Bollywood actress Jiah Khan’s body was found hanging Mumbai apartment in in the Indian city of Mumbai in Juhu neighborhood on Tuesday, police said. A postmortem found that she had killed herself.
According to reports, Khan’s mother found her hanging in the first floor apartment. No suicide note was found at the scene. Police were questioning neighbors.
Khan, 25, whose original name was Nafisa Khan , was born in New York and grew up in London. In 2007, she moved to India to launch her career in the Indian film industry.
In her debut film, “Nishabd,” she played a teenager infatuated with her best friend’s father, played by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
Talking about her character in that film, Khan stated she was “pretty taken aback” to be considered for the role. She described the film as “an adaptation of Lolita.”
“It was quite a controversial subject in a country which is still closed on sex and relationships,” she said.
In her brief career, Khan acted with other top Bollywood stars, including Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar. In her second film, Ghajini, she played a medical student, and was cast opposite actor Aamir Khan. Her last film, Housefull, a was comedy in which she performed opposite actor Akshay Kumar.
The actress had been described as a versatile dancer and reportedly was trained as an opera singer, but had said her “ultimate passion” was acting.
According to her website, Khan studied Shakespeare and acting in New York.
She also did modeling assignments for Wrangler jeans, and was the brand ambassador for the prestigious Taj group of hotels. She also supported animal rights organization, Peta, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for their campaign against caging of wild animals in zoos.
Her death has caused shock in the Indian film industry.
“Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma tweeted, “Never ever seen a debutante actress with more spunk and more spirit than Jiah when I was directing her in Nishabd
According to him, Khan was “depressed for her career and scared for her future.” He said she had not worked in three years.
Bollywood superstar, Bachchan, who starred with her in Nishabd had his own reaction on twitter. “WHAT …!!! Jiah Khan? What has happened? Is this correct? Unbelievable!!!”
Fellow actress Dia Mirza said she was “too shocked to say more last night.” “ This is NO WAY to go! Life is too precious. The worst phases pass. THEY DO. Never give up! #Jiah
Bollywood filmmaker, Farah Khan expressed her own grief, “Can’t register that Jiah is no more… worked with her in Housefull and she was so beautiful and such a good soul. Too young to go Jiah.”
According to reports, the actress herself had revealed that she had signed three more films and was to begin shooting for them at the end of the year.
Sources say that Khan was depressed because in spite of securing roles with major Bollywood stars, she continued to remain on the sidelines of the Mumbai’s film industry and out of the limelight.
By Perviz Walji