GLENDALE,CA - At a glamorous and glittering event at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, Sharanya Mukhopadhyay was crowned Miss Showbiz India USA 2008-09 on the evening of October 11, by a panel of judges, from among 15 contestants from the Southland.
It was a closely contested competition with no clear winner in sight until the finale with the audience having to wait with bated breath for the ebullient celebrity cohost Aasif Mandvi to announce the results. When it came, there was applause, screams and shouts for the victorious girls.
It was perhaps Sharanya Mukhopadhyay’s intensive training in the classical Odissi tradition that may have given her the edge. The poise and elegance which comes with the traditional instruction was in evidence as she first closed out the evening gown session in a stunning pink attire and her charming rendition of a Bollywood dance piece set to the song “Aaja Aaja” from the movie “Barsaat.” She also impressed with her answer to judge Shonali Bose’s question if the sensitivity and beauty of the legendary heroines had been lost in the globalization and modern trends in the movie industry. Mukhopadhyay replied that Bollywood had indeed westernized and that it’s productions no longer reflect the inner beauty of Indian women and these elements need to be incorporated to showcase their new confidence and the respect they are due and richly deserve.
First runner up Priya Anantram put in an equally impressive performance in the talent section with a dance number from “Devadas” and curiously enough had responded to Vikram’s Bhatt question were she to select the winner who she would pick, with she would choose herself, but would share the honor with Sharanya Mukhopadhyay ! 2nd Runner up Rachna Mamidi also delighted the audience with her composure and poise in a startling red gown in that segment and a sparkling Bollywood medley in the talent division.
Earlier, the show had opened with a entertaining Dance presentation by the 15 semi finalists choreographed by NDM Dance Studio in a beautiful array of colorful costumes. Director of Pearl Entertainment Inc who presented the show and Hostess for the evening Reshma Dordi welcomed the audience and introduced her celebrity cohost Aasif Mandvi who has made a name for himself in mainstream America by appearing in many Hollywood film and TV roles and as a correspondent for Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart. He joined Dordi at the mike and the duo kept the show moving and the audience amused with their continuous repartees.
The program started in real earnest with the introduction walk of the 15 finalists as they flowed on to the stage and struck elegant postures attired in a fabulous collection of lehengas in striking hues and designs from Atirma. This was followed by the introduction of the illustrious panel of judges.
The participants went on to a keen tussle for the title to be judged for their beauty, poise and ability in the evening gown, talent and sari segments. Later, the top five who would move into the last division of competition which involved the tricky question and answer round, were announced. There were Sharanya Mukhopadhyay, Priya Anantram, Rachna Mamidi, Lakhbir Dhiman and Priyanka Singha.
Prior to the final results the Celebrity Guest for the evening was introduced by Dordi and Kangana Ranaut made a dramatic entry to the cheers of the audience. In a brief address to her fans she said that the pageant was a true celebration of womanhood and she was delighted to be part of it. She told the participants that they were all superstars and reminded everybody that it required great courage and guts to come up and do what they did. She said she loved the friendly spirit of America and always looked forward to coming here. She added her career which like a dream sequence had started with being spotted in a coffee shop, was going well but the euphoria spell had worn off and she had to work hard to remain at the top.
Winners in several categories selected earlier were also announced before the final crowning and Frank Mottek from KNX1070 presented them with their sashes. They were Priyanka Singha (Miss Photogenic & Most Beautiful Eyes), Smitha Bondade (Most Beautiful Smile), Shruti Dhalwala (Most Beautiful Hair), and Taranum Bhatti (Miss MFW Most Popular).
Reshma Dordi expressed her admiration for all the contestants and hoped the experience would provide the confidence and courage to excel in their careers, propel them to great heights and they would carry away fond memories and relationships for life. She went on to thank Ranaut and Mandvi for attending and encouraging the young women, as also the full panel of judges. She said she could not have pulled off the show without the loving support of her family, the large group of sponsors and her team at Pearl and Showbiz India.
One of the judges for the show was director Vikram Bhatt, who told India Journal that he was actually in the US to look for a new face for his next movie. Others on the panel were Cher Calvin,Shonali Bose, Aamir Chalisa, Shyamala Amrtiraj, Michael Andreen and Reeta Gidwani Karmarkar.
A highlight of the program was a dazzling Jewelry Fashion show presented by Highglow Jewelers.
The cosponsor for the show was Jet Airways and plaques were distributed to all sponsors by Ranaut as their representatives were individually introduced by Dordi. Atirma Selections provided Reshma Dordi and Aasif Mandvi with the Indian attire they wore for the evening as also the pieces for the sari segment.