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Fashion industry in shock over model’s suicide

As family flies in from Mauritius, Viveka Babajee’s tragic death leaves a thousand questions unanswered. Read on for more...

fashion and trends Updated: Jun 27, 2010 14:30 IST
Rochelle Pinto
Rochelle Pinto
Hindustan Times

As neVivekaws of former top model Viveka Babajee’s death sinks in, the fashion industry is still reeling from shock. On the night that she took her life in her Bandra apartment, most people refused to answer calls. Those who did, hadn’t heard the tragic news yet. "I can’t believe it," said designer Nikasha Tawadey. "I am designing the wedding garment of one of her close friends which is happening in July. She was supposed to be there."

Delhi-based make-up artiste Ambika Pillai revealed that the industry was waiting for Babajee’s mother and sister to fly down from Mauritius so that plans for a funeral or memorial service could be finalised. She said,"We may fly down to Mumbai, but nothing will happen before her mother gets here."

Romance Gone Wrong

Babajee’s suicide note mentioned a Gautam Vora who is currently being questionned on his involvement by the police. While clues point to a bad relationship, industry insiders believe that a failed business could have also played a hand. Babajee was the director of an event management company called Vibgyor Entertainment. Model and actor Aryan Vaid revealed, "A couple of days ago, she mentioned on Facebook that she wasn’t working with her event management company anymore. Sometimes, when your career isn’t doing well and your personal life is a mess, it all seems hopeless."

Choreographer and Babajee’s contemporary, Marc Robinson, received the news while out of the country. "Poor poor girl. It’s such a waste of a life," he opined.

Bright Beginnings

Photographer Atul Kasbekar was the lensman behind the Kamasutra ad that catapulted Babajee to instant fame. "I did her first campaign when she came to India from Mauritius. I remember thinking she was stunning," he recalled, adding, "I’m just as shocked as everybody else. Then, the choice of model for the ad was clear. She was in a field of one." Kasbekar added, "Everybody thought she was doing very well for herself. People on the outside think this is a glamourous life. But one day, the phone will stop ringing and the work will dry up. It’s a stressful life."

Former Miss India Anna Bredmeyer was a close friend of Babajee and revealed, "I’ve known her since she first got into the business. She was the nicest person. I don’t think anybody had a problem with her because she never stepped on anybody’s toes."

Bredmeyer had recently met the model at an event. She said, “I was with my son, who Viveka was very fond of. She seemed perfectly happy. I just wish that she had reached out to somebody before taking such a drastic step.”

Fact File
Viveka Babajee was a former Miss Mauritius. She shot to fame with the ad for Kamasutra condoms. She started an event management company called Vibgyor Entertainment. She allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan with the gas turned on. Her suicide note mentions probable boyfriend Gautam Vora.

First Published: Jun 27, 2010 12:49 IST