The year was 1994 when Sushmita Sen was crowned Miss Universe - the first Indian lady to bring home the honour. The memory of her winning the title is still etched in our minds and it’s difficult to let go of it. Sushmita’s big victory was followed by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s big win when she bagged the honour of being Miss World. The year was too special for our nation as two young Indian girls had decided to bring glory in a department that was still unknown. But are you aware of the fact that Aishwarya was almost on her way to Miss Universe pageant? Sushmita Sen Completes 25 Years As Miss Universe.
Yes, we aren’t kidding when we say that Times of India had decided to send Aishwarya to represent India in the Miss Universe competition as Sushmita Sen had lost her passport. In her recent chat with Rajeev Masand for Women We Love, the Main Hoon Na actress reveals the story behind this incident and how she was determined to represent India for something that was hard earned.
Recalling the incident Sushmita said her passport was in fact given to Anupama Verma - a very famous model of that time who was also coordinating an event in Bangladesh. However, just a couple of days before leaving for the Philippines, she couldn’t find Sushmita’s passport. "The timing was scary and I had to then go crying to my dad," said the Samay actress. While she didn’t come from any influential family, Times of India, in fact, suggested to her that she should go ahead with Miss World competition and let Aishwarya take her place in Miss Universe. Sush was clearly miffed with their proposition as she believed she was the rightful candidate for it.
"I only cried in front of my father. And I said, Baba, I am not going for anything else. I rightfully deserve to go for this. If I can’t go, nobody else will go for it," she said while narrating the scary incident. It was later when her father received some much-needed help from politician Rajesh Pilot that she was able to write such a glorious chapter in history. Thanks to his efforts, Sushmita was able to win her pageant and rest, as they say, is history.