Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Forum rules
Welcome to the India Section of Missosology Forum. This section is frequently visited by Miss India Officials and ofcourse by Miss Indias themselves.
Further , Many Miss India aspirants who visit the forum are the content of discussion below. In such circumstances the moderators won't allow any kind of bashing or use of abusive language.
Please make sure that your posts are above profanity. Repeated offence may earn you a permanent Ban.

Enjoy !

1. Owner or Moderators are not responsible for any member's personal comments/behaviours in the community.
2. or does not take responsibilty of the authencity of the information posted by posters. Reader's discretion is advised.
3. This forum is directly affiliated only to I AM SHE org but NOT to the Femina Miss India.
4. The Missosology Miss India Hot Picks are purely a fan based list of favourites which has got NO influence on the final results of the main pageants.

  • 4

Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Postby pineal » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:50 am


I found this very interesting article on
It's about Miss India 1994 events and about the journey of our Queens
>=p Aish and Sush >=p

Sathya Saran, who at the time edited the Femina magazine, looks back at the pageant that would change the fortunes of the two young women and indeed the aspirations of a newly liberalised economy.

Here's the link ( or read below

The Miss India contest had been a part of Femina's annual calendar since the mid-'60s.


I joined Femina in 1979. I was interested in the show so at some point I decided to volunteer.
I was given the job of receiving people at the airport and ensuring they got to Shanmukhananda Hall (in Sion, central Mumbai) on time for the show.
Since I was also doing the fashion pages of the magazine, I would accompany the contestants to Kala Niketan and help them choose a ghagra-choli and a sari.
After they won, we would pack the winners off with a few sets of clothes purchased at a budget of about Rs 7,000, hand them a ticket and tell them to have fun.
We never expected them to return with the crown.
This was how it was for the longest time.
But in 1992, Madhu Sapre finished third at the Miss Universe pageant.


Unlike the other girls, Madhu had trained with her father.
So when she came back, Pradeep Guha (marketing head of the Times of India group) tried to understand better from Madhu what went into the pageant.
We realised what was going wrong; we used to send these pretty but short girls out there who did not stand a chance against the tall, blonde blue-eyed beauties.
We had to reassess our parameters and put together a programme to train the girls.
The next year we sent Namrata Shirodkar.


She did a great job but ended fourth. But we knew that we were on the right track.
In 1994, we scaled up the contest and took the show to Goa.
We had to go scouting for models to participate in the show.
I would stop girls on the streets who struck me as being model material and ask them if they were interested in participating.

I had heard of Aishwarya (Rai) from Pravin Banker, a make-up man I used to work with regularly.
He had worked with her and he told me that she could be the next Miss India, even Miss Universe!
My first reaction when I heard her name was 'What kind of a name is that?'
But I saw her pictures and sent word asking her if she could join us.
I was told she was still studying.
For two years -- 1992 and 1993 -- there was strong speculation that she would participate and I was keen she did.
Finally in 1994, when she participated, there was brouhaha! By then she was a known face on the modelling circuit. When other models heard of her participation, several of them dropped out.
Everyone said we'd found our Miss India even before the contest had started.
That year there were several talented girls.
There was Jesse Randhawa who was tall and stunning and Komal Rampal who was as beautiful as her brother Arjun is handsome.
In the midst of these beauties, no one noticed Sushmita Sen.
Sush had been spotted at a night club by Ranjan Bakshi, then a senior manager with the Times of India Group.
She had appeared in the magazine when she had modelled for one of JJ Valaya's fashion spreads.
But Sush was still gauche; she didn't have what Ash had.
Aishwarya was instant magic before the camera.
Sushmita, before the camera, was naive but Ranjan saw something in her.
At the contest though, no one really noticed Sush. She was just one of the many girls in the group.
All the backstage hands had their favourites but Sushmita was not among them. She was a dark horse.

Sush was thin, tall and awkward.
No one knew her strength was her speech.
We had only seen her photographs and watched her walk.
No one got the impression of a winner during the qualifying rounds.
Meanwhile, everyone was fawning over Aishwarya. Make-up artistes would shower special attention on her. The judges were leaning towards her.
She won Miss Ten, a title given to someone with the best body in the competition.
Internationally, this is often the decider. Once you win Miss Ten at the Miss Universe, you are as good as home.
But Aishwarya's body wasn't toned; I protested but the other judges shot me down.
I had heard that many of the other contestants were upset because the make-up artistes were concentrating on Aishwarya in between the rounds. Since she was a known model by then, they were naturally partial to her.
But Sushmita was working quietly towards winning the crown.
She told me later that she was confident of winning as long as she made it past the swimsuit round.

