In a spectacular function held on June 3, Nisha Mirchandani of Staten Island, New York, was crowned Maaza Miss India New York 2006. Nisha has a BBA in Finance and is currently a financial analyst with JP Morgan. Nisha, 25, was declared winner of the 24th Maaza Miss India New York. The first runner-up position went to Pooja Kondabolu, 18, of Long Island, and the second runner-up was Anusha Kambhampaty, 17, of Long Island, New York. The other two finalists in the top-five were Namitha Thanickal of Queens and Khushboo Shah of Manhattan. Maaza Miss India New York is the largest running Indian pageant outside India. Besides. Maaza Beverages, the other major sponsors were Air-India & American Airlines.
Organized by the IFC, a pioneer in organizing pageants and fashion shows, the pageant was held at the prestigious Haft Auditorium of Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.The Indian American Nurses Association was the co-presenter of the event. Thirteen contestants from the New York area were selected after an audition to participate in this year’s event.
The curtain opened with all the contestants to the stage in dazzling Indian outfit. A crowd over eight-hundred people cheered all the contestants with a round of applause. The contestants participated in the Evening gown segment, followed by Talent. During these segments, the audience and the judges got to know more about the contestants and their accomplishments.
The talent segment brought out the best in the contestants as well as the best of the rich traditions of diverse Indian culture. The unique element one could not miss among the items performed was that the vast majority of contestants were second-generation Indian-Americans, and yet most of the items presented were of Indian origin.
Exciting entertainment items were provided by child performer Foram Parmar, Arya Dance Academy, Satrangi Dance Fusion, Youth Group of Hindu Temple of Flushing and Yuva Dance Group. An exclusive fashion show was presented by Anil Das for Karishma.
Then came the announcement of winners. The Best Talent Award went to Shraddha, who had performed a piece from the movie Lagaan on Piano. Anusha Kambhampaty was named Miss Beautiful Eyes; Renita Bakshi was named Miss Photogenic and Bali Bharj was named Miss Beautiful Smile. After a question-answer segment with the five finalists, Anusha was announced as Second Runner-Up, Pooja as First Runner-Up, and Nisha as the winner. The winners will represent New York in the Twenty Fifth Annual Miss India USA to be held later this year in New Jersey. Miss India USA is celebrating its Silver Anniversary this year.
The panel of judges consisted of Dr. Neena Malhotra – Consul Culture, Pandit Satya Narayan Charka – Kathak Exponent, Saadia Samsie – Arya dance Academy, Shekhar Rahate – prominent choreographer, Ming Ho – Miss China USA and Kathereen Pettett of Indian American Nurses Association.
Dharmatma Saran, Founder and Chief Organizer of the event, thanked the community for its support and Dr. Shashi Agarwal, a prominent cardiologist and Official Physician of the pageant, presented appreciation plaques to Mr. Rajagopal of Maaza Beverages, Dalip Nim of Air-India and Theresa Sebastian, President – Indian American Nurses Association for their enthusiastic support in organizing the pageant.
The emcees were Subrina Dhammi and Deep Kaur. Score tabulation was done by Dharmangi Bhatia,CPA.