Neha Ganguly is INMumbai's Miss Mumbai 2003

MUMBAI: It was the night when budding beauty queens had their first brush with glamour and Bollywood as they hobnobbed with Bollywood queens, showman producers, liquor barons, fashion designers and powerful editors.

Neha Ganguly was crowned as "White Mischief Miss IN Mumbai 2002" by film actress Manisha Koirala at the grande finale of IN Mumbai's annual beauty and personality pageant held at Hotel Tulip Star, Juhu, on 8 February 2003. Neha also won the Viewers Choice award by polling the maximum votes in the online and offline contest.

Two other contestants Liesel and Sheetal were given the runners up crown even as chief guest film producer Boney Kapoor, IN Mumbai bigwigs Ravi Mansukhani, Ramindar Singh, George Sebastian and TD Joseph looked on.

Suchitra won the Critics Choice award and Miss Perfect Ten award wherein media representatives and invited guests exercised their vote at a specially organised preview show at Onyx RestoBar in Mumbai. Saba was given the Miss Beautiful Complexion award and Nutan was awarded the Miss Beautiful Smile award.

Speaking to indiantelevision, a jubilant Neha says: "When my name was announced, I felt as if the entire world stopped. I owe my success to the extensive training of 20 days which the IN Mumbai team provided us. I would like to thank ace photographer Haider Ali who prepared my portfolio and urged me to participate in the contest."

"I also appreciate the efforts of talentvision promoter Pranab Gandhi, Planet Health's choreographer Shakir Sheikh and fitness specialist Happy Singh for providing invaluable tips to all the contestants," she adds.

Neha, the name implies "eyes" according to the brochure, is a post-graduate in commerce and will be pursuing a law degree. She admires Adolf Hitler, Julia Roberts and David Beckham. Her favourite movie is the Shahrukh Khan-Kajol starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. She feels that life is a mirror and adds that if one smiles, people around will reciprocate. About her favourite city Mumbai, she admires the never give up attitude of Mumbaikars.

Neha had contested in the Navy Ball held in December 2002 but couldn't progress beyond the final eight stage. "The difference this time around is the training," she claims.

The contestants were groomed by experts in various aspects such as fitness, beauty, personality development, ramp walk and diets. Added to the above are comprehensive sessions on effective speaking, meditation and Art of Living sessions. Prajakti Deshmukh conducted the Art of Living sessions; Dr Mukesh Batra advised the young ladies on important aspects of health; Dr Rekha Sheth advised the contestants on skin and hair care; Harish Bhatia did the hair colouring and styling.

The IN Mumbai show could be confused with an MTV event as the show was compered by VJs Nafisa and Shernaz. However, the duo needed lessons in diction as they couldn't even pronounce the names of the judges properly leading to a lot of embarrassment to the distinguished panel of judges.

The judges' list included: Hiranandani group MD Niranjan Hiranandani, Shaw Wallace director Niranjan Thakur, All India Industries Association chairperson Vijay Kalantri, BR Films MD Ravi Chopra, fashion designer Shaina NC, Savvy magazine editor Andrea Costabir, IN Mumbai news editor in chief Ramindar Singh, culinary specialist Tarla Dalal, Manisha Koirala and Boney Kapoor.

During the show, MTV VJ Sophiya and Sukhdev performed on the stage and belted out remix numbers of popular Hindi songs. However, the show management left a lot to be desired - especially the audio!

All in all, the night belonged to the contestants and we shall be definitely be hearing more about them in the near future.

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