It was January 16, 1994, the day of the event!
We'd had some nice evenings that led up to the big day.
There were several celebrities as judges.
Neena Gupta and I were sharing a room.
There were protests outside the venue and we were slightly worried.
But everything went off smoothly.
I used to write the script and everything was going as planned.
Dalip Tahil was the compere and he was reading out of a script.
At the last minute there was a tie.


No one had anticipated this and Dalip was obviously caught off guard.
He said: "Oh my god! It's a tie! Who's tie? My tie? Your tie?"
He had no clue what to say!
There was utter panic backstage. No one had ever imagined there would be a tie!
Aishwarya and Sushmita would have to come up against each other once again.
In the final question round Aishwarya was asked first to pick between Ridge Forester of the American soap Bold and Beautiful, and Mason Capwell of the equally popular soap Santa Barbara, as a potential partner.
She went for Mason because 'he has a very caring side and a terrific sense of humour and that gels with my character.'
Sushmita Sen was asked by judge Ritu Kumar what she knew of the textile heritage of India.
Her winning reply: 'It started off with Mahatma Gandhi's khadi and it's gone a long way since then. But the basics of the textile heritage lies there'.
I was in the audience because I was to write a copy for the next day's edition of The Times of India.
Sushmita acted like she wasn't surprised she had won.
But there was general shock. No one had expected Sushmita to beat Aishwarya! I suppose Francesca Hart came third because of the law of averages.
Soon after the event, Francesca disappeared from the scene. No one knows where she went.


Sushmita and Aishwarya, of course, went on to participate in the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants and made India proud.
In retrospect, everyone agreed that Aishwarya was better suited for Miss World and Sushmita for Miss Universe.
The event ended at around 11 pm and I went about looking in Panaji for some place to type out my story. I found one, typed it out and sent it by fax because there was no email back then.
We were all very tired. I was running a fever and went to bed.
All flights going out of Goa were early in the morning so the hospitality staff made sure we were out of the hotel on time and on the flight!

The thing about Sushmita is that she has great presence of mind and charisma.
She has an amazing memory. She remembers names and she is a great people person.
At the Miss Universe pageant, I am sure she must have met every single judge during the pageant and made sure they remembered her.
Much like her father, Sushmita is very well-spoken and erudite.
We had very little time to train Sushmita. The Miss Universe pageant was to be held in May that year.
She didn't have a chance to train but she modelled a lot for the magazine.
Poor girl was made to pose next to Parryware basins and commodes but she did it all with a smile.
Just before the Miss Universe pageant, Sushmita came to me and cried.
She didn't think she stood a chance because she was dark and thin and had black eyes whereas all the other contestants were tall and blonde.
I told her that she would stand out if she believed in herself.

I was in Goa shooting with (photographer) Rafique Sayed and (model) Meghana Reddy, standing on a high wall as Rafiq was taking some shots of Meghana in Krishna Mehta's clothes.
From a distance, I spotted someone running in our direction. He said something to Rafique who asked me to get down from the wall.
I didn't know what was happening. I insisted he tell me right there and then.
After some persuasion, Rafique finally told me that Sushmita had won!


I could not believe the news; I thought he was playing a prank as he always does.
But it was true and I began jumping in joy right there on the wall, much to Rafique's horror!
After she won the crown, we lost all contact with Sushmita.
That night she was moved into a special suite and then she was tied up with the Miss Universe organisation.
She didn't come back to India for many months because she was travelling the world.
Before her homecoming, I ran into her in Cairo.
She was to speak at the same UN conference I was attending.
I got her number and reached out to her.
She was staying at the Oberoi with a view of the pyramids and I was at the Hyatt on the other side of town.
We met that evening for the first time in months and we spoke the entire night of how her world had changed since then and all the countries she had seen.
In a matter of months she had changed so much. She was more mature and composed.
She was inundated with gifts wherever she went. At a time when video recorders were rare, she had four!
People were giving her diamonds and platinum rings... it was unbelievable.
She too could not contain her excitement but she seemed to have held herself together rather well.
Finally, when she came back, it was such a huge deal!
We went to the Taj in New Delhi where our regional rounds were held earlier. And when she addressed all the bellboys by their names, they were over the moon and were swooning all over her!
She charmed Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dixit and she charmed the journalists.
I was never very comfortable addressing huge gatherings and I was very uncomfortable when I had to introduce Sushmita to the press.
I mumbled some words and let Sushmita take over. She did and how!
Journalists were asking her all sorts of questions.
When they asked her why she wasn't speaking in Hindi, she replied to them in Hindi.
When someone asked her a question in Bengali, pat came the reply in the same language.
She was barely 20 and she was responding to all questions confidently!
That was when I lost my stage fright; I told myself if this young girl could do it, so could I!
Unfortunately, Sushmita hasn't been able to make much of her achievements.
She hasn't made it big in films.
She has done some brilliant things with adoption and has broken new ground, but with the promise she showed and the potential she had, she could have done anything.


