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 <<CityNews Main Send Flowers to India!

 We invite associations, organizations and clubs from cities around the US to send in press releases accompanied with high resolution photos for publication in City News. Contributions may be sent to

Send Gifts to India!

Shivani Gandhi Crowned Ms India GA 08
Avanti Patel is Ms Teen India GA 

The winners: L to R Ms Teen India GA Avanti Patel and Ms India GA Shivani Gandhi.
Top Three Teens: L to R Ms Teen India GA winner Avanti Patel, First Runner-up Sonali Shah and Second Runner-up Rucha Shrotriya
Top five finalists in the Ms India GA contest. L to R Second Runner-upTina Thapar,  Shruti Khanna, First Runner-up Sonya Thaper. Smita Solanki and Ms India Ga Shivani Gandhi.
L to R: Pageant director/emcee Anita Gupta, emcee Sandy Verma and pageant coordinator/emcee Sonia Seernani.
L to R: Sonia Seernani, Anita Gupta and IACA President Surinder Bahl.

Photos by Bikash Mitra

Shivani Gandhi, an 18-year-old freshman at Georgia State University was crowned Ms India GA at a glittering ceremony held at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center July 19. Avanti Patel, a 14-year-old rising sophomore at Alpharetta High School won the Ms Teen India GA title. The annual beauty pageant was organized by the India America Cultural Association (IACA).

The winners will represent Georgia in the Ms India USA and the Ms Teen India USA pageants later this year.

Sonya Thaper was first runner-up and Tina Thapar second-runner up in the Ms India GA pageant. In the Teen Ms India GA segment, Sonali Shah was first runner-up and Rucha Shrotriya second runner-up.

Shivani Gandhi, a Bharat Natyam dancer of repute and a two time Boogie Woogie Chalo America Atlanta regional winner and national contestant, also won the Ms Talent and the Ms Photogenic sub contests. Sonali Shah won the Best Eyes and the Perfect 10 contests, while the Best Smile title went to Sonya Thaper. Minutha Mahadevaiah was named Ms Congeniality.

Around 500 people attended the pageant, which showcased the amazing talents, poise and confidence of the participants. The young women were judged for poise, grace, talent, confidence, style and talent. There was an evening gown segment, a talent segment, and an Indian outfit round. In the talent round, while most participants danced to Bollywood hits, a few tried to fuse classical Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam elements and belly dancing to their performances. There was also a piano recital and some baton and flag twirling.

Five participants from each pageant were selected to move on to the finals. These ten top scorers then randomly picked their judge’s name from a bowl for their Q&A round.

The confidence, composure and intelligence of the young ladies in the Q&A round was far beyond their age as they answered the question posed to them by their judge for the evening. The questions ranged from issues like giving back to the community to naming their role model in Atlanta to the biggest crisis facing America today.

The over four-hour long program ended with the crowing of the new queens by last year’s winners, outgoing Ms India GA Roshni Devlia and outgoing Ms Teen India GA Ruhee Gadhia.

The pageant was directed and partially emceed by Anita Gupta. Sonia Seernani, who was contest coordinator, also doubled as emcee during the first half of the show. Sandy Verma was the other emcee for the evening. The hard work of the team showed in the results- a very professionally conducted pageant with attention paid to every little detail.

The amazingly talented Prem Rehman and his troupe entertained the audiences with high-octane dance numbers.

The judges for the pageant were Timmi Verma, Jessy Lall, Mrunalee Patil, Anil Khatod, Hardeep Melamed, Tony Patel, Sheetal Desai, Anish Patel, Komal Seernani, Kelly Mendez, Ranee Sharma, Nima Wadhwani and NRI Pulse editor Veena Rao.

IACA President Surinder Bahl, in his address, thanked the contestants, parents, coordinators and the emcees for putting together a wonderful evening. “It is great to be Indian-American, but do not lose your (Indian) heritage,” was his advice to young, second generation Indian-Americans.

Paddy Sharma, vice-president of the IACA board of directors, commended the team effort that went into the program and exulted in the fact that it was the 19th year that the cultural association was organizing the beauty pageant.

The tri-colored torch was lit during the evening. Over 1000 people will carry the torch around Atlanta until it reaches the Gwinnett Civic Center on August 16th where the annual Festival of India will be held to celebrate India’s Independence Day.

A sari clad Claire McLeveighn, director of external affairs and international relations for the City of Atlanta, was a guest at the pageant.


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