Jury-member thought Priyanka was 'too-dark' to be crowned Miss India
Priyanka Chopra wasn't the obvious choice for the "Miss India" title 18 years ago as one jury member felt her complexion was "too dark", says a new book on the star who turned 36 yesterday. In "Priyanka Chopra: The Incredible Story of a Global Bollywood Star", Pradeep Guha, one of the mentors of contestants for that year's pageant, disclosed details regarding this. Here's more.
Priyanka Chopra won Miss World title in 2000
Then 17, Priyanka took part in the beauty contest from Bareilly and emerged as the Femina Miss India World 2000 runner-up. Lara Dutta was crowned Femina Miss India Universe, while the second runner-up Dia Mirza won the Femina Miss India Asia Pacific title. All three women went on to clinch the title in their respective categories, Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss Asia Pacific.
Priyanka never made a mistake twice, says Guha
"I was always very certain about Priyanka and as I said this woman never made a mistake twice," Guha is quoted in the actor's biography by Aseem Chhabra. "She kind of always improved on herself. I knew that she would give in 200% if she gets in," Guha says in the Rupa Publications' book. He says he was impressed with Priyanka from the beginning.
Who were the judges at that time?
The contestants faced a range of celebrity judges, actors Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Waheeda Rehman, cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin, media mogul and film producer Pritish Nandy, and painter Anjolie Ela Menon. Then founder-chairman of Zee Media Subhash Chandra, fashion designer and perfume queen Carolina Herrera, and Marcus Swarovski, the great-great-grand-nephew of the founder of the Austrian crystal company, were other judges.
Another mentor noticed Priyanka at the contest itself
Guha said Priyanka initially needed a little confidence, adding, "By the time contest started she seemed a lot more collected and definitely more confident of herself." Reason for this could be that she was an outsider, compared to other contestants, including Lara who was already a model, he added. Another mentor, Sathya Saran, says she noticed her at talent contest because she sang beautifully.
Lara Dutta won the Miss India title
When the results were announced, there was a tie between the top contestants Priyanka and Lara. "This time, they were better prepared and additional questions were posed to both Priyanka and Lara. Then, Lara Dutta won the Miss India title," the book says.