Bollywood's Jiah Khan death: Was she a victim of fame?

10 June 2013 / 3 years 4 months ago

Source: The New PaperINDIA - Bollywood actress Jiah Khan was found dead at her home in Mumbai, police said on Tuesday.The 25-year-old was found hanged in her room on Monday night by her mother, and a post-mortem examination would be carried out to establish the cause of death, a Mumbai police official said."We suspect she hung herself at her home late on Monday," an official told AFP."As of now, we have recorded an accidental death. We are investigating further," he added.Jiah's maid, watchman and neighbours were questioned to find out who her last visitors were.So was her boyfriend, Suraj Pancholi, son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, to whom Khan had made her last phone call.Bollywood is in shock over the sudden death of one of its starlets, with many taking to cyberspace to air their condolences.Director Ram Gopal Varma, who gave Jiah her first break in Nishabd, tweeted: "The last time I met her, jiah told me that everyone around her makes her feel like a failure."He added: "Never ever seen a debutant actress with more spunk and more spirit than Jiah when I was directing her in Nishabd."In the same vein, actress Sonam Kapoor tweeted: "Nobody should be in so much pain and a state of such hopelessness. I hope her soul finds some respite in death.Top actor, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: "WHAT ‘¦!!! Jiah Khan ??? what has happened ? is this correct ?"Jiah made her Bollywood debut in 2007 in Nishabd, which is a controversial film loosely based on Vladimir Nabokov's classic novel, Lolita.Jiah starred in the film as a teen who falls for her best friend's father, played by Bachchan.The film shocked many with its provocative elements, but Jiah was praised for her onscreen charisma and confidence, India's NDTV reported."It was quite a controversial subject in a country which is still pretty closed on aspects of sex and relationships," Jiah said.Indeed, she was nominated for a Filmfare Best Debut award for her role in Nishabd and was widely seen as Bollywood's rising star.She next appeared in A.R. Murugadoss's Ghajini, the Hindi remake of the director's Tamil film of the same name.In this 2008 psycho thriller, Jiah played the important role of a medical student who befriends a businessman with amnesia.Jiah then appeared in the 2010 comedy, Housefull, where she was merely a supporting actress, and she has been out of work since.No suicide noteIt is not known exactly why she killed herself, and a police source said the death was not being treated as suspicious as it appeared to be suicide, although no suicide note was found, Reuters, reported.Sources said Jiah's mother told the police that Jiah had auditioned for several films unsuccessfully, and this might have tipped her over the brink into depression, India's Hindustan Times reported.It added that it is likely she was a victim of fame."People who have had a taste of fame, they derive their self-esteem, their self-confidence by being admired by others," the newspaper quoted Dr Pulkit Sharma, a clinical psychologist, of saying.But Bollywood starlets are a dime a dozen, and one too many often fall into oblivion due to a combination of factors.Said Dr Prerna Kohli, a clinical psychologist and life skills coach: "The insecurity (of being a Bollywood star) is huge, there is always somebody who is more beautiful, talented or better at networking than you."Combined with this, there is constant pressure to look good, feel good all the time." Jiah, whose real name was Nafisa Khan, was born in New York and grew up in Chelsea, London, before moving to Mumbai.Her website said she was to play a part in a forthcoming Hollywood production, Britain's Daily Mail reported.Besides acting in Bollywood, Jiah had appeared in an advertisement for animal campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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