If it weren’t for the confidence of Indrani Rahman, we wouldn’t have had Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta receiving laurels at the Miss Universe pageant in the later years. At the age of 22, Indrani became the first Indian woman to participate in the international beauty contest, way back in 1952. She even wore a swimsuit with a twist!
Check out some snippets from her fabulous life!
When Miss Universe held it’s maiden pageant on June 28, 1952, Indrani was the first one to represent the country, after being crowned Miss India the same year.
If you thought she could get away with the swimsuit round, well no. But hold your horses, because she looked pretty sitting with the other participants.
Indrani did manage to attract eyeballs among the 30 contestants. Courtesy her adorable bindi and gajra! That’s called fashion with a twist.
Indrani was already a renowned classical dancer and a mother when she took part in the pageant.
She was well versed in Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Odissi. Her training began at the age of 9.
At the age of 15, she got married to a well-known architect Habib Rahman and had a son and a daughter. Going by their pics, they were quite a happening couple back then!
Indrani was awarded the Padma Shri in 1969. She was also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Taraknath Das Award.
She later settled in New York in 1976. Along with her mother, she continued to popularise the Indian classical dances performing all over the world.
In 1961, she was the first dancer presented on a national tour by the Asia Society, and also performed for US President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, during Nehru’s official visit to Washington, D.C.
Indrani also performed for Emperor Haile Selassie, Queen Elizabeth II, Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev, and Fidel Castro.
She became a faculty member of the dance division at the Juilliard School at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1976.
She even taught in various American universities, including Harvard, and spent her later life in the United States, touring extensively, until her death in Manhattan in 1999.