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Puja pageant picks top three

Pond’s Pujor Nandini 2017 winner Patrali Hazra flanked by first runner-up Ritu Bhattacharya (left) and second runner-up Maitrayee Mullick.

The evening of October 15 was made memorable for Patrali, Ritu and Maitrayee, who had lined up at The Lalit Great Eastern with a dozen others for the finale of Pond’s Pujor Nandini 2017 in association with Anandabazar Patrika and Ebela. In a couple of hours, their faces lit up when the 20-something trio snatched the three top spots. “I can’t believe it! The hard work has paid off,” said Patrali, 20, who idolises Deepika Padukone and aspires to be an actress. Krishnagar girl Ritu, 23, who loves Kareena Kapoor Khan, said she wanted to take up modelling. “I am really happy!” she smiled. Maitrayee was “jittery” to participate but felt that the pageant did a world of good to her confidence.

Somlata and the Aces brought down the curtains with songs like Sukanto and Tumi ashbe bole.
(L-R) Judges Mir, make-up pro Aniruddha Chakladar and photographer Sanat Ghosh picked the winners. “If I had to define who’s a Pujor Nandini, I would say she’s a very simple ethnic beauty,” said Aniruddha, who looked for “presentation and thought process”. For Sanat, a Pujor Nandini is “a pretty woman inspired by a Bengali touch”. “I want to see their face, grace, conduct, presentation and how good they are at taking questions. It is beauty and brains. The first thing that pops into my head when I hear ‘Pujor Nandini’ is this big bindi!” said Mir.
The 15 finalists — chosen from a pool of entries including those from puja pandals, colleges and shopping malls — lined up in pink for the first glimpse followed by a Q&A in ethnicwear. The contestants vied for the top three sashes and also for sub-contests like Panchami Nandini, Sashthi Nandini, Saptami Nandini, Ashtami Nandini, Navami Nandini, Bonedi Barir Nandini, College Nandini, Shopping Nandini, Mahalaya Nandini and Puja Shajer Nandini.
Mir, who also performed songs like Ke tumi nandini and Bade acchhe lagtey hain, got the contestants’ mothers to shake a leg with him on stage.

Text: Urvashi Bhattacharya Pictures: Pabitra Das

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