Pradeep Guha: The Father of Indian Pageantry
Every fighter has the unswerving support of his mentor, and without a guide, finding direction of an unknown path is like entering in a bottomless jungle. India witnessed a legendary mentor back in 90’s. The man who chiselled the crowns for the beauty queens in an unmatchable way, and is still remembered as the “Kohinoor” India had two decades back. He is Pradeep Guha!
Pradeep Guha celebrates his birthday today, and on this occasion I would like to dedicate a heartfelt gratitude to him for the gift he has adorned India with, in most insuperable way possible. It was the year 1991 when Pradeep Guha took over the charge of organizing Femina Miss India. In 1992, which was his second year of managing Femina Miss India, Pradeep Guha gifted India with Madhu Sapre, the blazing fire who lit the hopes and passion of Indian pageantry.
Madhu Sapre represented India at Miss Universe 1991 and was adjudged as the second runner up at Miss Universe pageant. She was also 1st Runner Up in Swimsuit Competition, 1st Runner Up in Evening Gown and 4th Runner Up in Interview Round. Despite of a graceful representation, Madhu could not bring the first Miss Universe crown to India, and it made Pradeep Guha more ambitious to bring India on the map of pageantry, like no one else.
So when Madhu came back from the pageant, Pradeep Guha tried to understand what went into the pageant. Madhu Sapre was as enthusiastic as Pradeep Guha to bring India in the game of pageantry. She narrated all the whereabouts and details precisely and the duo became the game changer for India since then!
Next year after Madhu Sapre, Namrata Shirodkar was sent as India at Miss Universe 1993. Namrata stood out beautifully amongst tall and blonde blue-eyed beauties and successfully landed in Top 6. Though Namrata could not win the crown but the team knew that India is on the right path.
In 1994, Femina Miss India moved to Goa in courtesy of Mr. Guha. The team scrutinized all the models and tried to contact as many gorgeous models as possible for participating in Femina Miss India. This was how the organization gained evergreen beauties like Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen. While Aishwarya was an early favourite of winning Miss India crown, Pradeep Guha saw something in Sushmita Sen, which could help India win its first Miss Universe crown. Days passed by and India finally won both Miss World and Miss Universe crowns in the same year.
History repeated itself in 2000 and in a more enhanced way, when all the three titleholders of Femina Miss India went on to win their respective international titles by winning Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific. Wow! Like they say, rest as we know is history! 🙂
Since 1991 to 2002, Pradeep Guha produced two Miss Universe winners through Lara Dutta and Sushmita Sen, four Miss World winners through Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden, Yukta Mookhey and Priyanka Chopra, three runner ups at Miss International through Diya Abraham, Shwetha Jaishanker and Shonali Nagrani, one Miss Asia Pacific through Dia Mirza and placed consistently at Miss Universe pageant without break for 9 years.
During Mr Pradeep Guha’s mentorship, Femina Miss India pageant was always televised live and included eminent celebrities in the jury panel. It was not just another Bollywood Award show like it is today.
Without his guidance India would just have been yet another sash in pageantry. Like Osmel Sousa said, when India enters in Top 5 it is time for other nations to pack their bags, and this was all possible due to Pradeep Guha’s enlightenment, hard work and dedication. India literally found a gem in the legendary person and for this we salute him. Happy Birthday, Mr. Pradeep Guha! Thanks for making India so much proud. 🙂