Fatal Accident At Dawn
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
Boyfriend Saheb with the late Sonika