in the weather. The stuff you see on TV is seriously sugar coated and super cool, we meanwhile were sweating our pores out amidst some well rehearsed “we’ll be right back” commercial cues and a few frantic stage hands setting up while the emcees bought time. Although I have to say this show was pretty slick, well done 360 Degrees Experience! No stumbles, no wrong exits, no majorly gaffed lines, some surprisingly awesome performances and just one tiny mix up with the sashes when the previous pageant queens (Parvathy Omanakuttan – PFMI World 2008, Miss World 1 st Runner up 2008, Simran Kaur Mundi PFMI Universe 2008 and Tanvi Vyas PFMI Earth 2008) couldn’t figure out which one was World and which was was Universe (come on Barbie lets go party.)
The evenings hosts Madhavan and Malaika eye-candy Arora Khan did a dance I missed to the track ‘Fame’ wearing a collection by designer Rocky S and the contestants walked the ramp to choreographed precision by Marc Robinson – Contestant Director and Fashion Director extraoridnaire. I’m sad I missed Genelia D’souza dancing, I want to know if this Puppu can really dance or not. If the others are anything to go by I’d say yes. Kangana Ranaut’s performance blew my mind. Not even so much the dancing but because I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do the proper Bollywood hip shake with any conviction. She was fabulous, matching moves with the best in the biz to songs like Mera Piya Ghar, Nimbuda and Barso Re while Priyanka Chopra (clearly the queen of stage) was worth the whole ride across town eventually dancing (with full enthu support of Shiamak Davar’s troupe) of course to Ma da Ladla and Desi Girl with a little desi girl power speech for good measure. After all this was where it all started for her back in 2000 and then led her to bag the actual Miss World 2000 honors from Yukta Mookhey (eeks) and the official right to say “Who’s the hottest girl in the world?”
I was expecting the TV duo Swapnil Joshi and Karan Wahi to be slapstick and annoying but they were really good too. Either really quick witted or superbly rehearsed. The panel of judges Sushmita Sen, Asin, Deepika Padukone, Mickey Broadman, Anil Chopra, Ravi Krishnan, Madhur Bhandarkar, Nandita Mahtani and Ajay Devgan eventually decided the fate of the 5 hopefuls on stage.
P.S. Glad no one took my “Miss India topics in 2009” bet. They didn’t touch terrorism or Slumdog Millionaire. But I think I should get some slack for not being able to predict something as dumb as, when asked, “What would you say to God if you got a chance to meet him?” one of the girls quiet seriously answering “Good evening everybody. If I got a chance to meet God I would ask him ‘why me?’ (insert appropriate cliche here) Thank you.”‘
It’s 3:00am and as I type this the after-party is probably still on at High Lounge, Sahara Star Mumbai. I’ll PR those pictures up for you just as soon as I can. Goodnight. :)