Posted on January 31, 2021 at 8:58 pm

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Death in Bollywood: was Jiah Khan murdered?

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Born in New York and raised in the UK, Jiah moved to Mumbai to pursue a career in acting at the age of 17. She was fond of acting from a young age and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York but dropped out to pursue a career in Bollywood. Jiah Khan has got 3 Bollywood films to her credit, Nishabd opposite Amitabh Bachchan, Ghajini opposite Aamir Khan and Housefull with Akshay Kumar with the blockbusters Ghajini and Housefull being the highest-grossing films in India on the year of release.

The BBC documentary, Death in Bollywood, explores the death of actress Jiah Khan. On the 3rd June 2013, she was found hanging in her Juhu residence.

The three-part documentary series delves into the alleged suicide and follows the work of a private investigator hired by the Khan family. There has been a lot of uproar since the airing of the BBC documentary that the investigation was compromised. This is due to the fact that the police didn’t approach the scene as a crime scene and without conclusive evidence, it was decided within minutes of police arrival that Jiah Khan committed suicide. Mumbai police ruled it as an open and shut case, as a suicide. In the immediate aftermath, the Central Bureau of Investigation took the matter into their own hands and investigated Jiah’s death, they also ruled it as a suicide.

Death in Bollywood: was Jiah Khan murdered?

Her family believes that the death was suspicious and it was noted during a court hearing that Jiah had an argument with Sooraj Pancholi, her boyfriend at the time. Her family was convinced that he was responsible for her death. After the police investigated Sooraj on murder charges, a court in January 2018 charged him with abetting Jiah’s suicide, but the case is still ongoing. A note was found in Jiah’s purse, just days after her funeral, ‘I have no confidence or self-esteem left, whatever talent whatever ambition you took it all away. You destroyed my life’, it’s widely acknowledged that this note was for Pancholi. The opposing argument is that she was suffering severely from depression, which has not been proven. There is speculation that Khan was depressed because she hadn’t been offered work in 3 years and her boyfriend was at the time being launched and grabbing a lot of attention.

The docs-series explores the images of Khan taken after she had committed suicide and they show bruising to the arm as well as distinctive hanging marks around the neck.

Private investigators on the show describe how it’s unlikely that the oval mark found on the actress’s neck could be from the scarf she had hung herself with. The second inconsistency was the tracksuit she was wearing on the night of the incident. She was seen walking into her apartment on the CCTV wearing a distinct blue tracksuit, but the police inquiry states that the actress wasn’t wearing a blue tracksuit neither was it recovered from her property or ever found.

The show has divided the audience and although there is no conclusive evidence as to the cause of death, some believe Jiah was depressed and took her life with Sooraj Pancholi indirectly responsible for the abatement of the suicide. Whereas others believe that the 25-year-old had a bright future ahead and could not have taken such a step and believe she was in fact murdered. What is clear is the numerous and increasing inconsistencies in the ongoing investigations.

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