The 29 finalists of the Pantaloons Femina Miss India 2008 contest were introduced at an elaborate ceremony at Hotel Sun-n-Sand on Thursday evening. The golden crowns that the ladies will compete for were also unveiled on the occasion.

National director of the pageant Sameer Soni said that the hunt for the perfect beauty had spanned 11 cities across India, including Agra and Bhubaneshwar. He then entrusted the task of announcing the roll-call to former Miss India World Shruti Sharma, who was hosting the event.

They made an interesting medley. This year a couple of NRIs have come down from Dubai and London to participate. Eight are Mumbaikars, while small towns like Vapi and Gwalior also got representation. Two contestants are from Assam. The confident young girls walked the ramp dressed in little black cocktail dresses and with pointed shoes to match.

Golden chandelier earrings and delicate bracelets completed the look, along with bright red nail paint. For the ethnic round they changed into spotted saris in white, black and red, which had floral prints on the Ďpehluí.

Midway through the two rounds, a set of three golden crowns emerged from the ramp. Named Rhythm, Razmatazz and Rendezvous, the crowns comprise the Femina Collection that has been designed by Dídamas in association with the World Gold Council. Finally, the team that has mentored the girls on their journey to fame was also introduced to the audience. The efforts of trainers Hemant Trevedi, Deanne Pandey, Niti Desai, Jamuna Pai, Sandeep Soparrkar, Subi Samuel, Bharat, Doris Godambe, and Seema Hingorrany were appreciated. A round of applause also went up for the experts who could not make it, like Sabira Merchant and Dr Apoorva and Sonal Shah. The finals of the PFMI 2008 will be held at the Andheri Sports Complex on April 5. That will be the litmus test for the contestants as well as the professionals who work backstage.