Aishwarya dealt with fame much better than Sushmita.
I don't blame Sushmita because when you're young and you are, literally, the queen of the universe, it is difficult to handle that.
Someone has to remind them that this thing lasts only for a year and that they must use it to build whatever they can.
Aishwarya was already half a star so she wasn't exactly new to fame.
Also, unlike Sushmita, Aishwarya wasn't jet-setting.
She came back to India soon after winning the crown because the Miss World organisation flies you out only when you have an appearance to make on their behalf.
She was travelling in and out of Mumbai for the whole year, but it wasn't like Sushmita who was just whisked away.
When you win the Miss Universe pageant, you are pretty much an employee of the Miss Universe organisation.
When Aishwarya returned to India, we had her homecoming procession in Mumbai along Bandra's Carter Road. There was a press meet but she wasn't heckled like Sush was in New Delhi.


Subhash Ghai soon announced that he was to sign her for his next film (Taal, which only released in 1999).
Aishwarya handled the success rather well.
She smartly signed on movies with big names like Mani Rathnam and Sanjay Leela Bhansali among others.
She has been fairly selective about her movies. When critics panned her acting skills, she proved them wrong with a movie like Raincoat (2004).
She has signed some huge endorsements (L'Oreal and Longines are two of the biggest international brands she endorses).
And she has shaped her career carefully and intelligently.
So it isn't surprising that she is still counted among the top heroines of her generation even though she does so few films.

Miss India has often been criticised as a body show.
Being a woman, I didn't want it to be exploitative, and somewhere I was the watchdog.
My contribution to Miss India was to keep it rooted.
Whenever I was with the girls I spoke to them of being aware of being a woman, of being an Indian and projecting yourself with grace and being proud of the fact that you have the brains and beauty, and to not get exploited but rather project it in a way you get worldwide recognition.
Yes, we were aiming for a contest that was a body show.
But to us it was not a body show and I suppose we proved that because the women we sent there were real women and not like the international models whose bodies are sculpted to perfection.
And, look, it has been 20 years already!
As told to Abhishek Mande Bhot/

:hx :hx

:hx :hx
:#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)] :#)]

Last edited by pineal on Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 1994
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:08 pm
Country: India (in)
Reputation: 2655
Real Life Name/Nick: web
Date of Birth: 10 Mar 1994
Gender: Male
Sexual Orientation: Gay
Profession: Designer
Western Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Chinese Zodiac: Dog
Hobbies/Interests: Fashion Writing Music Design Astrophysics Nanotech
Message: les oiseaux gazouillent

  • 3

Re: Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Postby mybadname » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:24 am

I love reading this. How can I forget Sush! I was so young then and I watched the Miss Universe. Her victory is a testament that Asian can overpower the Latinas. Miss Venezuela and Colombia were highly favored to win alongside Miss Philippines who was raised in America. As to Aish, it's a wow when she graced the Miss World. She's perfect to that pageant. It was India all over the world on 1994. Then 2000.....another history for India.
my name is bad but i am good

ELITES are highly regarded as FINEST posters of Missosology.
ELITES are highly regarded as FINEST posters of Missosology.
Posts: 2325
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:07 am
Location: sweden
Country: Sweden (se)
Reputation: 2860
Real Life Name/Nick: ralph
Date of Birth: 19 Nov 1980
Gender: Male
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Profession: engineer
Western Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Chinese Zodiac: Tiger
Hobbies/Interests: reading
Message: hello everyone

  • 1

Re: Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Postby rainiel » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:13 am

