Bilaspur man, Delhi girl win news anchor contest

New Delhi Bilaspur's Akshay Shukla and Delhi's Meenakshi beat four other finalists to win the Star Anchor Hunt for news anchors, winning a three-year contract with Star News and a Ford Figo car each. Akshay and Meenakshi, both 24, were declared the winners here Sunday at a gala event where Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad was the chief guest. This is the first reality show to find news anchors. "It's like a dream come true. When I went for the audition, I had it in my mind that I have to win this contest," Akshay told IANS. "Basically, I am an engineer, but I always wanted to be an anchor. When this opportunity came to me, I didn't think twice before grabbing it. Although I didn't get much support from people, I was adamant that I have to go for this. "Now that I have won, I feel more responsible towards my goal. I have to do much better in future," he added. In the final round, six finalists, including Vishal Kalra from Ahemdabad, Gurdeep Singh Mann from Chandigarh, Seher Ahmed from Jaipur and Pallavi Tyagi from Delhi, were asked to interview Lalu Prasad. "I feel I am still in a trance. The feeling of being the winner is yet to sink in," said Meenakshi, who used to work with a multinational firm. Author Chetan Bhagat, actress Tisca Chopra and Star News anchor Deepak Chowrasia were on the judges panel. Talking about his experience, Chetan told IANS: "Sitting on the judge's seat was a bit strange and unusual as I am not used to it. But the experience has been fruitful. I always wanted to connect with the youth. This platform helped me to do so. I being an English language author, the show helped me to connect with the Hindi audiences."