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From Reita Faria to Manushi Chhillar, Indians who've been crowned Miss World

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New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) After a hiatus of 28 years, India is all geared up to present the grand finale of the prestigious Miss World beauty pageant, which will be co-hosted by Karan Johar and former Miss World Megan Young in Mumbai on Saturday.

Over the decades, six Indian divas who have won the coveted title have gone on to carve out notable paths in different fields such as cinema, modelling and even healthcare, and have also become advocates for women empowerment.

From the first Indian Miss World, Reita Faria, to Aishwarya Rai, who won the title 28 years later, to Priyanka Chopra Jonas and most recently, Manushi Chhillar, each winner has transcended the realm of beauty pageants and become icons of grace, talent and social impact.

IANS delves into the journeys of these remarkable women and explore where they are today.

Reita Faria Powell: The first Indian woman to win the title in 1966, Faria, who is from Mumbai and now lives in Dublin, pursued a career in medicine and went on to become a successful doctor.

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In the 1966 pageant, which was held at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, she won the sub-titles ‘Best in Swimsuit’ and ‘Best in Evening Wear’ dressed in a saree.

She later ventured into public health and has been involved in initiatives promoting healthcare and education in India. Faria lives with her husband, endocrinologist David Powell. The couple have two daughters.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Crowned Miss World in 1994 (in the same year when Sushmita Sen became Miss Universe), Aishwarya has established herself as one of the most successful actresses in the Indian film industry, besides being the face of L’Oreal and a regular on the Cannes red carpet.

In 2022, she experienced a rebirth of sorts with Mani Rathnam’s two-part Tamil historical drama, ‘Ponniyin Selvin’. She is a recipient of the Padma Shri and has also been awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French President. Aishwarya is married to actor Abhishek Bachchan, which makes her the daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan, and has a daughter named Aaradhya.

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Diana Hayden: Winner of Miss World 1997, Diana comes from Hyderabad, studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), and has had a diverse career spanning modelling, acting, and presenting television shows.

She was the wild card entry in the second season of the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’. She is the author of ‘The Beautiful Truth’, an encyclopaedia on grooming and personality development.

Married to American businessman, Diana had a baby girl in 2016 at the rather late age of 43 from an egg she had got frozen eight years before the birth of the child.

Yukta Mookhey: After winning the Miss World title in 1999, Yukta ventured into acting in Bollywood films, but she hasn’t made much of a headway. She has worked in not-so-popular movies such as ‘Pyaasa’, ‘Katputtli’, ‘Memsahab: Lost In A Mirage’, and was most recently in the 2019 film ‘Good Newwz’ with Karishma Kapoor Khan, Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas: Winner of Miss World 2000, Priyanka became one of the highest paid Bollywood actresses and went on to win two National Film Awards. She is also a recipient of the Padma Shri.

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She has starred in a number of Bollywood film, her most notable appearance being in ‘Don 2’ with Shah Rukh Khan, sung with American rapper Pitbull, became sought-after in Hollywood with her apperance in the FBI drama series, ‘Quantico’, and is now in the news because of her human rights advocacy, counting among her friends people like Malala Yousafzai and feminist writer Gloria Steinem.

She is married to American pop star Nick Jonas and the couple have a baby girl named Malti Marie.

Manushi Chhillar: Crowned Miss World 17 years after Priyanka, Manushi from Haryana was pursuing her MBBS degree (her parents are doctors) when life took a dramatic turn for her. Abandoning her dream to become a doctor, Manushi prepared herself for Bollywood and made her debut alongside Akshay Kumar in ‘Samrat Prithviraj’.

Manushi will be seen next in the upcoming Akshay-Tiger Shroff film ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ and the John Abraham-headlined action thriller ‘Tehran’.

–IANS

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Oscar winner Resul Pookutty campaigns for FTII to drop case against Payal – and it's back to work for Kani

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Oscar-winning sound engineer Resul Pookutty has launched a campaign for the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) to withdraw its cases against the students, including Cannes 2024 Grand Prix winner Payal Kapadia, who had led the historic 131-day protest in 2015 against the appointment of Gajendra Singh Chauhan as the chairman of its governing body.

