Dubai: Abhijeet Rahane walked all over the competition to be crowned Mr Dubai 2011. But "love and care" is part of his package, he says, as he plans his Bollywood invasion
An unknown upstart is discovered in an unlikely setting, thrust into the spotlight, overcomes adversity to win the hearts of all as he achieves his goal, then goes on to bigger and better things. Oh, and there's a song-and-dance number too, for good measure.
It's fitting that this reads like a Bollywood potboiler, for that's exactly where Abhijeet Rahane is heading. The Dubai-based chartered accountant walked off with the crown on Friday at the first Mr Dubai pageant.
The 27-year-old was at a loss for words after the announcement. "Fantastic. Magical. Awesome," he said.
Rahane was plucked from obscurity a little over a month ago. "I was dancing around in the gym when I was approached to enter the competition," Rahane told tabloid!. "I thought since it's a personality contest I stand a chance — I'm a confident, outgoing guy."
One of the early favourites, he won in three categories in the preliminary rounds — Best in Casual Wear, Best in Beach Wear and Best in Body Fit Clothes. "I didn't expect a hat-trick, at all, especially not in the body-fit category — not with all the muscled guys in the competition."
On the final night, he also won for Best in Formal Wear. "It's fantastic," he said about the pageant. "You put in all the efforts and then if you win, it's just amazing."
In the Q&A round, Rahane was asked what three things men can learn from women. "Love and care — as a wife and mother — and the ability to adapt to situations," he explained.
Video: Dubai's most gorgeous men vie for coveted title
For the talent competition, he sang Savage Garden's Truly Madly Deeply. "The performance parts were easy. The fashion rounds were the most difficult — there are all these hunks and guys way taller than me. But it feels very nice to win."
Rahane, who's from India, won Dh5,000 as well as other prizes. He was crowned at Club 7 at the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel after a long break between the final round and announcement that event organiser Joe Mari Hernandez said was due to "inefficient computation".
"We've learnt our lesson and after a very successful competiton we'll be working towards making next year's event even bigger, with more sponsors and better prizes." Hernandez also hopes to stage a similar contest for women in the near future.
Pakistani Fouad Akram Raja, who was born and bred in Dubai, was the first runner-up in the pool of 20. The 31-year-old petroleum technician was voted Mr Congeniality by his peers, who found him "helpful and kind".
"I wouldn't say this is my award," he said. "I'm touched, and it feels good to know the other guys like me so much, but I'd say it's my fellow contestants' award, as they voted. We are friends now, more than participants. And we're all winners," Raja said.
Ralph Ingreso, 31, from the Philippines, entered the competition to be an ambassador for Dubai. Friday night's second runner-up had graced the pages of tabloid! a mere week ago after winning another pageant, the Best Filipino Role Model. Read story
In a sea of black suits, the sales executive stood out in his light swallow-lapel jacket and V-neck T-shirt. "I thought of going for something a little different," he said. "This separates me from the rest. Also, I prefer a classic yet modern look, and this has personality."
Hernandez said these three were among the strongest contestants from the start. The judges comprised fitness instructors, beauty consultants, former fashion models, business people and hair stylists. "They were changed every week, so it's nice to see that everyone agreed."
Filipino Roberto Geronimo, 31, came fourth and Nickolas Odhiambo, 23, from Kenya, was fifth.
"This competition has been a good ice-breaker, as I'd like to enter similar contests in future," said Rahane. He's planning on leaving Dubai's shores in a few months, to enter a prestigious acting school in India. "I'm keen on tackling Bollywood."
A big fan of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, we shouldn't be surprised to see him screwing in a lightbulb some day with "my love, Kareena Kapoor".