Ten contestants, five in each category of male and female, competed in The Indian Weekender’s Mr& Ms Auckland Diwali 2019 at Auckland Diwali Festival 2019 and amazed the audience of thousands with their stunning performances.

The annual talent hunt event’s semi-final round was hosted on the Aotea Square stage on Saturday, October 12 and the grand finale on Sunday, October 13 from 5 p.m.

Manik Kumar and Shruti Gudadhe were crowned with the Mr & Ms Auckland Diwali 2019 title while contestants Ishant Ghulyani and Arti Pandey were given the runner-ups title on the grand finale.

The first round of the contest was held at The Indian Weekender studio that marked the contestants on their introduction, ramp-walk, dress-up, Q&A session with the judges.

The semi-final on day 1 of Auckland Diwali witnessed the contestants doing a round of musical ramp walk that entailed performing any signature dance move while on the ramp. They were once again marked on their ramp walk performance-creativity, their dress-up for the day representing or reflecting one particular culture, group dance performance, introduction, stage presence, and confidence.

For the grand finale, the contestants prepared one item of their talent to perform on the stage – this year all ten contestants chose dance as their talent and performed with exuberance.

The contestants after giving an astounding performance on day one received a thunderous welcome on stage on the grand finale on Sunday that followed up with their individual talent performances.

Each of the contestants received loud cheers from the Sunday crowd, some more than the others, as they displayed their dancing might on a mix of hip-hop Bollywood and Indian folk songs.

As every talent show goes, Mr & Ms Auckland Diwali 2019 contestants were also marked on their punctuality, discipline, commitment and zeal while they practised for the contest right from the very first day of rehearsals until the day of the event.

“Each of the performers gave their best shot in the semi-final and final round of the contest, and their energy was simply mind-blowing in the stage,” Jazz Singh, one of the three judges told The Indian Weekender.

“It was challenging to mark the contestants as everyone was on their best game and gave stellar performances- it was a wow with every performance,” Bindu Grover, another judge for the contest said.

“The contestants amazed us with their talent and confidence on the stage –it was simply mind-blowing but at the end- we can only have one winner in each category, and they were the well-deserved ones,” another judge of the pageant Rupal Solanki said.

The surprise element of this pageant was the dance performance by the ex-contestants of the Mr & Ms Diwali (from 2016,17 and 18) who without a doubt fired up the stage with their dance on a medley.

Prepared in a short span of one week, the ex-contestants’ performance was another big takeaway of the event as they took the audience by a storm with their marvellous dance show.

The ex-contestants’ team had Shivani Singh, AanchalMarwah, Sneha Rao, Prince Negi, Shaira Kiran, Manish Chinagundi, and Paayal Garg Mittal.

Mr & Ms Auckland Diwali 2019: Manik Kumar & Shruti Gudadhe

Prizes for winners of Mr & Ms Auckland Diwali Title:
Crown (Female) and Trophy (Male)
Bouquet and Sash with their titles
Brand New Huawei Nova 5T
$500 Travel Voucher from Mann Travel each

Runner-Ups Mr & Ms Auckland Diwali 2019: Ishant Ghulyani & Arti Pandey

Prizes for runner-ups of Mr & Ms Auckland Diwali 2019:
Crown (Female) and Trophy (Male)
Bouquet and Sash with their titles
Gift Bag from Sansaar
All contestants received a goodie bag from Bindu’s Brows + Beauties.

Winner Comments:

Shruti Gudadhe: Ms Auckland Diwali 2019 Winner

Being fairly new to this country, this opportunity was a wonderful experience. I feel so much more connected to New Zealand not only because of this title but also because of all the people who helped and supported me throughout the journey. I have performed on stage in the past but this was a different rush altogether because I was representing the Indian culture in front of an audience that was made of not just Indians but a mix of all the different cultures.

Arti Pandey: Ms Auckland Diwali 2019 Runner-Up

On winning this title: It's still like a dream for me. Winning this title was a proud moment and on such a platform by acknowledging the culture of our country and showcasing my talent, hand in hand. It's not just about winning, but the skills that you'll learn and self-awareness that you'll develop will enrich your life long after you stop competing.
What's next after winning this title: We're more than hair and makeup, our faces, or our bodies. We're a voice — a force. We've been through Life-changing things. We've done great things - noticed and unnoticed.  We have work to do; empowering people - not just women - but all people, those with a voice, those still finding their way.

Ishant Gulyani: Mr Auckland Diwali 2019 Runner Up

On winning this title: It’s just been around a year I moved to New Zealand and this title, its a one of the biggest achievements for me. The feeling was fantabulous while I was walking, talking and dancing in front of thousands. But to be honest, I was a little nervous and excited at the same time. But we all worked hard a lot together which made me more confident on the stage.
What's next after winning this title: As I have got the title and recognition now, I will look forward to more such opportunities like this in future.