Six hundred enthusiastic viewers applauded Bhavna Toor of Manhattan as she was crowned Miss India New York 2001. Bhavna, 22, a senior at Hunter College majoring in Political Science and Economics, plans to become a Human Rights Lawyer, so that ” I can become a potent force fighting against human rights violations of oppressed people all over the world.” “I want to prove that a beauty queen is not just someone with a pretty face”, said Bhavna after winning the coveted crown, “but a strong, intelligent and courageous women that lives her life with vigor and passion, and thus becomes a beauty queen in every sense of the word.”In the same spirit, Bhavna donated her prize money of Rupees twenty five thousand for earthquake victims.
Organized by the India Festival Committee, pioneer in organizing pageants and fashion shows, the pageant was held at the prestigious Queens Theatre In The Park on February 10. After auditioning over 100 aspirants, twenty contestants were selected from New York/New Jersey area to participate in the pageant this year.
Ritu Upadhyay, the reigning Miss India Worldwide, who acted as Guest Host started the pageant by observing silence for in memory of earthquake victims in India. Than the curtain opened with a scintillating dance “mehboob mere” by the outgoing Miss India New York Asha Hanif who led all the contestants to the stage. Than all contestants paraded themselves before an enthusiastic audience who kept cheering the contestants who were dressed in dazzling Indian dress followed by the evening gown segment.
The talent segment, performed by top ten contestants, brought out the best in them and the best of the rich traditions of diverse Indian culture. The surprising element one could not miss among the items performed, was that most of the contestants were second generation Indian Americans, and almost every one presented an item that was basically of Indian origin.
One of the highlights of the pageant was a dazzling fashion show presented by Fashion Designer, Feroze, who also choreographed the pageant. Indian and American models wearing exclusive designer wear creations by Feroze kept the audience enthralled. The law offices of Rani Emandi sponsored the fashion show. Teena Sookhramwala, Sonali Vyas, Ankeeta Saran and Sourabh Jain provided other entertainments.
Than came the moment of announcement of winners. The Best Talent Award went to Amrita Shergill, Rasmi Prabhu got the Miss Friendship while Miss Popularity went to Avani Banker. The top five finalists were Reena Puri, Sonia Badreshia, Amrita Shergill, Sheetal Talsania and Bhavna Toor. After a question/answer with the top five finalists, Sheetal Talsania was announced as Second Runner-Up, Sonia Badreshia as the First Runner-Up and Bhavna Toor as the winner.
On behalf of the India Festival committee, Dr. Shashi Agarwal, presented a draft for Rupees twenty five thousand for the Prime Minister Relief Fund. Prakash Parekh presented a draft for Rupees twenty thousand to the winner who donated it to Prime Minister relief Fund. Ganga Mukkavilli, CPA, did the tabulation. The panel of judges included Anna Ling, Rakesh Capoor, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Ayesha Haqi, Dr. Kavita Sinha, L.Rajagopal and Krishna Patel. TV Asia, Jewels India Gems, Ravi Chopra, Karishma Boutique, Feroze, Bibi magazine, Moontime Corner, Rakesh Anand, Arvind Bhandari and Sam & Raj, furnished prizes to the winners. Dharmatma Saran, Founder and Chief Organizer of the pageant thanked everybody for their enthusiastic support especially Maaza Beverages, Air-India and TV Asia for their sponsorship.