TIEBREAKS at the Miss India contest,
a lucky charm ? ...

The Miss India contest was first held in 1964, and there were no tiebreaks in the contest until 1993. But since then, there have been 4 tie-breaks in past 11 years, and these tie-breaks have always served a lucky charm for India at international contests.

The first tiebreak at the Miss India contest occured in 1994. It was between its two high-profile winners, Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai. Aishwarya Rai had just entered the Indian modelling scene and taken it by storm. She was the hot favourite to win the title, and even won many special awards, and the preliminary round at Miss India. While Sushmita took some time to get noticed, and only stood 13th in the 1st round, just squeaking through the next round.

A disappointed Aishwarya Rai is crowned Miss India World

Until the final round, Aishwarya had easily won every round, including the top 10 interview round. Sushmita was slowly climbing up the ladder, as she stood 2nd in the top 10 interview round. However Aishwarya faltered on the final question. All 5 finalists had to answer the same question, and the question was "If you could change one event in history, what would it be any why?". Aishwarya Rai said she would be born earlier so she could stop the World Wars from occuring, while Sushmita Sen she would avert the assassination of famous Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Both had the same average score, and for the first time in the history of Miss India, a tie had occurred.

The rules state, incase of a tie, the final round is held AGAIN, and judges rescore the answers of the contestants. On the second occasion, Sushmita gave a shaky answer, but still impressed the judges enough to score an average of 9.41 to Aishwarya's 9.39.

Many people believed that India missed its shot at the Miss Universe crown, when Aishwarya Rai lost the title, but Sushmita stunned the nation when she won the Miss Universe crown later in May that year. Not be outdone, Aishwarya also went to win the Miss World crown in November 1994. Aishwarya is infact considered by many to be the most beautiful living woman, and won the "Most Beautiful Miss World Ever" and "Beauty Olympics 2000" contests at GlobalBeauties.

Diana (right) and Nafisa (center) in Miss India 1997

The second tie at Miss India happened in 1997, between (the late) Nafisa Joseph and Diana Hayden. A tie again occurred in the final round, and the final round was held again, with a new final question. The new final question was "If you could marry a historical figure from the past, who would it be any why?". Nafisa Joseph said Abraham Lincoln, and easily won the crown. When asked about how she felt on losing the crown, Diana said that she "thanked god". Since she was the representative to Miss World she had got a lot more time for preparation. Nafisa could only manage a top 10 showing at Miss Universe, while Diana Hayden went on to win the Miss World crown in 1997.

This was the second time that a tie occurred at Miss India, and a winner of an international contest emerged.

The third time a tie occurred at Miss India was in the 2000. After the host, Malaika Arora declared there was a tie in the final round, she asked the audience not to worry as tie-breaks had always proved a 'lucky charm' for Miss Indias. How right she would eventually be proved! This time, the tie was between Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra. Lara had won every round before the final round, but the gap between her and Priyanka was narrowing. In the top 10 Q&A round, Lara was ahead of both Priyanka and another contestant Diya Mirza but just one hundredth of a point!!

from left to right; Diya Mirza, Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra in Miss India Pageant

The final round, a tie occurred between Lara and Priyanka, and final round was held again. This time, Lara Dutta emerged as the winner, with Priyanka coming in second, and Diya third.

And yet again, the tie-break proved to be a lucky charm, as Lara went on to win Miss Universe 2000, and later that year Priyanka won the Miss World title too! And wait, that is no all! Diya, who was crowned Miss India Asia Pacific at the pageant, also won the Miss Asia Pacific title a few days after Priyanka won Miss World! This was the first time that all three winners at the Miss India contest went on to win their respective titles!

The fourth time that the tie occurred was this year, in 2004. However, it only brought about bad news to begin with. Miss India World, Lakshmi Pandit, had to give up her title because she lied about her age. Both Miss India Universe Tanushree Dutta, and Miss India Earth Jyoti Brahmin, did not win their respective titles. Which leads us to the question;

Will the tie-break serve as a 'lucky charm' again , and help India's Sayali Bhagat win at Miss World? ...

Time has the answer ...

from left to right; Sushmita Sen (Miss Universe 1994), Priyanka Chopra (Miss World 2000), Lara Dutta (Miss Universe 2000), Yukta Mookhey (Miss World 1999), Diya Mirza (Miss Asia Pacific 2000), Diana Hayden (Miss World 1997), Aishwarya Rai (Miss World 1994).

Our thanks to Sujay Prabhu (Mumbai, India)


This anecdote is from the month: NOVEMBER 2004

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