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Leggy beauties stand taller with crowns on glitzy night
timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 26 June, 2017

Perhaps the most under rated quality of a beauty pageant is its ability to make geography fashionable. If not for Miss Trinidad and Tobago unfailingly sashaying down the Miss World ramp every year, for instance, it's safe to assume many Indians may not have learnt of the distant, dual-island Caribbean nation. Sunday night, too, similar discoveries about their own motherland were made by a young audience at Andheri's Yash Raj Film Studios where it rained leggy beauties from all 30 states of India, including the nascent Telangana, and the oft-forgotten Seven Sisters of the Northeast. As these svelte, spray-tanned contestants of fbb Colors Femina Miss India 2017, co-powered by Rajnigandha Pearls, lined up in heels and cocktail gowns, it was as if a dusty old national map had just received a spiffy, haute couture update.

For the first time in the event's 54-year history , the participants of what's easily the most anticipated look fest of the year were divided into four zones and mentored by celebrities representative of those zones, including Bollywood star Neha Dhupia (north zone), model Waluscha D'Sousa (west), former Miss India Parvati Omanakuttan (south) and actor Dipannita Sharma (east). Incidentally, just as in Bollywood, the north prevailed in the pageant too. Haryana's Manushi Chhillar, a budding doctor who felt the ban on surrogacy unnecessary, was crowned fbb Colors Femina Miss India World 2017, while Jammu & Kashmir's Sana Dua, a law student who believes triple talaq should be abolished, and Bihar's Priyanka Kumari, a techie, were the runners-up.

All three were earnestness personified in their replies. To the final question: "You have spent 30 days with your 30 fellow contestants from 30 states of India. What learnings would you take back with you?" Chhillar replied: "I have learnt that the only certainty is uncertainty and that I can change the world." Dua said she was going to take back the essence of every culture and the essence of the warrior spirit of each contestant with her. In a first for the event, the three winners were crowned in Indian wear. Interestingly, the semi-final round threw up a few honest, no-frills answers that were a refreshing change from pageant-honed righteousness.

Keeping the breezy evening flowing with a steady supply of jibes were hosts Karan Johar, who came armed with his usual quiver of razor-sharp witticisms and Riteish Deshmukh, he of the malleable face and impeccable timing.

With the exception of the reigning Miss World, Stepha nie Del Valle, all the other judges — including actors Arjun Rampal, Vidyut Jamwal, Bipasha Basu and Ileana D'Cruz, producer-director Abhishek Kapoor and ace designer Manish Malhotra — suffered the duo's endless ribbing. For one, the hosts adorned each member of the jury with a sash bearing a film title representing their respective quirks.

The evening's highlight reel also boasted a surprise cameo by actor Ranbir Kapoor, who will be seen playing a young detective in the forthcoming film 'Jagga Jasoos'.