BY VEENA RAO
Atlanta, GA, October 2, 2017: Asha Udvadia was crowned IACA Miss India Georgia 2017, while Kritika Kolla won the IACA Miss Teen India Georgia 2017 and Manisha Sharma the IACA Mrs India Georgia 2017 title at a glittering ceremony held at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth on September 24. The closely contested pageant with the theme, ‘Dream, Believe, Achieve & Sparkle’, saw a multitude of talent, striking confidence and beauty on stage. The winners will now participate in the national Miss India USA, Miss Teen India USA and Mrs India USA contests.
The pageant is organized by India America Cultural Association (IACA) annually. This year’s pageant team was led by Kiran Agnihotri as Program Director, co-Director Dr Lakshmi Rao, Sonjukta Halder, Shally Venkatesh, Prem Rahman and Shyam Bharmbhat. The music score for the program was compiled by Arijit Chowdhury.
According to Kiran Agnihotri, in the eyes of the organizing team, each contestants was a winner, as they all had something unique and beautiful that they added to the pageant.
The first runners-up were Anvita Sangawar (Miss India Georgia), Aarni Iyer (Miss Teen India Georgia) and Parvathi Chikyala (Mrs India Georgia).
The second runners-up included Henna Mian (Miss India Georgia), Varsha Lolabattu (Miss Teen India Georgia) and Malika Dumpala (Mrs India Georgia).
The preliminary awards went to Aarya Khurana (Best Hair), Varsha Lolabattu (Ms Photogenic-Teen), Manisha Sharma (Ms Photogenic Miss & Mrs category), Aarni Iyer (Ms Congeniality- Teen), Anvita Sangawar (Ms Congeniality- Ms &-Mrs category), Sonya Dannerberg (IACA MsPersonality – Teen), Henna Mian (IACA Ms Personality- Ms & Mrs category & Best Talent)
The contest included an evening gown round, an Indian attire round and a Q&A segment for the Mrs category and a talent round for the Miss and Teen segments.
The talent round showcased the contestants’ skills beautifully and the audience cheered the loudest as the girls danced, sang, presented monologues, played the flute, the violin and the piano, and even put up a demo of taekwondo moves to defend oneself against an attacker.
Five top contestants were chosen from each section of the pageant (except the Miss category which had only six contestants, so there was no elimination round). The top contestants then had to pick a judge’s name from a bowl, and answer the question asked by that judge. The contestants took a diverse range of questions that tested their confidence and presence of mind. Some of the questions were: Do you consider yourself better than your husband? In your relationship, who is more the giver and who is the taker? Should the wife change her last name or keep her maiden name? Do you think social media has helped or hurt our society? Besides climate change, what is the biggest threat to planet earth today.
The pageant’s proceedings were held together with some great emceeing and singing by Atlanta Idol winner Neil Banerjee who was aided by the beautiful Sonali Patel who was first-runner up in the Miss India Georgia category last year.
Another highlight of the evening was some peppy singing by Atlanta entertainer Shantanu Kar and an energetic dance performance by Prem Rahman’s troupe.
The 11-member panel of judges included Dr Suvrat Bhargave, Dr Sandra J. Jordan, Sadaf Farooqui, Sudakshina Mukherjee, Joyita Hegde, Prabha Raghava, Atin Majumdar, Dr Sudeshna Nandi, Shaveta Jain, Surinder Bedi and Rahim Paracha.
The winners were crowned by last year’s title holders. IACA chairperson Dr Paddy Sharma thanked the participants, program directors, emcees, judges, parents and the sponsors.