… bomb scare fails to stop pageant
Aspiring biologist and prolific dancer, Roshini Boodhoo, narrowly eased ahead in the competition from fiercely talented Shivanie Latchman to win the title of Miss India Worldwide early yesterday morning. And this was despite a bomb scare that threatened to cancel the event.
Only three of the ten contestants had taken the stage in the talent segment when the hosts of the evening asked everyone to evacuate the auditorium.
No explanation was offered, but the parked fire tenders outside and the imminent arrival of the bomb squad, including sniffer dogs, made clear it that there was a bomb-scare.
Most of the patrons of the evening lingered for ninety minutes or so before the all clear was given to return in and the show continued.
Leading members of the Apsara group, which staged the event, maintained their cool and were convinced that the bomb scare was a malicious act on the part of their competitors.
At least that was deduced when hostess Kiran Mattai returned to the stage and wryly retorted “Dem a watch we.”
From the start of the evening show, Boodhoo – who host Gavin Ramnarain suggested had rounded up supporters in buses and transported them to the National Cultural Centre – was a crowd favourite. That confidence carried her throughout the different stages of the competition.
Boodhoo, 24, is best known for her skillful dance moves when she travels across the country performing with the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, but when it came to competition time, she was a disappointment.
The many trappings she brought on stage did not help her performance from being lost on the audience. She emerged from the ceiling in a chair with guitar and all, and then abruptly went into fantastic Indian moves to the song “I like to move it.” But it was when she decided to switch things up, changing songs and dance moves that she became weary to the eyes.
Let’s hope that she can really concentrate on a solid talent item during the international competition, which is slated for Dubai on April 17.
From the get go, her competition was always Shivanie Latchman, a 23-year-old entrepreneur and dance choreographer. Her talent piece told the story of a seductive woman on the prowl. She first started off with an endearing interpretive dance to the title song from the 1964 movie Rajkumar and then burst into “Hoton meh aisi baat” from the 1967 movie, Jewel Thief.
Originally performed by Vyjayantimala in the movie, Latchman perfected what is easily one of the best choreographed classical dances items of the night.
The drama continued with a male voice accusing her of being unfaithful, and of being a “Don.” Predictably, she transformed into a sexy siren and emerged to perform the provocative dance item to the title song from the modern version of the hit movie “Don.”
It was no surprise when the judges handed her the prize of “Best Talent.”
“Her talent was one of difference, class, creativity and stellar execution. I have judged many of these pageant and you were simply breath-taking,” said choreographer and pageant organiser, Joel Ghansham.
Boodhoo and Latchman landed in the Top Five easily and were joined by Mohini Roopchand, Divya Sieudarsan and Christine Comacho.
Their total scores from the evening gown, talent and Indian wear segments were to be added to their scores for the answers to the final question to determine the winner.
It was here that the surprise came as none of the finalists answered the question satisfactorily, so it must have been that Latchman was left with second place because Boodhoo could have scored more on the other aspects of the competition, such as Indian wear, for which she chose a beautiful scarlet red wedding sari.
The finalists were asked how they would convince Guyanese to stay in Guyana rather than migrate.
This was perhaps the round for Comacho, who has stepped out in international
model competitions before to grab the crown, but she couldn’t deliver when it came down to crunch time. She was another lightning rod throughout the completion. She was the stateliest of the delegates, except when she seemed nervous in introducing herself.
Her talent – a Persian belly dance – brought the house down, and there was no doubt she would be a finalist.
Roopchand, from the Essequibo Coast, was a delight in her talent piece. She performed a hilarious drama in Creole language about reasons for skipping the country and leaving behind her husband.
The other finalist, Divya Sieudarsan, failed to bring any zest to her talent piece in which she tried to incorporate Latin dance moves to Indian songs, among them “Kaisi Paheli Zindagi” which was performed by Indian screen icon Rekha in the movie Parineeta.
Trisha Persaud won the Miss Photogenic prize, while Stephanie Singh landed the Prize of Best Smile. Boodhoo was judged by her fellow contestants as Miss Congeniality.
The event included breathtaking performances by the 2009 winner of Miss Indian Worldwide Nikitasha Marwaha and the Apsara dancers.
Among the judges were Minister of Human Services and Social Security Priya Manickchand and Kamini Persaud, the wife of Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud.
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