Indian Pageants

My heart will go on… (A Tribute to Lara Dutta)

It’s been years we saw her in her pageant and still our love for this one wonderful lady is intact and in fact it is expanding!!

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Let’s add some background here.  Marc Robinson is no longer the National Director of Femina Miss India and there is buzz about who will replace him.  Among all the names discussed, it highly amuses me to hear one name, for the whole country is proud beyond words of this lady.  She is Miss Universe 2000 winner Lara Dutta!

Yes, there is a word around that she may be the new National Director of Femina Miss India.  Of course, nothing is confirmed and perhaps this might be just a rumor, but we actually like this rumor.  And we like it because we believe in the power of this amazing person named Lara.  All say she won because of her beauty, we think she won because she is one powerful human-being, a very capable and competent person and perhaps that what we look in the new national director too, right?

Also, it is good that a woman may hold the position.

As a fan, when I hear the name Lara Dutta, my mind is filled with images of this lady winning the Miss Universe crown.  I don’t mind going deep down the memory lane to write about her, since it can be actually fun!

Lara Dutta Miss Intercontinental 1997
Lara Dutta Miss Intercontinental 1997

Lara begun her journey as a model and her first big break-through was winning the Miss Intercontinental pageant in the year 1997.  She prepared herself for next few years and finally when she felt she was ready, she decided to plunge in for the Miss India title for it was always her dream and she confessed this in a celebrity episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati to Superstar host Amitabh Bachchan.

She was known by many when she competed, but she was not a mega-favorite like Aishwarya Rai was in Miss India 1994 or say Megan Young was in her national pageant this year.  She was considered strong by those who understood what pageants are about and those who knew her qualities.

Lara (centre) posing with few other contestants during Miss India pageant
Lara (centre) posing with few other contestants during Miss India pageant

Quite easily she made it to the Top 14 semi-finalists and then Top 9 semi-finalists after getting highest number of points in the swimsuit competition.  In the Top 9 round, she was asked by judge and veteran actress Waheeda Rehman, “Is it so difficult to be beautiful?”  Lara confidently responded and everyone was more than impressed by what she said.  She spoke about inner beauty and how it is actually easy to be a beautiful person.  Her diction, the flow of her words – it was amazing.  She might actually be one of the best orators our country had at that time.

Her presence in the Top 5 was obvious.  There was a tie in the first common question round and it was resolved by another.  Tie-breaker question was, “Would you punish Adam, Eve or the serpent in the Garden of Eden?”  Again Lara aced the question with her intelligence.

No sooner was she chosen as Miss India than she was considered to be a favorite for the Miss Universe title.  Tom from the famous pageant blog https://www.tpmum.com had her as his top bet for the Miss Universe title.

Lara along with Priyanka and Dia address the press after winning Miss India titles
Lara along with Priyanka and Dia address the press after winning Miss India titles

Miss Universe was held that year in Cyprus.  Apart from Lara, the beauties of Venezuela, Spain and Philippines were considered as favorites.  All of them made the cut except the lady from Philippines.

Top-scorer in swimsuit competition
Top-scorer in swimsuit competition

Lara easily aced the swimsuit competition and became perhaps the only Miss India to top the round in Miss Universe pageant.   She finished fourth in the evening gown round, although her gown was ridiculously beautiful and she had carried it with class that cannot be justly described in words.  Nevertheless her presence in Top 5 was certain.

Sinbad interview the finalists and Lara clearly proved her mettle in the round.  She spoke about her desire to jump from a plane and also how women politicians are more sensitive.  She got the highest score of all-time in any round of Miss Universe pageant with 9.95  No contestant has scored beyond this ever in any round of this pageant.

Top 3
Top 3

She was a clear favorite then.  Even the backstage commentators were singing praises for her.  Along with Venezuela and Spain, she was in the Top 3 and they were asked what would they convey to those who were opposing the pageant in the host nation at that time.  Venezuela praised pageants and Spain talked how women are independent.  Lara spoke about how pageants provide a platform to women for achieving excellence.  Tom in his blog writes, “The minute she took the microphone, she took away the crown.”  It was clear that she was winning.

When the results were being announced, Venezuela and India were the final two.  Venezuela knew Lara was winning and she was just waiting for the announcement.  When the written was made obvious by the host, Lara was elated and Venezuela graciously hugged her.  Lara looked like a million bucks with the beautiful crown, as she took her walk as a winner.  She waved like a queen, for she was the queen of the Universe then.

Lara's success was highly celebrated in India
Lara’s success was highly celebrated in India

After a wonderful year as Miss Universe, she crowned Denise Quinones as Miss Universe in Puerto Rico and then begun a career in Bollywood.  She did some wonderful films like NO ENTRY and then decided to tie the knot with famous Indian sportsman Mahesh Bhupathi.  They even started a family an year or two ago.

Back into the present, if the news about her being the new head of FMI is true, it would be just awesome because it would mean watching her in the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants this year.  We feel she can do a good job considering her successes in pageants as well as the modelling world.  She knows the business and is a woman of confidence and character.

In any case, we adore her beyond worlds. National Director or not, she will always be perhaps the most amazing Miss Universe of all-times, not just for Indians but also for many international fans who love her a lot even today! 🙂

Beautiful Lara with husband Mahesh
Beautiful Lara with husband Mahesh

Author – Poholics




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