Fa­tal Ac­ci­dent At Dawn

Stardust (English) - - CONTROVERSY CORNER -

Ben­gali film ac­tor VIKRAM CHATTERJEE was re­cently in­volved in a fa­tal car ac­ci­dent which snuffed out ‘good friend’ 27-year-old model and an­chor Sonika Singh Chauhan’s life. Her long-time boyfriend Sa­heb Bhat­tacha­jee and par­ents are heart­bro­ken. But the in­ci­dent gets murkier with each pass­ing day as dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of the ac­ci­dent have come to light. Sonika’s friends have now started a #jus­tice­for­sonika cam­paign. To find out more about the in­ci­dent, Team Star­dust talks to friends and col­leagues of Vikram and the late Sonika. Read on…

…Vikram Chatterjee was al­ways a lady’s man.

For a long time he walked hand in hand with Paoli Dam, The Hate Story ac­tress and was said to be dat­ing her in earnest. They did many films to­gether in­clud­ing Bed­room and Elar Char Ad­hyay, which cat­a­pulted him to the sta­tus of a hero. How­ever, they al­legedly broke up and Vikram moved on to greener pas­tures. Of course, his prow­ess as an ac­tor can­not be de­nied more so as he was no­ticed in his ear­lier films too like Ami Aar Amar Girl­friends, Hoi­choi, Britto, Sha­heb Bibi Go­laam. In fact, his role as Zica in Sha­heb Bibi Go­laam was a hit es­pe­cially with the women. He was also seen in Anjan Das’s last film Ajana Batas. Not only that, he also suc­cess­fully strad­dled the small screen and was seen in the Ben­gali ver­sion of Bigg Boss ear­lier. Ev­ery­thing looked per­fect for this charmer more so as his film ca­reer was open­ing up big time. In fact, re­cently, his film Khoj was re­leased (after the ac­ci­dent) and also in the pipe­line is his film Megh­nad Badh Ra­hasya so ev­ery­thing did seem hunky dory for Vikram. Un­til…

An Ac­ci­dent That Changed Things For­ever In the wee hours of the morn­ing, Vikram’s car turned tur­tle and so did his fate. Vikram Chatterjee who was with model Sonika Singh Chauhan had a ter­ri­ble car crash which left Sonika dead.Vikram was driv­ing the car. It seemed al­most like a reel life tragedy had come alive. Kolkata woke up with a jolt. The party cir­cuit was aghast! The fash­ion fra­ter­nity was in a state of shock. The Bong tele and film world were in a tizzy try­ing to make head and tail of it. It was the end of April, and per­haps a time for new love to blos­som. Like many other young and rest­less souls, Sonika and Vikram too were un­wind­ing to­gether by par­ty­ing the night away. They had been hop­ping from one night club to an­other and at 4 a.m. as they were speed­ing past the snooz­ing city, Vikram lost con­trol of his Toy­ota sedan which spun around, flipped over and hit a lamp post be­fore tail-tail­ing in front of a shop. A rick­shaw puller and an Ola cab driver wait­ing nearby spun into ac­tion drag­ging the in­jured out of the car and rush­ing them to the hospi­tal. The Ola driver who was await­ing his pas­sen­ger, can­celled his trip in an at­tempt to save lives, but un­for­tu­nately Sonika suc­cumbed to her in­juries. Vikram was re­leased after some ba­sic firstaid, and then was later re-ad­mit­ted in the hospi­tal com­plain­ing of se­vere pain.

Sonika’s Dis­traught Fam­ily & Friends What was strange was that Sonika’s fam­ily was not in­formed im­me­di­ately about the in­ci­dent. They came to know about it sev­eral hours later. They fur­ther al­leged that Vikram was in­tox­i­cated while driv­ing his ve­hi­cle. The late Sonika, 27-year-old, smart, savvy and help­ful, was ex­tremely pop­u­lar in the fash­ion frat. A pop­u­lar model, she was also turn­ing out to be a sought after an­chor more so after she an­chored the ProKabad­diLeague. Her un­timely death shocked every­body who knew her. Sonika’s friends from the fash­ion fra­ter­nity who knew that spunky girl well, started a so­cial me­dia cam­paign #jus­tice­for­sonika. Sonika’s friend, model Sa­tarupa Pyne posted on Face­book, “This pre­cious girl died. This Tollywood Junkie was drunk. His fake face and his his­tor­i­cal back­ground tells me he was in­tox­i­cated on hash or grass or may be more. His car’s airbag couldn’t have saved Sonika Chauhan’s life be­cause he man­aged to flip the car on her side. Can I charge a PIL in the High Court ask­ing for spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion?” A very shocked, de­signer Nil too sent a mes­sage to Vikram through his Face­book post, “Whether you have been her Best Buddy or Boyfriend ( I don’t care) but you were def­i­nitely not the best for her. You DID NOT have re­gard for the safety of the per­son next to you or on the street while driv­ing madly at the break­neck speed (lit­er­ally) that night and the facts says it all. Driv­ing in front of Lake Mall at that speed which resulted in flip­ping, toss­ing turn­ing and ul­ti­mately in the death of a per­son next to you is not for­giv­able. Just imag­ine, it’s a nar­row street in front of a mall with tram­lines run­ning in the mid­dle of it, what would spur a per­son to race a car at 100km/hour? Sheer thrill and joy only???? NO def­i­nitely NOT. ITS SHEER DIS­RE­GARD. You have had BLA­TANT DIS­RE­GARD FOR LIFE, be it your­self or oth­ers. And the real TRUTH is you have to LIVE with the fact that you were the rea­son of some­one else los­ing their life and some­one los­ing their daugh­ter, friend, sis­ter and so much more!!”