Taking to Instagram, Pookutty wrote: “FTII must now withdraw the cases against Payal and the other students. It owes them the prestige that has been bestowed upon it.” Kapadia is Accused No. 25 and, as Pookutty pointed out, has to go to court next month for another hearing of the case that has been going on since 2015.

In 2015, FTII was in a state of ferment because of the appointment of Chauhan, a BJP activist whose only claim to fame was that he had played Yudhishtir in the TV serial ‘Mahabharat’.

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Kapadia, who got into FTII on her second attempt in 2012, was one of the leaders of the 131-day protest against Chauhan, who, incidentally, was opposed by a phalanx of Bollywood celebrities, from Rajkummar Rao and Nawazuddin Siddiqui to Anupam Kher, and also by Soumitra Chatterjee and Jhanu Barua.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, whom Kapadia has thanked profusely for being her inspiration in response to his congratulatory message on Sunday, had visited the FTII campus and joined the student protesters in 2015.

As several people pointed out on X after Kapadia’s Grand Prix win, the FTII initiated disciplinary action against her when she led the boycott of classes. Later, FTII cut her scholarship and a foreign exchange grant.

In the same year, the Pune Police filed an FIR against 35 students, including Kapadia, after they held the then FTII director, Prashant Pathrabe, captive in his office. They were protesting against Pathrode’s decision to proceed with the assessment of incomplete student projects of the 2008 batch.

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Even as the call for the withdrawal of FTII’s cases grew louder, it was back to work for Kani Kusruti, who played one of the two Malayali nurses in Kapadia’s debut film, ‘All We Imagine As Light’.

From Cannes the actress went to Kochi, where she was given a cheerful welcome, to join the shoot for T.R. Shamsudheen’s upcoming Malayalam movie, ‘Eyes’.

In Kusruti’s honour, the producer had organised a chocolate cake with an edible image of the moment when Kapadia and her three main female protagonists — Kusruti, Divya Prabha and Charu Kadam — were on the stage celebrating the Grand Prix win this past Saturday night.

–IANS

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Ashoke Pandit lauds PM Modi’s vision for harnessing Indian cinema's soft power

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Mumbai, May 27 (IANS) Ashok Pandit, producer of ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ (2020) and president of the Indian Film and Television Directors Association, has lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his far-sightedness and vision in relation to harnessing the soft power of Indian cinema.

The Prime Minister had dwelt at length on this subject in his exclusive interview with IANS on Monday. He disclosed how he reached out to members of the Hindi film fraternity, knowing fully well that some of them thought differently from him and the BJP, because he wanted to amplify the soft power of Indian cinema across the world.

Reacting to PM Modi’s statement, Pandit told IANS that India is fortunate to have a visionary Prime Minister like Narendra Modi.

“He thinks digital, he turned India into a digital nation,” Pandit said. “He recently honoured influencers with awards and he is the only politician to do that. Then he met people who are into gaming. These are the things that are in vogue and form the ecosystem of entertainment.”

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He added: “At the end of the day, actors, directors, writers and social media influencers are all entertainers. PM Modi is the man of today. Look how he completely changed the way the censor board operates.”

Pandit said PM Modi had an active interest in cinema since the time he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

“Today, the world looks at India. Earlier, we used to look up to the West. Just a few days ago we got three major awards at the Cannes Film Festival. ‘RRR’ won an Oscar for Best Song,” Pandit said to amplify PM Modi’s point about the soft power of Indian cinema. And for getting it, unlike prime ministers in the past, Pandit described PM Modi as “truly a master communicator.”

–IANS

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Shaan, Sukhwinder, Anupam Kher launch ‘Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan’ tracks

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Mumbai, May 27 (IANS) The makers of the upcoming kids’ movie ‘Chhota Bheem and the curse of Damyaan’ released two tracks, sung by playback singers Sukhwinder Singh and Shaan.

While Sukhwinder Singh has crooned the ‘Jamboora’ track, Shaan has lent his voice to the ‘Zara Muskura’ song. Both the songs have been composed by Raghav Sachar.

‘Jamboora’ captures the magical element of the movie. It features Anupam Kher along with Chhota Bheem and his Sena.

