Miss India 2019 preview by Albin Beart
by Albin Beart
In a couple of days, on the 15th of June, India will have its 2019 winner and all MW leaderboards will reshuffle as we welcome the representative of the country that has dominated Miss World like few have. Femina Miss India can be a strange contest – in most years, the big favorite wins, but every so often, they throw in a surprise – so girls like Nikita Anand, Aditi Arya and Anukreethy Vas have all ended up out talking and out walking conventional choices to carve their names into history.
For the past 6 months, the Femina team has scoured the width and breadth of India to narrow it down tens of thousands of hopefuls to a list of 30 finalists from each of India’s states and the national capital, Delhi. Under the able leadership of Natasha Grover, India has started to re-emerge as a pageant powerhouse. While Miss India is spoiled for choice, it must resist the temptation to fall prey to it’s maverick streak. A great group of contenders will be judged only by the choices that ultimately emerge.
We’ve watched, listened to and analyzed these finalists – many from the moment they first stepped into the spotlight at the state contests, and these are our choices. To honor India, the strength of this batch and its potential to shine, we present our choices as the “Navratans” – 9 sacred gems that Indians believe bring good luck and fortune to whoever wears them in combination. So, here are our Navratans, in order:
KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR: In the 9th to 7th spots, the three girls in this group share beauty and a radiant presence but have to show they have intelligence and eloquence to go further…
9: Delhi – Mansi Sehgal has a beautiful face but what separates her is her radiant presence and smile. Delhi is possibly the font of more Miss India winners than any other place in the country and a tough preliminary. Mansi comes well prepared and her energy elevates her presence.
8: Sikkim – wow! This girl is such an amazing surprise. A beauty as unique and sparkling as the Himalayan mountains that surround Sikkim, Sang Doma Tamang has enchanted all pageant watchers with her beautiful smile, incredible stage presence (she owned the stage when the contestants were presented to the press) and most of all, her unvarnished naturalness.
7: Punjab – Harnaz Kaur has modeling experience that belies her age and that polish has come to bear in every step she has put on stage. Dare I say she is a more beautiful version of Paulina Vega? Harnaz has a face that could win any pageant, and she left the preliminary contest with the most awards – Miss Glamorous Look and Miss Beautiful Skin.
THE INNER CIRCLE – In positions 6, 5 and 4, the girls in this group are all standouts and absolutely crown worth, in our opinion. We are getting truly nitpicky…
(TOP TO BOTTOM: ARUNACHAL PRADESH, MAHARASHTRA, MADHYA PRADESH)
6: Arunachal Pradesh: Straddling hundreds of miles of border with China, Arunachal Pradesh is one of India’s most mysterious and underpopulated states but my goodness – for the third year running, they have given us a beautiful contender who balances her looks with substance. Roshni Dada makes our close door list moving past many other strong contenders simply because she is able to bring both beauty and eloquence to the party. Her weakness is that her presence (physical and aura), while undeniably felt, is a quiet one. To break through though, Roshni has to find a way to elevate her presence above her slight frame.
5: Maharashtra – where did this baby Cindy Crawford bombshell come from? It’s time to leave the cool climes of the Himalayan foothills for some authentic Mumbai masala. And that’s what Vaishnavi Patwardhan is to me – a vibrant, assertive, seductive mix of sass and energy whose memory lingers….. but… did she perhaps rush her entry? Vaishnavi has all it takes well to wow on stage – we could absolutely see her turning heads at Miss Supranational or Miss Grand International – but to end up with a crown, she is going to find a way to show that her presence of mind can match her presence on stage.
4: Madhya Pradesh – not many paid attention to Garima Yadav when she contested for her state title, and her victory, in one of the most competitive preliminaries was a surprise to many. But oh my! Ever since she came to Miss India, she has vindicated her victory with flawless appearances every single day. Her undeniably beautiful face and an incredible facility in Hindi that she showcased in her preliminary video, make her one of our absolute favorites. What could keep Garima out? She is not as assertive as some others, and while that gives her a natural elegance, it also means she gets lost in the crowd sometime.
THE CROWN JEWELS
This year we are a bit torn between three girls, each compelling in her own way, and while we certainly have our preferences (as you will see below), ultimately it has more to do with the potential each girl has for a particular contest than any real referendum on who is the best.
3: To Miss United Continents – Telangana:
Sanjana Vij – on face value alone, she has got to leave with a crown. Although any Miss India with blue eyes draws the inevitable comparison to Aishwarya Rai, the former winner Sanjana most reminds us of is Dia Mirza, and we think she could share Dia’s fate at Miss India! There is something effortless, gentle and serene about Sanjana that takes us on a trip back to 2000. The question that lingers is – what more is there? If Sanjana can answer this question on the 15th, she will leave with a crown, and our preference is to see her at Miss United Continents where her traditional pageant appeal will be well received.
2: To Miss Grand International – Rajasthan:
Suman Rao is a perfect contestant. Captivating, charismatic and consistent. She would be a contender in any contest she goes to. I place her here because I can see her winning Miss Grand but not MW, which I feel requires more depth than she ultimately has to offer. If India were choosing someone for Miss Universe from this batch, she would be the perfect contestant, but of the titles on offer, MGI most closely resembles the MU format.
1: Miss India 2019: to Miss World – Jammu & Kashmir
Of all contests out there, MW looks beyond the obvious. When one considers that, the only girl in this batch, who could win the crown again for India is Megha Kaul. She is stunning, has the ideal MW profile and is the most intelligent and articulate girl in this group. Her presence on stage is also electric and I can see her doing the best of all girls in this group in interview, H2H and Talent. While Megha has a polarizing look, frankly it makes her stand out, and I think we are all ready to break the mold of beauty. What Megha misses is polish and good styling. But this is easier enough to infuse than weight of character and opinion. Therefore, she is the obvious choice for Miss India 2019.
We wish all Miss India delegates much success and look forward to the event!