Jiah Khan: A young life sadly ended

The film industry woke up today to the shocking news of Jiah Khan’s death. The young actor committed suicide at her Juhu residence on Monday night and was found hanging at her flat in Sagar Sangeet.

Jiah Khan
Yogen Shah

With the untimely passing away of the 25-year-old actor, the entire Bollywood is in a state of shock and grief wondering what could have possibly triggered Jiah to take the drastic step

The film industry woke up today to the shocking news of Jiah Khan’s death. The young actor committed suicide at her Juhu residence on Monday night and was found hanging at her flat in Sagar Sangeet. The real reason behind the suicide is not known yet and Jiah’s body has been sent for post-mortem.

Born on February 20, 1988, as Nafisa Khan in London, her mother Rabiya Amin was a little known actor and featured in Tahir Hussain’s Dulha Bikta Hai. The young child Nafisa, who always nurtured the dream of becoming an actor, studied filmmaking and literature in London and later moved to New York to study at the Strasberg Academy of Dramatic Arts. Not many know that the young aspirant quit her acting course as she landed her a role in Bollywood.

Taking on the screen name Jiah Khan, she was one of the lucky few female actors of B-town who was blessed with a red carpet welcome, as she bagged a tailor-made debut in Nishabd (2007) directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Khan got the opportunity to share screen space with none other than Bollywood’s Shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan. Though the film didn’t do well at the box office, Jiah made her presence felt in the industry! She was originally supposed to start her filmi career with Mahesh Bhatt’s Tumsa Nahin Dekha (2004) opposite Emraan Hashmi but the actor turned down Bhatt’s offer and was replaced by Dia Mirza.

Jiah was nominated for the Filmfare Best Debut award for Nishabd and was widely praised for her confidence and onscreen presence. It was followed by another hit film – the Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini (2008) which created new records at the box office, and Jiah was a part of the movie that created new benchmarks in Indian cinema. Her third venture, the Sajid Khan directed Housefull (2010) too raked in big moolah and became one of the first entries in the Rs 100 crore club that year. Though she was the third lead to the other two relatively big stars – Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta, she managed to walk away with laurels and accolades for her performance.

Jiah shot for a large portion of Chance Pe Dance opposite Shahid Kapoor but she got replaced by Genelia D’Souza for reasons best known to her. However, she was signed for a two-film deal by UTV Motion Pictures and a three-film deal by Ghajini producer Madhu Mantena. Her website says that she had also signed a Hollywood film. Jiah lately changed her name to Nafisa once again and shifted base to Mumbai with her mother. The actor had described herself on her Twitter as ‘actor, poet, singer, musician and dreamer.’

Jiah’s untimely death has once again raised questions on the mental state and the plight of out-of-work actors who are unable to come to terms with failure and take the extreme step. BollywoodLife bids farewell to the young actor. May her soul rest in peace. Our heartfelt condolences to the Khan family.

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