‘Zara Muskura’ is a soulful track that sets in positive vibes. The makers of the movie launched the songs at a grand event in Mumbai on Monday. The event was attended by the entire star cast, joined by Sukhwinder Singh and Shaan themselves along with Anupam Kher who plays a pivotal role in the summer entertainer.

The audience witnessed a live performance of the songs by the talented singers Shaan and Sukhwinder Singh. Followed by a magic show that keeps everyone on the edge of their seat.

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Directed by Rajiv Chilaka and produced by Rajiv Chilaka and Megha Chilaka, ‘Chhota Bheem and The Curse of Damyaan’ is written by Niraj Vikram and co-produced by Srinivas Chilakalapudi along with Bharath Laxmipati. The film is all set to hit the theatres on May 31, 2024.

–IANS

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Sharvari wanted to do dance number ever since she dreamt of becoming Hindi film actress

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Mumbai, May 27 (IANS) Actress Sharvari, who will be seen in ‘Munjya’, said she always wanted to perform a big dance number ever since she aspired to become an actress in Hindi cinema.

Sharvari, whose latest track ‘Taras’ from the film dropped on Monday, said: “Ever since I wanted to be a leading lady in a Hindi film, the one thing I always wanted to do was a big dance number! I was always fascinated by them.”

“I have been mesmerised by the leading ladies of Hindi cinema, as well as the dancing icons across generations, who have belted out those big chartbusters that the entire nation has danced on.”

The actress added that cinema is showbiz, and song and dance numbers are important tools for people to decide if they want to watch a film.

“These party tracks have time and again also given recognition and validation to actors who have aced their performance in them!”

“I have only seen established actors or dancing idols getting big dance numbers because they have the pull and the popularity to hook people’s interest,” she added.

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Set to release on June 7, ‘Munjya’, which is directed by Aditya Sarpotdar, revolves around the character of ‘Munjya’, a rooted myth from Indian belief and cultural system.

The film also stars Abhay Verma and Sathyaraj.

Sharvari said she is just one film old and is happy that her producer, Dinesh Vijan, showed such confidence in her.

“It is a great pat on my shoulders that I can do it too and try to have a hit dance anthem to my credit! I loved shooting for Taras… every bit of it.”

Sharvari is praying for ‘Taras’ to become a massive blockbuster song and for everyone to dance on it at clubs, parties, and every occasion.

“For me, to have a big song so early in my career motivates me hugely. It shows that the industry has faith in backing me. That’s a really good feeling, honestly,” she said.

–IANS

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Varanasi-born designer behind Chhaya 'Manju Mai' Kadam's transformation at Cannes

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New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) For those who have seen Chhaya Kadam as the railway platform feminist of ‘Laapataa Ladies’, Manju Mai, her glam avatars at the 77th Cannes Film Festival came as a pleasant surprise.

Kadam shared the spotlight with Payal Kapadia and her fellow actors — Kani Kusruti and Divya Prabha — when the ‘All We Imagine As Light’ director received the Grand Prix, the second most important award at Cannes.

The actress, who’s known for her working-class roles (she plays the hospital cook Parvati in ‘All We Imagine As Light’), first caught the attention of fashion watchers when she attended the film’s world premiere in a handwoven black pearl ‘rangkat’ lehenga from the atelier of Warp ‘N’ Weft designer Sagrika Rai.

Varanasi-born Rai, who has been working in Mumbai since 1987, is best-known for her interpretations of the weaves of her home city. She paired Kadam’s lehenga with a white shirt, black-and-golden striped corset top, and black blazer.

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In an Instagram post, the design house noted that her outfit was “a capitvating choice for an extraordinary event showcasing the seamless fusion of talent and craftsmanship”.

The Marathi actress also sported a traditional Maharashtrian ‘nath’ at the screening, a tribute to both her late mother and her Kanchan Kombdi character in Kunal Kemmu’s ‘Madgaon Express’, which got widely noticed.

For the awards evening, Kadam came attired in a maroon brocade saree paired with a matching full-sleeved blouse. She opted for a minimal makeup look — maroon lips, kohl-rimmed eyes and a maroon bindi.

Her hair was tied in a bun with central partition and she rounded off the look with big golden jhumkas and matching bangles.

–IANS

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