Frank Peters : Drama, theatrics, suspense, controversy and even an Edward Snowden whistleblower sound-a-like in one neat package of TV family entertainment. Who would have ever guessed Lovello’s Miss World – Bangladesh 2017 beauty pageant would have given us such nail-biting entertainment that overflowed into the national dailies and stretched over a week?
ACT 1: In the beginning (there usually is a beginning) we saw the crowning of a gorgeous Bangladeshi model bearing the name Jannatul Nayeem Avril.
“We’re in there with a chance of winning the coveted Miss World crown in China,” was the general approval and response from the audience and the NTV crew.
As the stardust and tinsel fell upon her, copious tears of joy flowed freely down Jannatul’s beautifully contoured face and waltzed with her studio make-up. We could all sense the ecstasy she was experiencing. No doubt she was the envy of millions of girls throughout Bangladesh and rightly so. It’s been many years since a Bangladeshi girl was crowned Miss Bangladesh. It was a sedge-hammer blow for the emancipation of Bangladeshi women and the first opportunity of showing the beauty of Bangladeshi women to a massive worldwide audience.
ACT 2: Lo-and behold, popular actress-singer Shampa Reza, one of the six members of the judges’ panel for the contest was agitated and disturbed and referred to her Edward Snowden whistle-blowing manual for guidance and then really made noise and blew the lid-off the whole affair.
She claimed the girl selected by the judging panel on Saturday should not have been given the title. That Jannatul Nayeem Avril, was not among the two nominees selected by the distinguished panel of judges; namely: magician Jewel Aich, fashion designer Bibi Russell, photographer Chanchal Mahmood, corporate personality Rubaba Dowla and IT personality Sonia Bashir Kabir.
Adding to the series of mishaps the charming Indian hostess Sheena Chowhan added her own slip-up to the boiling mix by announcing the wrong winner. An easy mistake to make with so much excitement (and electricity) in the air. She’s not to blame, she should have been coached by the producer/ organisers prior.
ACT 3: Did Jannatul Nayeem Avril deserve to win? Were Shampa Reza and her team of judges right? – It didn’t matter and doesn’t matter because Jannatul Nayeem Avril did not qualify to participate in the Lovello Miss World – Bangladesh, anyway. It was discovered she had been married and divorced and that negated her entering into the competition.
I was saddened to read that Jannatul Nayeem Avril was dethroned as Novello’s Miss World – Bangladesh 2017 and my heart goes out to her, but rules are rules. Nayeem’s consolation prize is that she was Miss World – Bangladesh 2017 maybe only for a few days, but she held the title nonetheless and it should not interfere in a modelling career, if that’s what she wants to pursue.
We ought to issue a special certificate of appreciation to Shampa Reza in appreciation of her integrity and for speaking out and protecting the interests of all models and would-be Miss World Bangladesh contestants. A standing ovation is also due to the the organisers Engr. Md. Mehedi Hasan (group chairman of the Omicon Group), and Swapan Chowdhury, (Chairman of Anotor Showbiz) for sorting out what could have a national disaster and also on their collective achievement of bringing the Miss World pageant franchise of such high international standard to Bangladesh. It is indeed history in the making, long overdue, and a major plus for Bangladesh.
Finally, I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of the nation when I wish Jessia Islam every success in China. No doubt she will make an excellent ambassador for the nation – win or lose.
(Sir Frank Peters, former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, a humanitarian, a royal Goodwill Ambassador and a foreign friend of Bangladesh).