The actor who is soon to anchor and mentor Miss Diva TV series, talks about the importance of international titles
From winning a megamodel competition to becoming the Miss Universe, a successful Bollywood actress Lara Dutta has made a mark in every field. She has to her credit super hit movies like Andaaz, Bhagam Bhag, Partner and Housefull to name a few. The sexy actress turned producer with Chalo Dilli and is all set to make its sequel Chalo China. Married to tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi, Lara was missing in action for two years playing a hands-on mom to her two-year-old daughter Saira. Known for her hosting skills, Lara couldn’t have chosen a better show than Miss Diva to host and mentor!
The beauty pageant Miss Diva is right up your ally...
That’s why I chose to do it. I have been constantly getting offers to judge reality talent hunts including dance shows. But I didn’t jump at them because TV has never been a priority. This show came out of the blue and materialised fast. If you see, after Priyanka (Chopra), Dia (Mirza) and me there have been no international pageant winners. That’s 14 years now! It does not mean the talent is missing, only it needs a little guidance and direction.
Why is the international title eluding us?
I think the aspiration of being a Miss Universe of Miss World is missing. I see that girls participating in the contests are looking either at a career as models in the fashion world or as Bollywood actresses. The international title seems to have lost its sheen for our girls. This show aims to change that. It will showcase to the Indian audiences, the personal journey of a girl, the incredible process of grooming from the time she is chosen to the point when she wins the crown.
Even Sushmita Sen had started I Am She, a pageant for Miss India Universe which was on the same lines.
Yes, she had but I don’t think she is doing it anymore. We have re-branded and repackaged it completely. We are creating a new property. Internationally too, what the pageants are looking for has changed dramatically in the last 14 years. The requirements for a Miss World is different from that of a Miss Universe, so you cannot hold one contest across the board and send a girl randomly. For Miss Universe, they look for a more vocal personality. We have accordingly and carefully chosen the contestants, who fit what the pageant is looking at.
Have you started shooting for it?
We have and I must tell you it’s great interacting with the girls on a daily basis and part of my job unfortunately is the elimination process, which is the hardest. I know exactly how much they want this to happen.
Tell us about the sequel to Chalo Dilli...
It’s called Chalo China and has Vinay (Pathak) and me reprising our roles from the earlier film but the story is completely different. I am also producing a couple more films, in which thankfully I am not acting!
You had been missing in action for the last two years...
My daughter was my top-priority. Now she is two-and-a-half years old and has started school. Now, I am a bit free and ready to get back in action.
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