Sush to me is the most intelligent Miss Universe finalist to answer to final q&a. Even more intelligent than Lara. Imagine she is young when she answered that question about the essence of being a woman. Though it may not be applicable to women who did not marry or have no kids, that was something an average woman can not just think about.
ELITES are highly regarded as FINEST posters of Missosology.
ELITES are highly regarded as FINEST posters of Missosology.
Posts: 3258
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:08 pm
Location: manila, philippines
Country: Philippines (ph)
Reputation: 1520
Real Life Name/Nick: rain
Date of Birth: 08 Sep 1981
Gender: Male
Sexual Orientation: -----------
Profession: IT
Western Zodiac Sign: Virgo
Chinese Zodiac: Rooster
Hobbies/Interests: miss universe
Message: viola!

  • 1

Re: Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Postby naughtyboy » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:04 am

The glory days of India, loved every piece of it. Sushmita is one of my fav Indian queens.
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:37 am
Country: South Africa (za)
Reputation: 278
Date of Birth: 21 Dec 2008
Gender: Male
Sexual Orientation: -----------
Profession: Chef
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking

  • 1

Re: Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Postby bcdf1930 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:38 pm

:=p :=p :=p
PIONEERS are the most experienced members of Missosology.
PIONEERS are the most experienced members of Missosology.
Posts: 6842
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:00 am
Location: Kochi/Trivandrum
Country: India (in)
Reputation: 4343
Real Life Name/Nick: Anonymous:)
Date of Birth: 23 Nov 1984
Gender: Male
Sexual Orientation: Gay
Profession: IT professional
Western Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Hobbies/Interests: Reading books, browsing Internet
Message: Hi everyone!

  • 2

Re: Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Postby danksa » Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:27 pm

Sush made a history in India when she won as the first-ever Miss Universe! Her poise, confidence and intelligence gave her the big edge over latinas and Europeans that year. She may not be the most beautiful delegate, but her candidness and smartness - without a doubt catapulted her to finish. She was the most intellectual Miss Universe we ever had. I hope she can come to Manila next year and seat as a judge in Miss Universe 2016! Keeping my fingers crossed!!
Where can i send the Bench GC's so you can buy a decent underwear? Act of charity ko na s pagiging basher mo!!!
ELITES are highly regarded as FINEST posters of Missosology.
ELITES are highly regarded as FINEST posters of Missosology.
Posts: 4847
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:52 am
Location: Saudi Arabia
Country: Philippines (ph)
Reputation: 2814
Real Life Name/Nick: DAN
Date of Birth: 21 Dec 1979
Gender: Male
Sexual Orientation: Asexual
Profession: EMPLOYED
Western Zodiac Sign: Libra
Chinese Zodiac: Snake
Hobbies/Interests: Interior designing/cooking
Message: All the best to the message board and more power.

  • 0

Re: Sushmita and Aishwarya's journey- recall by Sathya Saran

Postby Iknowbeauty » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:58 pm

I read start to finish. Very enjoyable read. Many things I did not know. And that last pic of Sush with pearl necklace, white dress, and Miss Universe crown I don't think I have seen that pic before. Its a flattering pic.
Miss Universe India

Meenakshi - Suman - Harnaaz - Sanjana
AMBASSADORS represent their country.
AMBASSADORS represent their country.
Posts: 7647
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:29 am
Country: India (in)
Reputation: 5110
Date of Birth: 15 Oct 2015
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Profession: student
Western Zodiac Sign: Libra
Chinese Zodiac: Dog
Hobbies/Interests: Miss World, Miss Universe
Message: Write a message here

Return to India

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

beauty queens

© Missosology's International Pageant Coverages ©
Mister Supranational Miss Eco International Mister Universal Ambassador
Mister Supranational Miss Eco International Mister Universal Ambassador
Miss Intercontinental Mister International Miss Cosmopolitan World
Miss Intercontinental Mister International Miss Cosmopolitan World
Miss Grand International Face of Beauty International Miss Supermodel Worldwide
Miss Grand International Face of Beauty International Miss Supermodel Worldwide
Mister Global Miss Supranational Miss Earth
Mister Global Miss Supranational Miss Earth
Miss International Miss World Miss Universe
Miss International Miss World Miss Universe
Man of the World World Beauty Queen Manhunt International
Man of the World World Beauty Queen Manhunt International

contact us to advertise with missosology