This Article is written as a part of #BlogchatterA2ZSeries for Alphabet B.
When we were growing up during the early 90’s and early 2000’s, we had just one National Beauty Paegant, The Femina Miss India Paegent and also the Gladrags Title, which was mainly for the models. The Three Winners of the Miss India Paegent would then participate in the Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific Contest and represent India.
A lot of famous TV Actresses and Film Stars were former Miss India’s and had represented our Country in the prestigious Beauty Paegents. Few of them are Juhi Chawla, Swaroop Sampat, Madhu Sapre, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Susmita Sen, Gul Panag, Neha Dhupia, are a few of those beauties who represented India on the Global Platform.
The First Woman to win the Miss World Paegent for India was Dr. Rita Faria in the year 1954. Unfortunately, we did not have many television sets in India then and there were no social medias or live Television. Indian had just attained freedom and barely people were interested in anything like Beauty Contest.
Subsequently, in the 80’s and 90’s, when Colour Television and Satellite Channels penetrated through our living rooms, we were exposed to these Beauty Paegents. In the year 1994, I was an ignorant kid. When a neighbour told me about Aishwarya Rai being crowned as Miss World 1994. I barely understood the concept of being a Vishwasundari or a Miss World. But all that I was told was, there is this competition, where you have to be beautiful and score good marks in exams. For a few years I believed, that is what made Miss Indias and Miss Worlds. Co-incidently, it was also the first time that there was a tie for the crown of Miss India 1994. No wonder for the first time India won Miss Universe and Miss World.
The next year in the year 1995, Miss World Contest was hosted in India and a lot of controversy was raised about the same. Reason, for having a swim suit round. As a pre-teen I remember watching the same on Doordarshan with the number of advertisements. Subsequently to that I followed the Miss India contest through newspapers. It was not until the year 2000’s, when we could also see behind the scene of the Miss India Contest.
We could see, how they were being prepared for the walk, talk, how to dress, how to sleep. It was like getting into the fairy tale life. I saw already beautiful girls enter into a world which made them like princess. These prep shows, were almost like Big Boss, but with more glamour in them. We could actually see the hardwork and mental stress that women had to undergo to become a beauty queen.
The year Sarah Jane Dias, was crowned as Miss India, was probably the last time I saw the contest. She was a fairly known Channel V VJ and was crowned as Miss Oman – India then. She was slightly on the heavier side. Till date I do not understand the concept of being slightly overweight for her. But somehow I liked her since the first day because of her smile. She was openly bullied by all contestants for being overweight and I desperately wanted her to win just to shut up the people. Yes, she did win. She was crowned Miss India. I do not know, if this was the drama that was created or she was genuinely bullied, but the concept of bullying in the glamour world on National Television was shocking.
Subsequently, multiple Beauty Paegents came up and Femina Miss India became Ponds Femina Miss India and then FBB Miss India I guess for one year. One trend that I observed in the later years i.e. post 2015 or something, was that all the contestants looked the same. Yes, they were given similar makeup and dresses according to their body type and skin colour but still they looked the same before the camera. India is a country, where women have diverse features and skin colours, yet why were they forced to look same, with tall slim frame, perfect jawline and perfect skin colour.
Wasn’t the whole idea behind these beauty paegents to admire the natural beauty as it is ? The commercialisation of these contest, had made these paegents loose their purpose. Earlier lakhs of girls would apply for this single contest. These days on social media, we come across so many beauty paegents. But somehow, I end up watching the home coming of Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra again and again. I still remember how they would give interviews and simultaneously get ready and then wear their crown and sash and then set out on the roads to meet the common people like us. Those images with the Dignitaries of the Country would mean a lot to small girls like us.
Some how, the brands killed the novelty of these paegents. It became just another contest. It was way too fake and all made up. I may be wrong but towards the end it all became way too predictable and today all the contestants faces have merged into one.
The channels now partner with these paegents and also conduct their own mini beauty paegents. Like a Super Model Hunt or something similar on those lines. More importance is given to bitchiness and politics between the contestants and less importance is given to the talent. Being a model also needs its all set of skills but unfortunately, it has just turned into another family drama.
This article had my memories of watching Beauty Contest on the Indian Television during the 90s. True with time, things have changed a lot and we definately not for the good atleast according to me.
This article was written for Alphabet B for the #BlogchatterA2ZChallenge 2020. For Alphabet C I would be writing about my memories with the Cartoons.
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The Copyright of this article is exclusively owned by with Ms.Aishwarya Sandeep. In case of any reproduction of the same, appropriate action will be taken as per the Indian Laws, subject to Mumbai Jurisdiction.
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Hereunder are my favourite Beauty Paegent Moments that I see again and again.