Samarpan Maiti, a Scientist from Kolkata covered himself with glory while emerging triumphant in the prestigious Mr. Gay World India (‘MGWI’) 2018 Pageant which concluded with the Grand Finale being hosted at India’s No. 1 Night Club ‘Kitty Su’, The Lalit, Mumbai on Saturday, January 13, 2018.

Samarpan, who is blessed with an innate earthy charm and an amiable disposition won three of the eight sub awards to grab the coveted glittering Winners Trophy and earned the right to represent India at the Mr. Gay World 2018 Pageant scheduled to be held at Knysna in South Africa in May 2018. Samarpan, who possesses a ripped body is a perfect combination of brain and brawn and he demonstrated that in equal measure while overcoming the challenge of his worthy rivals after two grueling days where the five enormously talented finalists exhibited their varied talents in the eight sub rounds which tested their all-round skills.

He won the Mr. Photogenic, Sports Challenge and The Panel Interview sub awards and did consistently well in the other five sub rounds too. Ashish Chopra, who emerged 1St Runner Up won the Written Test and the Arts Challenge sub awards and appeared to be a hot favorite with the packed Kitty Su audience rooting for him during the Grand Finale. Debendra Sanyal who won the 2nd Runner up Trophy was a front runner too in what appeared to be a three cornered contest for the Winner’s Crown.

His immense popularity earned him the People’s Choice Award. Chirag Gosar, the relatively quiet one among the top five, deservingly won the Mr. Congeniality sub Award. Chirag finished fourth and Amitabh Das, who flew in from Sweden to be a part of the Pageant won the Social Media campaign sub award and finished fifth.

Sushant Divgikar, the National Producer of MGWI and Director, South West Asia of MGW along with Assistant Managers of MGWI Darshil Shroff (who specially flew down from Australia) and Sanket Sveronic worked untiringly to ensure the resounding success of this edition of the MGWI pageant which by far was the biggest and most well organized largely due to the generous benevolence of Mr. Keshav Suri, the dynamic Executive Director of The Lalit Hospitality Group and the unstinting support of the entire Staff of The Lalit, Mumbai, especially the team managing Kitty Su. The trio of Sushant, Darshil and Sanket actually burned the midnight oil to ensure that every aspect of the Pageant which included the preliminary/elimination round, the final rounds, co-ordination with the distinguished panel members/judges, liaison with the Hotel Management for conducting the various sub rounds, organization of local transport, etc was accomplished with a degree of professionalism worthy of this fledgling Pageant which is attracting wider participation and crowd patronage.

The Kitty Su Night Club was packed to its rafters during the Grand Finale which made the Event truly Special and worthy of all the glitz and glamour that is associated with such Pageants. The crowd was vociferous while cheering for their favorite contestant and were generally appreciative of every performance during the Grand Finale which culminated in the crowning of the MGWI Winner 2018. It was most heartening to see persons both from within the LGBTQI community and staunch allies turn up in large numbers for the Grand Finale notwithstanding the fact that there were a host of Events lined up for the day at various locations across Mumbai as part of the Pride Month Celebrations. Most of them hopped from Event to Event and finally showed up for the first Open Grand Finale of the MGWI Pageant to enlist their support and make it memorable.

The distinguished band of Achievers who adorned the Panel Rounds and Grand Finale as Judges included some of the eminent Equal Rights Activists from within the LGBTQI community and ever supportive Allies from the World of Entertainment, News and Glamour. The sub rounds were judged by Ms Dolly Thakore (renowned theater, TV and film personality), Harrish Iyer (Equal Rights  & Animal Welfare Activist and Columnist), Yogesh Pawar (Senior Journalist and staunch supporter of the LGBT movement), Pallav Patankar (Equal Rights Activist, Author and Crusader of the LGBTQ Movement), Monica Maryjane (celebrity fitness trainer & model), Shruta Neytra Rawat (LGBT Activist and Research Head at Humsafar Trust), Suveera Ambade (Fashion Designer), Kanchan Thakur (Journalist turned Fashion Designer), Darshan Mandhana (Winner of MGWI 2017 & HR Professional),  Anuja Parikh (LGBT Activist and Business person), Diandra Soares (Beauty Pageant Winner, International Model & Actor) & Sushant Divgikar (Winner of MGWI 2014, National Producer of MGWI, Singer and TV Host).

The Judges who illuminated the Grand Finale were Twinkle Vashist (TV Actor & Model), Anjusha Bhattacharya (Model, Anchor & Miss India Tourism 2017), Viraf Patel (Grasim Mr. India 2005 and TV Actor), Natasha Suri (Beauty Pageant Winner- Miss India World 2006, TV Host & Actor), Sushant Divgikar and Diandra Soares. The Host for the Grand Finale was the effervescent and incredibly witty RJ Rohini Ramanathan, who is the Queen of the FM airwaves in Mumbai as a Host of her extremely popular show on Radio Nasha 91.9 FM. Rohini ensured that the Contestants were relaxed all through the Grand Finale and entertained the packed audience with her wit and charm. Rohini is a strong Ally of the LGBTQI Community. Thea Shroff another strong Ally of the LGBT Community and a fabulous singer/actor enthralled the audience with a power packed rendition of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’

Diandra Soares was presented with the MGWI Rainbow Ally Award for lending her continued support to the MGWI Pageant since its inception.

The entire LGBT community of India and MGWI in particular owe a collective debt of gratitude to the amazingly generous Keshav Suri for making the LGBT community a beneficiary of the Lalit Hospitality Group’s diversity and inclusivity program. He has personally driven and overseen the transformation and rise of Kitty Su as the country’s top Night Club Brand and has introduced LGBT friendly endeavours such as performances by legendary Drag Queens of international acclaim and through these efforts revolutionised the Drag Culture in India. All the Kitty Su outlets in India provide a safe haven and space for members of the LGBT community to socialise and organize LGBT friendly entertainment Events. Keshav’s unstinted support and unwavering commitment has been monumental and one of the principal reasons for the immensely successful conduct of the MGWI 2018 Pageant.

Sushant Divgikar has been credited for making the Mr. Gay World India pageant an incredible national event every year and spreading the message of diversity and exclusivity throughout the country and internationally as well.

The MGWI pageant has transformed since its inception into one of the best LGBT events in India today and Mr. Divgikar has to be credited for accomplishing this feat with the help of his amazing allies and network of friends and well-wishers.

Mr. Divgikar who is also the Director for South West Asia said, ” when I had started off in 2014 as a participant and eventually the winner myself, nothing was funded for me, there was no organization that paid for my entry to the world pageant and even my winner SASH (mr. Gay India 2014) had to be paid for by me. I had to actually bargain for the price with a tailor as I didn’t have funds to cover the cost. Today, I pride myself in saying that the contestants that participate now have everything funded for them by my organization with the help of amazing allies and friends who have come forward to help me.

I always say to everyone who wants to participate in this pageant that IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT, I WILL BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT “.

We wish The MGWI Team and the winner of MGWI 2018, Samarpan Maiti all the best for the MR. Gay World pageant scheduled to be held in Knysna, South Africa in May of 2018.