Ever since Patna girl Pranati Rai Prakash won the MTV India’s Next Top Model season 2, her phone hasn’t stopped ringing. All the more because the competition came her way out of luck. The 21-year-old says she was “destined” to win the big show. “Me and my flatmate were in the kitchen when she asked me why am I not trying for MTV India’s Next Top Model. Then I checked on their website and saw a wild card entry section. I sent my entry with all my recent pictures. They gave me a big questionnaire, like how would I stay in the same house with 20 girls around, my strengths and weaknesses. I was called for an interview. I got through, but had only one day for all my preparations, as the competition was supposed to start in two days. I went alone and shopped for everything I needed, and the next day I was off for the competition,” Pranati said in an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
Those who saw MTV India’s Next Top Model would know how Pranati gave a tough competition to her fellow finalists Subhamita Banerjee and Jantee Hazarika. It began with 13 girls, but she emerged the winner. The show had actress Lisa Haydon and ace photographer Daboo Ratnani as its main judges and VJ-actress Anusha Dandekar and Neeraj Gaba as the mentors. Pranati loved the pool and the plank round and found the web-photoshoot really challenging.
“At every challenge, we had someone monitoring us. I would try and imbibe as much from every judge. It’s simple. you do good, you get a good feedback. You don’t perform well, they are not happy with you. So my focus was to perform well. Of course, I was nervous, but I wanted to make them happy and feel proud of me.”
Pranati was also one of the top contenders at the Miss India 2015 and got noticed by winning preliminary titles like Miss Beautiful Legs, Miss Talented and Miss Fashion Icon. So has the preparation between both these competitions been any different for her? The 21-year-old said, “For Miss India, I worked on how I represent myself. They always look for one quality, if she is the girl who can represent the country like a delegate at international level. Here, I would try to be presentable at all times because the models, the crew, everyone would be constantly observing you and judging you. But the main thing was performing in the challenges. So if you do good, you’re in, otherwise out. At Miss India, you had your one month to impress everyone”.
Pranati belongs to Patna and studied at Notre Dame Academy there. So has the tag of hailing from a small town given her any edge over others? “Now when I got so many messages from all around I definitely feel it did give me an edge. People actually can relate to you, because they feel like I come from a place like them. They find it inspirational. Also, people from smaller towns have this attitude of struggling for what they want. Nothing comes easy for us in terms of exposure also. I was at one of the finest schools of Bihar. So you are intelligent there. But when it is about fashion, everyone is a little less enthusiastic, you aren’t encouraged to be very fashionable or be in such a field. So that was my constant driving force. Coming from a smaller town is not an advantage, but it does make a difference”, asserts Pranati.
A NIFT, Mumbai student, Pranati is done several television commercials. Now, is she eyeing films? “I would do modelling and fashion shoots for at least one year. But since I’m young, I don’t want to stereotype myself like people say that you are a commercial face and a fashion face. I’ve got good acting skills so I’m definitely looking for opportunities in films.”
Pranati finds Akshay Kumar very versatile. “He can do both action and comedy equally well. He is such a fit person too”. She likes Al Pacino, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie too. She also thinks Imtiaz Ali films have an artistic edge and are deep. She said meeting Imtiaz Ali would surely bring out the fangirl in her. And which actor would she like to act with onscreen? With a shyness in her tone, she named Ranveer Singh. “He is very quirky and ‘jhhataak’ and I would love to know his personality because he is always so enthusiastic, so maybe just imbibe a little bit of energy and put that in my movies”.
Pranati looks up to Priyanka Chopra and thinks her journey from a beauty queen to a model, actress and singer, is inspiring. The way PeeCee conducts herself publically encourages Pranati.
She accepts that choosing this career wasn’t smooth, but since she is a strong-headed girl, she never paid attention to the questions that were raised. Pranati hasn’t been able to thank everyone for their wishes and revert to all the calls after her win. She said she would soon be writing a blog post thanking her friends and well-wishers. Currently, Pranati is busy handling all the adulation. But she looks geared up. She says staying connected to her roots is her biggest strength. We agree with her. Congrats Pranati!