Fashion guru Rohit Bal has said Puja Gupta did not deserve to win the Miss Universe pageant. Bal was one of the judges to select Gupta as Miss India Universe at the Pantaloons Femina Miss India contest held in April.
"Puja was not good. I was not expecting her to win," Bal told IANS in an interview after Puja lost the Miss Universe crown and managed to make it only to the top 10.
While expressing satisfaction over the training that the Miss India contestants received this year, Bal said, "They were all groomed well. It all depends from individual to individual. Those who have won the pageant have that natural X-factor, finesse and finish, which is missing in Puja."
"She is pretty but she is short in height. Moreover, this time the standard of contestants of the Miss India pageant was not very high," he added.
On Monday, Miss Japan, Riyo Mori, bagged the Miss Universe crown in Mexico City. Miss Universe 2006, Zuleyka Rivera of Puerto Rico, crowned Mori. This was Japan's second Miss Universe title after Akiko Kojima's win in 1959.
While Miss Brazil Natalia Guimaraes was declared the first runner-up, another Latin American, Ly Jonaitis, was the second runner-up. However, Puja failed to make it to the top five.
The 22-year-old Delhi girl had said during the Miss India competition that she had always dreamt of representing the women of India.
However, she could manage her place amongst the top 10 beauties including Miss Angola Micaela Reis, Miss Tanzania Flaviana Matata, Miss Nicaragua Xiomara Blandino and Miss Mexico Rosa Maria Ojeda Cuen.
Bal is not the only person to make a negative remark about Puja's ability. Sabira Merchant, diction instructor of Pantaloons Femina Miss India 2007, also reiterated the same feelings albeit obliquely.
Hinting at Puja's shortcomings, Merchant said, "To win an international competition you need a persona and charisma. In fact, a blend of all makes you a winner. However, not everybody has everything."
Underlining that there are no lacunae in the training programme that the participants undergo, she said, "India has international beauties like Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra. But success depends from individual to individual."