The Return of the Modelizer

Gautam VoraThe arrest of Gautam Vora brings to the forefront the genre of the modelizer. So how does a modelizer differ from a Bollywood producer who uses the casting couch?

The modelizer has always existed in Mumbai and significantly in Delhi as well. Let us not forget that our capital is what inspired 'No One Killed Jessica'. However, the modelizer in Mumbai is relatively innocuous when compared with the sleazy producer type who pulls out the casting couch as and when he gets the chance. Sleeping with an actress is a professional perquisite for the sleazy producer. Sleeping with a model is a recreational right for the modelizer. That said, a modelizer has a more genuine interest in his muse. He is a long-term investor in the world of posh and a short-term investor in his dad’s business. So while waiting for his father to die and to inherit his rightful millions, the modelizer dedicates his life to the serious pursuit of glamour, however vicarious. 

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It all starts with hanging out at the right discotheque or getting an in with a gaggle of models, some of whom he might enjoy a one-night stand with occasionally. The modelizer is a generous human being, for god has been kind to him. So if the vibe with a struggling model is a positive one he plays the knight in shining armour and offers her his pad in Bandra. Rents are depressingly high in Bombay. This arrangement can last for a good number of months. And when the affair goes bust – either the modelizer finds another model in need of shelter or the model has found her bearings in Bombay city and/or a cooler beau – there are no bitter feelings. Chronic drug abuse neutralizes emotions in this world.

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The modelizer is not a misogynist, unlike a producer. While the sleazy producer is more likely to be someone the age of the modelizer’s dad, the modelizer himself is in his mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Some modelizers start their innings as early as 18. He could be a smart Alec; he could also be slightly dumb. Most likely, he’ll be a South Mumbai brat who enjoys the company of vapid, vacuous, stick-thin women togged in skimpy clothing and stilettos – all the time. Modelizers, having watched George Michael’s videos of ‘Freedom 90’ and ‘Too Funky’ at an impressionable age at the dawn of India’s liberalization, have a tweaked, emaciated concept of womanhood.

It is of no small significance to the nightlife-hungry that these women do not have the restrictions that an average girlfriend would (“Come back by 2 am max” is usually the maxim mothers give regular girlfriends). Models, especially those living away from their families, don’t have any such restrictions. Thus, in a reversal of roles, the modelizer soon becomes a social parasite who feeds off the heady ecosystem of the model: IPL parties, fashion shows, after-parties, that type of socializing. The model in return for this amusement gets to enjoy perquisites such as a home, a chauffeur-driven car (casting the modelizer in a disastrous double role that might find him ramming his SUV into an unsuspecting bystander at 4 am and making it to the front page of a tabloid the next day), the occasional dinner date (though models don’t much care for this since they already belong to a perennial circus of freebie partying), weekend trips to Goa.

A modelizer has deep connects to the rave scene in Goa. Models like their trance.

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Unlike a regular boyfriend with a day job, a modelizer travels with you. Remember, fashion is a travel-intensive profession. So if there is a shitty fashion show at Chandigarh and you’re staying in a depressingly unimaginative three-star, it will be the modelizer who upgrades you to a five-star. The modelizer, due to his addictive personality, also has the ability to score drugs from any nook of Hindustan.

Do remember that while Bollywood does have its substance abusers, such cliques, paranoid of the hazards of the public glare, are extremely cloistered. Fashion, on the other hand, is more about open-air debauchery in a Delhi farmhouse or on the Bandra terrace of a…modelizer.

Also, in Bollywood, people sleep their way to the top. That is, an actress/actor will sleep with a producer who will then get him/her a role in a film; if that doesn’t happen, you either say bad luck or visit a tabloid nearest to your home. In fashion, people merely sleep to be. It is more existential in nature. The parasite-host equation is more circuitous here. Thus, while a casting couch arrangement could last for as little as a night or the course of a production at max in Bollywood, a model-modelizer relationship can last for as long as two years.

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Model and modelizer will sleep under the same roof, drive around from one party to the next, go to common brunches of common friends, snort cocaine or pop pills with demented Bandra bohemians or anyone they can find, pub-hop until dawn comes to represent the sunset. Sometimes, from this crepuscular cast of characters, a friend might call you, begging you to shelter him at your home or, if that is not to your liking, to fund a hotel room using your credit card. That friend could be Vijay Palande, someone whose true colours you never really could fathom in the neon of a discotheque, because you made the mistake of assuming that everyone in the room was as shallow as you.

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Photos: Gone too soon

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