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Hooray for Bollywood

The sounds, styles and glamour of Bollywood abounded at the Alex Theatre on Saturday night for the 12th annual Miss Showbiz India USA beauty pageant.

The red-carpet affair, which drew accomplished Indian American celebrities and a few curious passersby, set the stage for 15 young women vying for a coveted slice of media attention.

Produced by Pearl Entertainment, which is run by former Miss Los Angeles India Reshma Dordi, the event is slated to be broadcast on Showbiz India Television nationally and in several South Asian countries, said Yalda Sadiq, a company spokesman.

The girls, who came from cities throughout Southern California and South Asia, strutted across the stage in traditional dress to traditional music.

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In the event’s “regional” section, each girl performed a short dance or dramatization of a cultural tradition from their ancestral region of India or South Asia.

“The pageant was conceived as a notion of giving girls a chance to showcase their talents and give them some opportunities,” Sadiq said.

The show also presented a media opportunity for Glendale, which owns the venue, Glendale City Councilman Dave Weaver said.

“This thing’s going to be broadcast all over the country, all over the world,” he said. “Just think, the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. Bam, around the world.”

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Weaver spent three hours on Friday afternoon helping to lay the red carpet, he said.

Hours later the special rug would be besieged by a media throng and the glittery pageant contestants.

“It’s all great for Glendale,” Weaver said. “You’ve got people coming here who have never been here. Anything to promote the theater.”

Miss Showbiz India USA, which was scheduled to run four-and-a-half hours, was held at the Alex Theatre for the first time last year, Sadiq said.

It’s also the second beauty pageant staged at the theater this year, coming only a month after the venue played host to the Miss Asia USA contest.

“It’s a test to the flexibility of the venue,” theatre spokeswoman Elissa Glickman said. “We can do anything form television shows to pageants to dance concerts to classical music. We’re really a flexible house and the fact that we’ve had a small increase in pageants is just another example of that flexibility.”

San Fernando Valley resident Himanshu Kathuria, 24, who is originally from India, said he attended the event last year and wouldn’t have missed it this year.

Many more viewers who didn’t chance upon a ticket will be sure to check it out when it airs on television, Kathuria said.

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“People are glued to their TV sets,” he said. “Here and in India, absolutely.”


  • RYAN VAILLANCOURT covers business, politics and the foothills. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at ryan.vaillancourtlatimes.com.

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