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The May 22 episode of Poland’s Next Top Model featured some familiar faces. Namely, Mumbai fashion photographer Suresh Natarajan and designers Narendra Kumar, Masaba Gupta, Anamika Khanna, Shivan & Narresh and Asmita Marwah.
The Polish edition of supermodel Tyra Banks’s popular reality TV competition, in which modelling hopefuls compete for a contract with NEXT Model Management and a campaign with Max Factor, shot two episodes of its third cycle in Mumbai.
Models were tasked with various fashion-related challenges which lead to one competitor being eliminated at the end of each episode.
So what constitutes a challenge for a Polish model in India?
Drape a sari, go on a 'go-sees' (visiting rounds of designers in the hope of booking a job) and pose for a Natarajan-helmed photoshoot that lasted for five hours at the Kanheri caves in Borivali's Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Dressed in brightly-coloured saris and lehengas and wearing heavy jewellery, the European models were expected to get into the skin of a proper Bharatiya nari (Indian woman).
Since Natarajan's photoshoot would determine which one of the six remaining contestants would be eliminated, the photographer was also asked to critique the models, which he confesses he isn’t very good at.
"That was the only time the language barrier came up,” he says. “I didn’t know they wanted me to be on the show critiquing the girls, or I would have said no!"
- Rochelle Pinto
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