who doesn't know viveka babajee? the former beauty queen from mauritius was an important part of pinoy pop culture when, back in 1994, she made forever immortal the phrase "take it, take it!" she will go down in history as one of the few (the only?) foreigner to be involved in a philippine-awards-show scandal when she was coerced into reading another name (ruffa gutierrez) as the best-actress winner, instead of the actual one (aiko melendez) at the metro manila filmfest. she went on to become a top model in india and, sadly, ended her life last friday. here's a news item from spot.ph:
Viveka Babajee, 37, a former Miss Mauritius and Indian supermodel, was found dead in her Mumbai apartment late Friday night, reports Thaindian News. She was found hanging by a ceiling fan, according to One India.
Police suspect suicide and are still investigating the matter. One India reports family sources saying she was depressed after breaking up with her boyfriend, but no suicide note has been found. Thaindian News says Babajee was ”declared a supermodel in 1994 and was one of the most-sought after faces nationally and internationally in the fashion world.”
Babajee became famous in the Philippines after she was implicated in the 1994 Metro Manila Filmfest cheating scandal where she was caught on camera saying “Take it! Take it!” to fellow presenter Rocky Gutierrez, younger brother of Ruffa Gutierrez, as she handed him the envelope containing the name of the Best Actress winner. Babajee read aloud “Ruffa Gutierrez!” as the winner, supposedly to the shock of fellow presenter Gretchen Barretto, who had seen the name of the real winner.
“Ruffa Gutierrez and Gabby Concepcion were wrongfully given acting awards. The real winners were Edu Manzano and Aiko Melendez,” recalls Pep.ph. “Investigation revealed that the award presenters—Babajee and Rocky Gutierrez—conspired to switch envelopes containing the real winners’ names with the other envelopes that were allegedly prepared by Lolit Solis, then Gabby’s manager. The fake envelopes contained Gabby’s and Ruffa’s names. Later, Gabby himself named talent manager Lolit as the mastermind of the scam.” Barretto emerged as the scam’s “whistle blower” when she exposed the truth behind the conspiracy between Solis and her talents.
Babajee, Barretto, the Gutierrezes, and Concepcion were all then handled by Solis, who eventually confessed to engineering the whole scam. Solis expressed her condolences to Babajee’s family upon learning about the tragedy, reports Pep.ph. Gutierrez and Babajee were both contestants in the 1993 Miss World pageant in South Africa.
and here's an update from dnaindia.com:
Before hanging herself on Friday, Viveka Babajee spoke to two persons. One was her mother in Mauritius, whom she spoke to over the phone. “I am going far away” is what the deceased model is believed to have told her mother before committing suicide, the police said on Saturday. The other person she spoke to was her boyfriend Gautam on Thursday night.
Then she broke everything in her house that could be broken, shattering with her own hands the paradise that she had lovingly decorated when she had settled down in Mumbai, before hanging herself from the ceiling fan of her living room.
Viveka’s close friends, on condition of anonymity told DNA that when she was hit at the same time by twin crises — setbacks in her business venture and break-up with her boy friend Gautam — she snapped. “She possibly broke all the glasses that she had in her house.
She was definitely devastated,” says a close friend of Viveka.
“She destroyed her house before she took her own life. What we friends have heard is that she fought with her boyfriend Gautam the night before she committed suicide. They had been in a relationship for only a couple of months and things weren’t great between them. They were fighting all the time until one day they decided to break up,” the friend said.
Another friend revealed to us that her company, Vibgyor Entertainment, an event management-cum-modeling firm, was doing badly.
“She was going solo with her business and trying hard to do shows and get good work, but you know how difficult it is for anyone to survive in the entertainment industry. It’s cut-throat, and she wasn’t getting enough work. Her business wasn’t doing well and she was facing repeated setbacks. That too was piling on the tension for her, alongside an emotionally disturbing relationship.”
The friends also allege that Viveka had taken to alcohol lately.
“She was drinking quite a lot, way over what she used to. She once lost her cool during the rehearsal of an event recently. She shouted at people, asking, ‘Do you have any idea what I’m going through?’
She might have been drinking the night she killed herself. She might have popped some pills too but we don’t know what they were,” says the third friend.
Meanwhile, the autopsy report from Cooper Hospital, received by the police on Saturday has confirmed that Viveka committed suicide by hanging herself. Additional commissioner of police ( West) Amitabh Gupta said, “The post-mortem report has confirmed that she committed suicide by hanging herself in her sixth floor flat in Continental Tower at Bandra (West).” Police added that finger print experts who visited
Viveka’s flat after her death have also collected some samples other than those of Viveka’s.
On Friday night, Viveka’s neighbours, suspecting a cooking gas leak from Viveka’s flat, rang the doorbell of her flat but did not get any response. They then contacted the fire brigade and police who, after breaking into the flat, found her body dangling from the ceiling fan. The police seized her mobile phone, laptop, diary, sleeping pills and medicines for her depression, besides other articles that could be significant for their investigation.
Though no suicide note was found, some letters were found in the name of Gautam, the man Viveka was dating and had broken up with two months back. Police said that the break-up may have pushed her to end her life, and added that she had in the past attempted suicide three or four times.
The police made a videography of the post mortem at Cooper Hospital and handed over the body to Viveka’s elder sister Vineeta Parekh, a resident of Goregaon. Viveka had acted in the Hindi film, Ye Kaisi Mohabbat Hai, which flopped. She had tried to make a career in the south Indian film industry too, but did not meet with success.