7 Miss India Winners Who Became Bollywood Actresses

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Esther Victoria Abraham

The first-ever winner of the Miss India pageant (in 1947), Esther Victoria Abraham had already been an actress before being crowned, and continued to do films after her victory, appearing alongside the likes of Nargis, Raj Kapoor, Madhubala and Ajit.


Nutan was one of two winners of the pageant in 1952, and had already worked in films before, but her victory propelled her career significantly, leading to roles in Laila Majnu (1953), Seema (1955), Baarish (1957), Dilli Ka Thug (1958), and Anari (1959). She had for colleagues Shammi Kapoor, Balraj Sahni, Raj Kapoor, Kishore Kumar, and Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

Leela Naidu

Naidu was crowned Miss India in 1954, and starred in ten films starting 1960, including Anuradha (1960), The Householder (1963), Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke (1973), and Trikal (1985), working with the likes of James Ivory, Balraj Sahni, Shashi Kapoor, R.K. Nayyar, Shyam Benegal, and others.

Sushmita Sen

Sen won the 1994 pageant and went on to represent India at international pageants before breaking into cinema in 1996. Her work in films like Filhaal (2002) and Main Hoon Na (2004) earned her plaudits, as did her acting in the streaming show Aarya.

Lara Dutta

Dutta won the 2000 pageant and subsequently was crowned Miss Universe 2000 as well. Her first film appearance came in Andaaz (2003), which was followed by diverse work in the films like Kaal (2005), No Entry (2005), Bhagam Bhag (2006), Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007), Partner (2007), and Billu (2009).

Celina Jaitly

The winner of the 2001 pageant, Jaitly placed fourth in the subsequent Miss Universe contest, and moved to films in 2003, marking her debut opposite Fardeen Khan in Janasheen. She then appeared in multi-starrers like Silsilay (2005), No Entry (2005), Tom, Dick and Harry (2006), and Apna Sapna Money Money (2006).

Manushi Chhillar

Chillar won the 2017 pageant and subsequently competed in other competitions before making her Bollywood debut opposite Akshay Kumar in the historical drama Samrat Prithviraj (2022), followed in 2023 by the film The Great Indian Family, in which she appeared opposite Vicky Kaushal.

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