Forgive us. It’s a Thursday and we’ve spent the morning looking at pictures of the most desirable man on the planet, Rohit Khandelwal.
In case you’ve been in an internet-deprived area (or you’ve been #PokemonGoing all day), the 26-year-old is the first Indian winner of the Mr World pageant, winning $50,000 (Dh183,500) in cash at the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre in the UK on Tuesday, beating out 46 other hopefuls. The contest, which began in 1996, is held every two years.
But who’s this hunk in trunks and where did he come from? We’ve dug deep so you can take a very SFW break. Enjoy.
1. Hyderabad is home.
Although he now lives in India’s glamour capital, Mumbai, Khandelwal is an actor by trade and comes from Hyderabad, the Indian city that was once host to the richest man in the world. That’s also where he went to university, studying at Aurora Degree College in Chikkadpally.
2. It's a win for Asia.
He isn’t just the first Indian to be Mr World. The six-footer is the first man from Asia to shoulder the responsibilities of the planet’s largest continent on those broad shoulders. In the 10-year history of the contest, they've never had a winner from Asia.
3. He’s an all-rounder.
Unlike conventional male pageants, Mr World is a competition that runs for more than a fortnight, and tests candidates’ skills across a range of, ahem, disciplines. These include fashion, talent, sport, multimedia and an extreme challenge.
4. A bit about character.
He’s a techie, but knows to serve. Khandelwal has held down previous jobs as ground staff for the budget airline SpiceJet, as well as in technical support for Dell Computers.
5. But you may know him from TV.
The Hyderabadi boy actually made a name for himself on the Channel V show Million Dollar Girl, where he played a character called Bhuvan, a leader of handloom weavers in Varanasi.
6. He's had trouble speaking Hindi.
Like many people in the India’s southern states, Khandelwal confesses to struggling with the country’s national language. Having grown up in Hyderabad, he’s more comfortable with Hyderabadi slang, but he took diction classes to perfect his command of Hindi and read a lot of books in the language, he told the Deccan Chronicle newspaper.
When this man is dedicated, he clearly doesn’t let anything stand in his way!
7. He’s a fitness freak.
D-uh! He’d have to be to win a modelling contest, of course, but what we appreciate is that when he moved to Mumbai to attempt to break into acting, he realised he needed to shed some kilos.
And he did – 15, to be precise on his journey from fat to fit, or from 85 to 70 kilos.
8. He loves – and lives – Bollywood.
He counts Shah Rukh Khan and Ranveer Singh as his inspirations. On his way to victory in the Mr World contest, he channelled his inner Bollywood star. To get through the tough talent round, he told media, he performed the song Malhari from the Singh starrer Bajirao Mastani – for which he needed to learn sword fighting. For the finale, he proposed to Miss World 2013 Megan Young with Shah Rukh Khan’s famous words from the film Om Shanti Om – where Khan’s character explains how the universe conspires to make our deepest desires come true.
“[Khan’s] work, charisma and the manner in which he conducts himself and stays dedicated has always motivated me,” Khandelwal told the Mumbai Mirror.
Yes, he’s got his eyes set on Bollywood, where he wants to both act and direct. "I aspire to play a meaningful character in a challenging role and also to become a credible film maker who has the gift to weave stories both fiction and non-fiction," he has said.
9. He loves children.
If you haven’t checked out Khandelwal’s Instagram feed yet, well, his ID is rohit_khandelwal77. The buff model has not just worked with child models on India Kids Fashion Week, he’s visited and worked with children at Muktangan, a child-centred school for underprivileged children. “So much to learn from kids specially to find joy from ‘smallest of smallest things’,” he posted. Awwww!
10. All about loving his parents.
And… in India, this is the zinger. He had to convince his parents he wanted to enter the contest. In true fashion, they were hesitant about what he was getting into, he says. But when he won, the first call he made was to his parents, and of course, his mother was ecstatic, he told the newspaper.
He's Indian to the core and we're loving it!