The Po­lice Re­port The po­lice ini­tially charged Vikram of rash and neg­li­gent driv­ing, but now, they have changed the charges to cul­pa­ble homi­cide not amount­ing to mur­der. Kolkata po­lice’s Joint Com­mis­sioner, Crime, said, “Chatterjee has been charged un­der Sec­tion 304 of the IPC after po­lice re­ceived a foren­sic re­port that shows the speed of the car was be­tween 95 to 115 km per hour a few sec­onds be­fore the ac­ci­dent.”

Vikram’s Say How­ever, Vikram held a press con­fer­ence stat­ing that he was nei­ther drunk and nor was he speed­ing. But while the fash­ion

fra­ter­nity is back­ing the late Sonika, many of his co-ac­tors are root­ing for Vikram. His co-ac­tor Solanki Roy said, “I have been driven by Vikram many times. I have never seen him drunk while driv­ing. Vikram and Sonika both de­serve jus­tice.”

Re­la­tion­ship Sta­tus Again, there were many spec­u­la­tions rife on the na­ture of Vikram’s re­la­tion­ship with Sonika. Vikram him­self called Sonika, his “very spe­cial friend”. But at the most poignant an­gle of this tragedy stood ac­tor Sa­heb Bhat­tacha­jee, who was Sonika’s long-stand­ing boyfriend. Many, of course, spec­u­late that lately their re­la­tion­ship was in trou­bled waters. But Sa­heb, putting all these spec­u­la­tions be­hind, was seen vis­i­bly dis­traught in the hospi­tal. He was also seen ab­so­lutely grief-stricken at her me­mo­rial ser­vice where he read out the words in Sonika’s hand­writ­ten note to him and spoke about what Sonika meant to him. Sonika Singh Chauhan’s fu­neral mass was a somber me­mo­rial ser­vice at Kolkata’s St Thomas’ Church, Mid­dle­ton Row. Sonika’s friends – a clus­ter of Kolkata’s renowned fash­ion de­sign­ers, mod­els, ac­tors and Page 3 - bid her a tear­ful farewell. Fam­ily friend Derek O’Brien spoke a few emo­tional words as a trib­ute to Sonika whom he knew since a baby. Oth­ers present in­cluded Barry O’Brien, Lolita Ray (film­maker Sandip Ray’s wife), and many model and de­signer friends. At her fu­neral mass Sa­heb said, “She has made me a re­spon­si­ble per­son. I love you, Sonu, and will con­tinue to love you al­ways.” Sa­heb, vis­i­bly up­set, re­calls, “At the end of a hec­tic day, when she slept peace­fully, I sat by her look­ing at her face, hear­ing her breathe. Just her pres­ence drove away all my wor­ries. I woke up to her sleepy voice ev­ery morn­ing. I love her more than she will ever know. I lost a part of my be­ing, I am haunted by an all-con­sum­ing thought, what if, she had lis­tened to me on that night and I had dropped her back home? Would it have changed her des­tiny? Would I be see­ing her smile to­day?” He also re­vealed that his re­la­tion­ship with Sonika would have com­pleted five years in Au­gust and they were con­sid­er­ing mar­riage by the end of this year. At the fu­neral, Sonika’s fa­ther Vi­jay ac­tu­ally even in­tro­duced Sa­heb as his ‘son’.’ So one is not very clear why Sonika was with Vikram, what­ever the rea­son may be, it is tragic that a young and promis­ing life was lost.

The Af­ter­math Vikram too, in the mean­time, seems to be suf­fer­ing a lot – per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. Soon after the tragedy, the mak­ers of Vikram’s next film post­poned the launch of their film. Di­rec­tor Arka Gan­guly in a press re­lease said, “We have de­cided to de­fer the film’s re­lease by a week - from May 26th to June 2nd, to en­able him to re­cover from the trauma and at­tend the spe­cial screen­ing. We are hope­ful he will pass through this phase.” The film was later re­leased.

In Hap­pier Times: Vikram Chatterjee and the late Sonika

STAR­DUST

Boyfriend Sa­heb with the late Sonika

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