The dawn of male pageantry and arrival of Rubaru Mr. India contest

Indian male pageant industry came into existence in the mid-90’s. Gladrags, an Indian magazine, conducted the very first male pageant in India, in the year 1994. Rajat Bedi from Punjab was named the winner of the very first Gladrags Manhunt competition. The following year (1995), Graviera, a men’s clothing brand, organized a different male pageant in India. It was named Adonis – Graviera Man of the Year competition. Bikram Saluja, from Punjab, ended up winning the contest. While Gladrags cemented itself as the leading Indian male pageant in the 1990’s, the Adonis Graviera Man of the Year contest dissolved and was later revived by the Grasim Industries under the name Grasim Mr. India. Both the events gained great momentum until the early 2000’s. For some unknown reasons, Grasim Industries discontinued their Mr. India contest in 2003, with popular model and actor, Rajneesh Duggal being its last winner.

Rubaru Mr. India only national level male pageant taking place since 2017. It contributes more than 70% to India’s male pageant industry and is the highest contributor to the number of awards won by Indian representatives at international male pageants.
Rubaru Mr. India only national level male pageant taking place since 2017. It contributes more than 70% to India’s male pageant industry and is the highest contributor to the number of awards won by Indian representatives at international male pageants.

The Mr. India contest remained inactive for almost half-a-decade due to absence of any competent organization to organize a nationwide event. In late 2000’s Haywards came up with their Mr. India competition however, the event was dissolved within just 1 year of its existence. It was the year 2010, when Rubaru Group revived the Mr. India competition on a national level, by rebranding their existing Mr. North India competition. Rubaru Group came into existence in 2004, with the commencement of Mr. Haryana and Mr. Bahadurgarh contests. The contemporary Rubaru Mr. India competition that takes place every year in India, is an evolved version of Mr. Haryana competition, that was created in the early 2000’s.

Sandeep Kumar, the founder and president of Rubaru Mr. India competition, with the winners of Rubaru Mr. India 2020-21 competition.
Sandeep Kumar, the founder and president of Rubaru Mr. India competition, with the winners of Rubaru Mr. India 2020-21 competition.

While 2010’s witnessed Rubaru Mr. India gaining momentum in the Indian pageant industry, Gladrags Manhunt contest became a biennial event taking place once in two years and was last held in 2017. The year 2014, also witnessed the arrival of yet another male pageant – Mr. World India, after the Indian franchise holder of Miss World competition acquired the Mr. World franchise rights for India. The event was first staged in 2014 and was last held in 2017. While Rubaru Mr. India was flourishing with every passing year taking place in different states of the nation like New Delhi, Haryana, Goa and Mumbai, the other two events gradually disappeared from the industry after 2017.

Pankaj Kharbanda, the vice-president of Rubaru Mr. India competition, with the winners of Rubaru Mr. India 2020-21 competition.
Pankaj Kharbanda, the vice-president of Rubaru Mr. India competition, with the winners of Rubaru Mr. India 2020-21 competition.

Today, Rubaru Mr. India contest contributes more than 70% to India’s male pageant industry by producing more than 10 winners and over 30 award-winners every year. In 2021, the organization elected 11 winners that would represent India at 11 different international modelling competition. As per the Rubaru Mr. India organization, in 2021, they are associated with Mister Global, Mister Model International, Mister Model Worldwide, Mister Grand International, Mister Tourism World, Mister United Continents, Mister National Universe, Mister Star Universe. The Mister, Mister Landscapes International and Master of the Misters competitions. Since 2017, Rubaru Mr. India is the only national level male pageant taking place in India, also making it the longest running annual male pageant of India. Every year more than 34 candidates are selected from all across the nation to compete at Rubaru Mr. India competition. It is also the only male pageant in India that has National Costume Competition and Social Impact and Awareness segment as part of the event. Other preliminary activities present in the Rubaru Mr. India contest include interview segments (preliminary and final), extempore / free speech, debate competition, group discussion, public speaking segment, sports and fitness segment, formal wear competition, fitness and physique segment and cultural and traditional wear segment. The pageant makes all the interviews of the candidates available to the public and, also has a preliminary competition like Miss Universe pageant that takes place one or two days prior to the finale. This year, the competition staged its 17th edition (chronological) and culminated in Goa on April 8, 2021.

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