Two days ago, Adline Castelino, Miss India Universe 2020 and India’s representative at the 69th Miss Universe pageant in Florida, USA, created history. After Celina Jaitley’s fourth runners up placement in the pageant in 2001, she became the first Indian delegate to get a Top 5 placement at Miss Universe after two decades and finished as the third runners up.
In one of her interviews during the pageant, Adline was asked if she will be seen in Hindi films after the pageant, she had said she hasn’t decided anything yet but it’s mostly a natural progression for many Indian contestants in beauty pageants. And that is a fact.
Sushmita Sen, Juhi Chawla, Lara Dutta are amongst the many beauty pageant contestants who have had successful careers in Bollywood after their beauty pageant wins, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra Jonas are two examples of pageant successes that went on to become global film icons. But you need not be a pageant winner to make a career in Bollywood. Even contestants who fail to get a win, make their way here and sometimes make a successful career out of it. Let’s have a look at some of the actresses from the younger generation who have been a part of these beauty pageants.
Rakul Preet Singh
Rakul is one of the most successful and busiest actresses in the Hindi film industry right now. And not just that, she is also balancing a successful career across languages as well, in Telugu and Tamil. But the De De Pyaar De actress actually faced the limelight of showbiz for the first time in the Femina Miss India pageant in 2011, where she placed fifth and also won five sub-titles, including the titles of the Fresh Face, Beautiful Smile and Miss Talented.
This beauty queen’s Instagram bio says it all. Her ambition to conquer the universe was way stronger than her passion for acting. In 2011, Urvashi won the title of Miss Tourism World and Miss Tourism Queen Of The Year 2011. She rejected many Bollywood offers after that since she wanted to focus on Miss Universe. In 2012, she finally won the Miss India Universe title, but had to relinquish it since she didn’t meet the minimum age requirement. After that, she went on to make her Hindi film debut with Singh Saab The Great, opposite Sunny Deol. But that didn’t stop her from giving her dream another try. She came back to the same pageant in 2015, and won it again, earning the right to represent India at Miss Universe 2015. However, she went unplaced there.
This stunning actress who is creating waves in Bollywood with every performance of hers, actually is a pageant veteran herself. But she is a perfect example of the fact that you don’t need to win or go international to represent your country to make a successful career in showbiz. Before her film debut, Disha participated in Femina Miss India Indore contest in 2013 where she placed as the first runner up.
She is the last winner from India in the Big 4 pageants of the world. In 2017, Manushi brought the blue crown back home 17 years after Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s victory in 2000. Manushi charmed everyone with her beauty and her brains at the pageant held in China and two years later, she was signed by YRF as a fresh talent. She is now all set for her debut opposite Akshay Kumar in Prithviraj. She plays Princess Sanyogita in the film and so much so is her talent that even before the release of her debut film, she has reportedly bagged her second project, a social comedy opposite Vicky Kaushal directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya.
Currently Pooja is on a professional high. Her last releases got success at the box office, she has her kitty full with big projects and she is working with some big A-listers in Bollywood like Salman Khan in Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali, Ranveer Singh in Cirkus and Prabhas in Radhe Shyam. However, Pooja’s journey began in 2009 when she participated in Miss India contest but was eliminated early on. She continued her pageant journey by participating in Miss Universe India contest the next year where she placed second runners up.
This Go Goa Gone actress made her debut with the 2011 film F.A.L.T.U. The film featured Jackky Bhagnani in the lead and was choreographer-director Remo D'Souza's debut directorial. But before entering films Puja had participated in Miss India 2007, where she earned the title of Miss India Universe and went on to represent India in Miss Universe 2007. She ended up finishing in the Top 10 there.
Continuing the legacies of the ‘Pooja’ name, Pooja Chopra also made her way into Bollywood after making her name in the pageant world. She went on to feature as the female lead in Vidyut Jammwal’s Commando and Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyyary. But before that she won Miss India 2009 contest and went on to represent India at Miss World 2009. A few days before the final coronation night, Pooja sprained her ankle, but still she went on to participate in the final night with a cast on her leg and placed amongst the Top 16 finalists. She also became the first Indian recipient of the prestigious ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ title at the event.
Image source: SpotboyE archives