By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, (IANS) Indian filmmaker Karan Johar, who was one of the judges at the Miss World contest 2006 in Warsaw last weekend, says the resume of other panelists left his jaw "hanging down to the ground".
"It was a very different experience from judging an Indian beauty contest. My colleagues on the panel were people whom I absolutely didn't know and they, I suspect, knew very little about who I was.
"During the course of the evening I came to know they were simply the crème de la crème in their fields. There was a British actress, Kelly Holmes, who was also an Olympian gold medalist, and also Anita Kreglicka, the only Miss World from Poland. And many others whose resume left my jaw hanging down to the ground," Johar told IANS.
"In your own country you know where you stand on the celebrity ladder. On a global platform you're quite lost," laughed Johar.
Unlike the Indian beauty contests the judges at Miss World weren't allowed to directly quiz the contestants.
"We simply did what we had been called to do - judge the contestants. Ms. Czech Republic Tatana Kucharova was a unanimous favourite. Of course, I thought Miss India Natasha Suri had a perfect figure, lovely smile and terrific personality. But somehow she didn't make it into the list of favourites of all the other judges.
"I don't feel at all disheartened by that. I feel our girls have come a long way at these beauty pageants. Who finally wins the crown depends on so many extrinsic as well as intrinsic factors. But I must say I've learnt a lot on that one night."
Johar is the only Indian filmmaker to have ever been invited to judge at a Miss World contest.
"Yes. But when I actually arrived at the venue I felt more humble than proud. Nowadays you need to be more than just a Page 3 celebrity to judge beauty contestants. The judges were minds rather than just faces and that made me feel special."
Johar is very much sure that he's going back to Poland very soon.
"It seemed as if every second person in Warsaw had seen 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' (K3G). They wanted to know where Shah Rukh Khan was. I went to a pub with a friend. And guess what? The deejay was playing 'Shava shava'! It was unreal and absolutely reassuring. One more European base for Bollywood!"
Such is the craze for Shah Rukh and K3G in Poland that Johar has decided to rush-release "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" (KANK) in Warsaw.
"I'll have my European distributor look into the Polish release as soon as the film opens in Germany next week."