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Engineer-turned-fashion critic, Saket Dhankar heads IMG Reliance, a premier venture that develops sports, fashion and entertainment services.

He was one of the panelists for the auditions along with designer Rocky S, model Carol Gracias, photographer Colston Julian, Vogue India's fashion director Anaita Shroff Adajania, fashion choreographer Rashmi Virmani and head of innovation at Lakme Purnima Lamba.

Here, Dhankar tells us why the panel chose only nine models out of the 120 and why the others failed.

"A lot of them who auditioned for the role were newcomers and one could make it out from the way they landed their first step. They were nervous, lacked the confidence and the posture that is required of a model. At Lakme, we are not looking for just another pretty face. Some of them had the confidence but their bodies weren't proportionate. Others who had good features lacked the confidence we were looking for. It has to be a combination of a lot of deciding factors -- the right attitude and the right gait. The right poise comes out of hours of practice and experience. Walking in front of the mirror helps you improve but walking in front of an audience is different. You need to be able to handle the attention."

Purnima Lamba, head of Innovation at Lakme says the current generation is gifted with the power of the Internet but very few of them make good use of it.

"Why just Lakme, most high profile fashion shows are recorded and uploaded online. Even if you were to watch ten shows, you’d have a fair idea what works, what doesn't. All you have to do is practice and improve on it."

The nine finalists who made the cut include -- Pooja Mor, Alicia Komodromos, Shreya Chaudhary, Nikita Yadav, Jyotpriya Sud, Nischita Rao, Gurleen Grewal, Nikita Sahay and Hida Siddiqui -- all of who will feature in the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive to be held between August 20 to 24, 2014 at the Palladium Hotel in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Aisha Sharma has been chosen as be the 'Face of Lakme'.

While actor Kareena Kapoor continues to be the brand's ambassador, Sharma will get to promote a host of leading fashion brands and accessories including Lakme that will be featured at the country's greatest fashion event.

Image: The nine finalists pose with Carol Gracias (in the centre) at the end of the auditions in Mumbai.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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