"దేశ భాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స" - తుళువ రాజు శ్రీకృష్ణదేవరాయ
"dESa bhAshalaMdu telugu lessa" - tuLuva rAju SrI kRshNadEvarAya
Telugu is the sweetest among all languages of the Land - Great Tuluva Emperor Sri Krishnadeva Raya, 16th Century

తెలుగు మాట...తేనె ఊట
TELUGU...a language sweeter than honey

మంచిని పంచుదాము వడపోసిన తేనీటి రూపం లో
తేనెకన్న మంచిదని తెలుగును చాటుదాము వేనోల్ల
ఇదే నా ఆకాంక్ష, అందరి నుంచి కోరుకునె చిరు మాట

"TELUGU - Italian of the East" - Niccolo Da Conti, 15th Century

"సుందర తెలుంగిళ్ పాటిసైతు" - శ్రీ సుబ్రహ్మణ్య భారతి
"suMdara teluMgiL paaTisaitu" - SrI subrahmaNya bhArati
Let us sing in Sweet Telugu - Tamil poet Sri Subrahmanya Bharati, 20th Century

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Telugu gal crowned 'Miss Showbiz India USA'

Special to India-West

GLENDALE, Calif. - Out of a group of six finalists, 25-year-old విలాసిని చల్ల (Vilasini R. Challa) was crowned "Miss Showbiz India USA 2007" during its annual beauty pageant hosted by Pearl Entertainment July 8 at the Alex Theater here.

In addition to being named first runner-up, శిల్ప మామిడి (Shilpa Mamidi) won the title of Miss Beautiful Hair and Most Beautiful Smile. Anuja Shah, who bears a striking resemblance to actress Bebe Neuwirth, was the second runner-up.

The remaining three finalists were Shamika Kaur, Shivani T. Shah and Fatana Zadran. In other categories, Anshita Dhawan won the title of Miss Photogenic while Swati Panchal, who performed a hilarious skit on the way Gujaratis and Punjabis would recite the "Jack and Jill" nursery rhyme, was selected by the judges for Miss Best Eyes.

As the winner of the pageant, Challa received $1500 in cash, a round trip ticket to India, an evening gown by Scala, a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles, a $500 scholarship to the John Robert Powers modeling agency as well as a Bollywood screen test by filmmaker Vikram Bhatt.

Not only will Challa represent the state of California in the upcoming Miss India USA beauty pageant but she will also represent India in the Miss Asia USA beauty pageant and will represent the city of Mumbai on the sister city float in the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Among other prizes she received as the first runner-up, Mamidi was presented with a $1000 cash award and a $500 scholarship to the John Robert Powers modeling agency, which Shah also received along with a $500 cash prize. A similar scholarship went to Dhawan for being named Miss Photogenic.

An accountant who went to work for a small firm in Woodland Hills after graduating from Cal State Northridge with a degree in finance, Challa has plans to continue her education to earn a master's degree in business administration.

The title of Miss Showbiz India 2007 "will expose me to a lot of people whom I probably would have never met in my little accounting world," she confided to India-West. "So I think it will be a great way for me to develop my business skills as well as my personality and my public speaking skills."

For the talent segment, Challa used the music from the film Waqt. "I've been in love with the music ever since I first heard it, and so tonight was a perfect opportunity for me to choreograph it," she said.

As for her trip to India, having won a free ticket, "I'm really looking forward to going to Mumbai," admitted Challa, who is originally from Warangal in Andhra Pradesh, "but I'm really looking forward to seeing my family, if I can, because my grandparents are getting really old. And I'm looking forward to exploring India."

The panel of judges, who scored according to "confidence, grace and style," included actor Christopher Atkins, Hotmail co-founder Sabeer Bhatia, actress Ashvini Bhave, talent agent Azeem Chiba, actress Nisha Ganatra, film director Betty Kaplan, KNX radio anchor Frank Mottek and Personnel Plus president Kim Walia.

At the after-event party at the Chakra restaurant in Beverly Hills, India-West caught up with three of the judges and asked them what had impressed them the most about Challa that made her stand out from the other 15 semi-finalists.

"She was the most consistent of all the girls," Atkins said. "Miss Showbiz India is all encompassing, it's not just a beauty pageant, and she just seemed to have it more than the others. I was actually very pleased that she was the winner."

Chiba claimed Challa was his choice from the very beginning. "She was outright better in all the categories than anyone else who was there," he said. "She was far more personal than anyone else, and that's what clinched it for me."

Bhave said Challa's dance performance, a fusion of Indian classical and modern dance, during the talent segment had impressed her the most. "She was a little different than the others, even in her photographs, and she was confident," she said.

The pageant was billed as an evening of "glitter, glamour and grace" by Pearl Entertainment founder Reshma Dordi, who co-hosted the show with actress Pooja Batra. But this pageant was unlike others in the Indian American community.

By having the event in a conventional theater, that also had balcony seating for the audience, the pageant dispensed with the usual catwalk, which considerably shortened the walk of each semi-finalist as she paraded in front of the judges seated in the orchestra pit.

There were three segments -- the formal wear, regional wear and talent. Unlike other beauty pageants in the past, where the contestants often took considerable time to change between segments and events had to be staged to fill in the time, the Miss Showbiz segments were presented back to back.

In the past, beauty pageants have taken between six to eight hours before the winner is crowned, which happened to Dordi when she was the first crowned "Miss LA India." As a result of her new strategy, the entire Miss Showbiz India pageant lasted slightly less than three hours, from the opening number to the crowning.

"I worked really hard to make it fast-paced and concise," Dordi later told India-West. "We've been training the girls since May...it was basically a combination of various facets that finally got us to a point where the pageant was fast-paced and not bore the audience."

While other pageants have used screens on opposite sides of the stage to give the audience a better view of the proceedings, the sole video camera was usually fixed in place at the rear of the auditorium.

Not only did Dordi have two cameramen on the floor who were able to shoot the pageant from various angles, but she also had incorporated a video camera mounted on a crane that gave stunning visuals from high and low angles.

Prior to the announcement of the six finalists, actress Amisha Patel took center stage as the guest of honor and cautioned the aspiring actresses among the contestants that the entertainment business is not all about glamour.

"In fact, it is a lot of pain, hard work, perseverance and discipline," she said.

At the conclusion of her brief speech, Patel was then called upon to present plaques of appreciation to Hamilton Brewart, who was a co-presenter of the pageant, as well as to more than a dozen sponsors, including Bhindi's Jewelers, which supplied the jewelry for Dordi and Batra.

While Patel was given the honor of crowning the winner, film producer Ashok Amritraj was the evening's chief guest who draped Challa, Shah and Mamidi with their winning sashes. Glendale Mayor Dave Weaver presented the sashes for Miss Photogenic, Miss Best Hair, Miss Best Smile and Miss Eyes.

The judges' scoring was tabulated by Anne Tahim, and the pageant included a fashion show billed as "M," a fashion fantasy by the Mehr Design Studios which included several past winners and runners-up from the Model Search and Miss Southern California India pageants that Dordi has produced in the past.

"That's why the fashions looked even better," Dordi laughed.

Courtesy: India West

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