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Movina Nagarajan and Sulochana Surapu Crowned at IACA Beauty Pageant

August 2006
Movina Nagarajan and Sulochana Surapu Crowned at IACA Beauty Pageant

"No-one has the edge over anyone else," came the confident reply from 18-year old Movina Nagarajan when she was asked, "Do you think a common person has an edge over a celebrity?" at the 2006 Miss India Georgia and Miss Teen India Georgia pageant. Twenty-five young ladies of Indian American origin participated in the beauty pageant on July 22nd at the Gwinnett Civic Center, displaying their exuberant outfits and talents on stage.

The evening began with the girls dancing to a fusion piece set against an elegant turquoise backdrop. This was followed by the president of IACA, Mr. Tushar Sanghvi opening the contest. "Spanning over two decades, this event has helped us bring our talented young ladies together and has helped them develop confidence in public appearances and effective communications," said Mr. Sanghvi. He welcomed the two elegantly dressed emcees for the evening, Dr. Suvrat Bhargave and the charming Parijat Chandra.

During the several weeks of practice, the girls had to learn how to modulate their voice, figure out the right outfit for their western and ethnic costume, attend a make-up session and of course undergo rigorous dance practice sessions for their opening act. Meghna Nagarajan, a previous pageant winner, choreographed the walks for the evening. The formations and walks were refreshing as the thirteen contestants demonstrated poise, confidence and grace in this segment. This was followed by the Miss Teen India participants with Meghan Purohit and Sulochana Surapu debuting with a strong opening.

The Silent Killers provided entertainment by dancing to songs from Chup Chup Ke and Fanaa while the Miss India participants changed outfits for their talent segment. The ladies demonstrated a wide-variety of talents including a motivational speech, a safety demonstration, Bollywood fusion dances and a poetry recitation. Shuchita Bharadwaj did a phenomenal job with a Maharashtrian folk song called "Mungra". Saalam-E-Ishq was revived thanks to Ezrah Gilani's soulful rendition of this evergreen classic. Movina Nagarajan's incorporation of Bharathanatyam and hip hop fusion was beyond impressive; she went on to win the Best Talent act for the evening.

After a short intermission, the ladies continued to glitter with their Indian outfits displaying many of India's latest fashion styles. The Miss Teen India contestants entertained the audience by announcing their name and gave a brief intro about their parents. Similarly, the Miss India Georgia contestants displayed their vibrant outfits and were judged for confidently presenting themselves in front of a large audience. By this round, it was evident who was going to make it to the final round.

Kruti Dance Academy entertained the audience as the judges finalized the top 5 participants in each category and continued to set high expectations for the Atlanta audience. The emcees welcomed all the participants on stage and chatted with them briefly as the scores were being tabulated.

While the audience was eagerly awaiting the results, Parijat and Suvrat thanked the team behind the show including Meenakshi Bhatia, Pallavi Govil and Dina Sheth. Sulochana Surapu, Meghan Purohit, Natasha Vasandhani, Akansha Sharma and Anusha Sthanunathan were the top 5 contestants for Miss Teen India Georgia. Nina Adulkar, Ezrah Gilani, Divya Purohit, Deepti Patel and Movina Nagarajan were selected as the top 5 for the Miss India Georgia segment.

The contestants were asked questions such as: "Should there be a minimum age requirement for competing in pageants?" ""Is it easy or difficult to get rid of a bad habit?" "How can you be a good friend?" "Should your parents be your friends?" "Will having a goal help you become successful?"

This was the "make or break" round for the young ladies as they had to answer the question within a minute and a half. While some of the contestants were a little hesitant, others gave confident replies including Sulochana Surapu who responded, "Parents should be like friends but at the same time should also discipline their kids," ultimately winning the Miss Teen India GA title. Meghan Purohit was declared first runner up, followed by Natasha Vasandani taking second runner up.

In the Miss India GA segment, Ezrah Gilani was announced as the second runner up, with Nina Adulkar taking up the first runner up title. This only meant that Movina Nagarajan was the 2006 Miss India GA winner. Other pageant winners included Divya Purohit who won Miss Congeniality, Natasha Vasandani who was selected as Miss Photogenic and Noor Kapur who was selected Miss Beautiful Smile. The outgoing queens from last year, Nikhat Nazrali (Miss India GA 2005) and Prachi Bharadwaj (Miss Teen India GA 2005) gave their reigning walk as the new winners were crowned.

When asked what was the hardest part of the pageant – the talent, the walks, or the Q&A, Movina replied it was the talent segment. "I practiced about five times a day to perfect it!"

~ Archith Seshadri

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