Updated April 30th, 2024 at 12:41 IST

Maninee De Clears The Air On Alleged Rivalry Between Aishwarya And Sushmita During Miss India 1994

Recalling her time with Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan during the beauty pageant, Maninee De said both were "dignified".

Sushmita Sen (L), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (R) | Image:IMDb
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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sushmita Sen started their career with the beauty pageant - Miss India - in 1994. The two went on to represent India on the international stage and were crowned Miss World and Miss Universe, respectively. Being the leading ladies, there were reports about an "intense rivalry" between the two during the Miss India competition. However, now Maninee De, a TV actress, has rubbished the claims. De was among the top 10 finalists in the Miss India contest with Aishwarya and Sushmita.

Maninee De addresses reports of rivalry between Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sushmita Sen

In an interview with Siddharth Kannan, the CID actress answered one of the most asked questions - Were Sushmita and Aishwarya rivals? To this, she replied it was "very media-created". Recalling her time with the actresses during the beauty pageant, she said both were "dignified". They were in their 20s when they participated in the beauty competition, and at that time, Sushmita was the underdog. When she and Sushmita went from Delhi, they were informed that Aishwarya was a popular soap brand model. Despite being an international model, Aishwarya never brushed her status on them. "There was nothing like that, especially from what I have witnessed," she added.

(A throwback photo of Sishmita and Aishwarya | Image: Facebook)

Sushmita Sen won Femina Miss India in 1994, while Aishwarya was the first runner-up. The same year, they went to represent India in Miss Universe and Miss World pageant. To India's delight, they both won the beauty competition and made the country proud. After winning the pageants, they forayed into acting and were considered among the top actresses of Indian Cinema.

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(A throwback photo of Sishmita and Aishwarya | Image: Instagram)

Maninee De opens up about her relationship with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sushmita Sen

De shared a deep bond with Sushmita as they forayed into the Miss India pageant together. The actress shared that she participated in the beauty pageant after Sushmita encouraged her. "She (Sushmita) told me I am very exotic and my USP is that I spoke very well," she added. At 2 AM in the night, Susmita used to recite poetries to De and say she was one of few people who understood her writing.

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When asked about her relations with Aishwarya, De said, "What a lovely girl she has been, she was so gracious; not only is she beautiful but also very good-natured." She recalled an incident when she won the Miss Congeniality contest during the competition. She shared that Aishwarya walked up to her and said that she voted for her because she found De genuinely the sweetest of the lot.

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Published April 30th, 2024 at 12:41 IST