Nafisa Joseph

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Nafisa Joseph
Born(1978-03-28)28 March 1978
New Delhi, India
Died29 July 2004(2004-07-29) (aged 26)
Alma materSt. Joseph's College
Occupation(s)Model, TV Presenter, Actress
Beauty pageant titleholder
TitleFemina Miss India Universe 1997
Femina Miss India 1997
Miss Universe 1997
(Top 10)

Nafisa Joseph (28 March 1978 – 29 July 2004) was an Indian model, video jockey and beauty pageant titleholder. She was the winner of Femina Miss India Universe 1997 and was a finalist in the Miss Universe 1997 pageant in Miami Beach.

Early life[edit]

Nafisa Joseph was born on 28 March 1978 in Delhi, and was brought up in Bangalore, Karnataka.[1][2] She was the younger of two daughters born to father Nirmal Joseph, a Malayali and mother Usha Joseph, a Bengali, who was a descendant of Rabindranath Tagore. Nafisa studied at Bishop Cotton Girls' School and St. Joseph's College, both at Bangalore.


Joseph started modelling at age 12 when her neighbour got her an opportunity to model for a Wearhouse ad. She was groomed as a model by Prasad Bidapa. Joseph was the youngest participant at the Miss India pageant in 1997, which she won. Joseph participated in the Miss Universe Pageant in Miami Beach, Florida on 16 May 1997, and was among the 10 semifinalists in the pageant.[citation needed]

In 1999, she was a judge for the MTV India VJ Hunt and was also a VJ for MTV. A week later she was called for a screen test to host a show on MTV . She ran the MTV House Full show for close to five years. She also acted in a television series C.A.T.S., an Indian version of Charlie's Angels for Sony Entertainment Television. In 2004, she hosted a show Style on Star World. She also launched a television programming unit 2's Company with the help of her fiancé, Gautam Khanduja. She edited a magazine called Gurlz. She also had a brief cameo in the Subhash Ghai film Taal.[citation needed]

In addition to modeling and hosting duties, Joseph was a lover of animals and campaigned for Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and People for Animals (PFA), organizations for animal protection, and wrote a weekly column called Nafisa for Animals in the Bangalore edition of the Times of India.[3]


Joseph hanged herself in her flat in Versova on 29 July 2004. She was to marry businessman Gautam Khanduja in a few weeks' time. According to her parents, Joseph took the step because her marriage was called off. This was due to Joseph having discovered that Khanduja was still married, although having told her he had been divorced for two years. When confronted, Khanduja refused to answer questions about his marital life or produce divorce papers that he had previously claimed he had filed. Instead, press reports at the time mention that he then threatened her with blackmail, probably after she threatened to confront his wife.[4]

Joseph's parents filed a police report accusing her fiancé for her death, claiming that Khanduja had been desperate to get out of the wedding for some time, and sought his custodial interrogation. In November 2005, the trial against Khanduja was stayed by the Bombay High Court until January 2006.[5] Khanduja claimed that there was no evidence to prove that breaking off the engagement had led to Joseph's suicide.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bhakoo, Shivani (2 June 2002). "City's hospitality wins glamourous [sic] hearts". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 26 June 2002. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Nafisa Joseph 1978-2004". MiD DAY. 31 July 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Nafisa Joseph profile on Femina Miss India". Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2004.
  4. ^ Goshwami, Kanta. "Nafisa Joseph - murder or suicide? The behind the scene real story." India Daily. 30 July 2004. Archived 27 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Trial in Nafisa Joseph suicide case stayed". The Hindu. 30 November 2005. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013.
Preceded by
Sandhya Chib
Femina Miss India Universe
Succeeded by