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Of hunks and beauties 

BELLA JAISINGHANI  
If Hrithik Roshan weren't judge and guest of honour, he'd be prime contender for this award. The Britannia GladRags Manhunt Contest, which was organised in Mumbai on March 4, was instead won by Regi Varghese from Secunderabad. The women's title for the Mega Model Contest, held simultaneously, went to Candice Pinto, who was on home ground.

Eighteen girls and as many young men had been shortlisted for the seventh Britannia GladRags Mega Model and the Manhunt Contest. Most of them had never faced the camera before. It was here that they were groomed and taught how to model. The training included lessons in etiquette, make-up, physical training, dance and, of course, walking the ramp.

Interestingly, GladRags stresses on making modelling only a hobby or part-time activity, rather than a full-fledged career. So the candidates are also provided career counselling. The judges have no qualms admitting that considerable weight is attached to good looks. Why else would the expertise of Ashley Rebello, Wendell Rodricks, Azeem Khan and Salim Khan be solicited to design the entrants' wardrobe? The swimwear came from Eternia and the jewellery from Kavita Behl of Indiana Creations.

GladRags runs a modelling agency and publishes a fashion magazine by the same name. This is the publication that put Aishwarya Rai, Lisa Ray and Karan Kapoor on the world map. Its editor, Maureen Wadia, is also credited with discovering Sandhya Chib, Lara Dutta and Diana Hayden. The three girls went on to win the Miss India crown. Kelly Dorji, Dino Morea, Zulfi Syed, Aseem Merchant, Balbir Meena and Jas Arora are famous models thrown up by the Manhunt.

Seven years ago, GladRags started the first ever contest for male models in India, having realised that this was one field where men had no representation. After that came the Mega Model Contest for the ladies, which has gone on to become as successful.

The winner of the Manhunt gets to participate in the International Manhunt, where contestants from 35 countries vie for the title. In the past, John Abraham and Dino Morea have won the second place . While winning the title in India earns a candidate Rs 2 lakh in gifts and prizes, the international contest brings about $50,000 and a contract with an international modelling agency.

Candice Pinto, who won the Mega Model title, is 19 years old and stands 5'8'' tall. She will represent India at three international contests later this year: the International Mega Model Contest, the Miss Intercontinental and The Best Model of the World Contest. The winner of the Manhunt, Regi Varghese, is all set to step onto the international scene, too.

These are names we shall hear more of in the coming months.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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