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When the curse of suicide haunted showbiz

June 15, 2020 19:42 IST

Photograph: Kind courtesy Sushant Singh Rajput/Twitter

The curse of suicide has haunted showbiz since time immemorial with the likes of iconic actor-director Guru Dutt, South star Silk Smitha, actor Jiah Khan and now, Sushant Singh Rajput giving up on life in the Indian film industry known for being harsh and demanding of its stars.

Known for films like Kai Po Che!, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and Chhichhore, Rajput was found hanging at his home, the police said, on Sunday. He was 34.

Rajput's last screen appearance was Nitesh Tiwari's 2019 film Chhichhore, where he played a father who conveys a message of hope and affirmation to his son who has attempted to kill himself.

His last social media post was dedicated to his late mother who died in 2002 when he was a teenager. It was posted on June 3, a foretelling perhaps on what to come.

'Blurred past evaporating from teardrops. Unending dreams carving an arc of smile. And a fleeting life, negotiating between the two,' he wrote on Instagram with a black and white photograph of his mother.

IMAGE: Guru Dutt in Kaagaz Ke Phool.

Known for black-and-white classics like Kaagaz Ke Phool, Baazi and Pyaasa, Guru Dutt was found dead on October 10, 1964 in his bed in his rented apartment on Pedder Road in south Bombay. He was 39.

The film-maker, whose real name was Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone, was said to have been mixing alcohol and sleeping pills.

Dutt's death may have been suicide or an accidental overdose. His son, Arun Dutt, considered the death to be an accident.

IMAGE: Silk Smitha in Sadma.

Actor Vijaylakshmi -- better known as Silk Smitha -- was known as a sex symbol in Tamil cinema during her time. She died at the age of 33 as the result of suspected suicide in 1996.

She appeared in over 200 films, including Vandichakkaram and Moondru Mugam.

She was immortalised on screen in the 2011 film The Dirty Picture, starring Vidya Balan as Silk.

The Milan Luthria-directed film showed the highs and lows of the actress's life.

IMAGE: Nafisa Joseph on the MTV show Housefull.

Former Miss India and video jockey Nafisa Joseph was found hanging at her residence in Versova, north west Mumbai, in 2004. She was 25.

Joseph, who won the Miss India title in 1997, had worked as a model and had been involved in activities related to animal rights.


IMAGE: Kuljeet Randhawa in Special Squad.

In 2006, model-turned television actor Kuljeet Randhawa, known for starring in the high-school drama Hip Hip Hurray!, suspense serial Kohinoor and the crime thriller drama Special Squad, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself in her apartment in suburban Juhu, north west Mumbai. She was 25.

IMAGE: Kunal Singh in Kadhalar Dhinam.

Best known for starring opposite Sonali Bendre in the 1999 Tamil romance film Kadhalar Dhinam, Kunal Singh was found hanging from the ceiling fan in his Mumbai apartment in 2008. He was 30.

IMAGE: Jiah Khan in Nishabd.

British-American actor Jiah Khan, best known for films like Nishabd with Amitabh Bachchan and Ghajini with Aamir Khan, was found hanging at her Mumbai residence on June 3, 2013 by her mother Rabiya Khan. Khan was 25.

It was deemed a suicide and reconfirmed as a suicide in 2016, following an extensive investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation and a hearing at the Bombay high court.

Khan's mother had blamed her boyfriend, actor Sooraj Pancholi, for her death. He was charged with abetting Khan's suicide. The case has not yet been settled.

IMAGE: Kushal Punjabi. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/

Last year, Kushal Punjabi, who appeared in Kaal and Lakshya as well as the reality show Fear Factor, was found hanging in his apartment. He was 42.

Punjabi, whose body was found by his parents in the wee hours of December 27, left behind a suicide note in which he said nobody should be held responsible for his death.

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