Analysis

Jiah (Nafisa) Khan’s suicide: Underlying Bollywood’s uncertainty

The suicide of 25-year-old ebullient actress Jiah (Nafisa) Khan once again reveals the dark side to Bollywood. A string of heartbreaks can be ostensibly attributed to this extreme step, but the reality is that showbiz is an uncertain world where the dreams of many break like goblets in a cheap tavern. There’s a saying in Bollywood: You’re unwise, if you can’t compromise. Just look at the frustrated faces of most of the young actresses and actors as well. Most of them have to compromise to be in this rat race. It’s a matter of survival for them. ‘Bold’ females like Sherlyn Chopra and Poonam Pandey may appear to be very liberal but their so-called liberalism is a mask. It’s a device to survive. The likes of Sherlyn and Poonam live in constant fear of getting sidelined. Their careers are forever on the tenterhooks and they walk on the razor’s edge. Jiah couldn’t compromise so she hardly got any meaty role after Ramgopal Verma’s ‘Nishabd’ with Amitabh. Despite rave reviews, her career could never really take off. Those scribes and film critics, who’re shedding crocodile tears over her suicide and calling her a great actress whose life was truncated by this reckless step, should ask themselves: what did they do for her when she struggled and even tried to commit suicide some 10 months ago and why didn’t she get good roles in movies? She was rescued in time but succeeded in her second attempt.
Bollywood is actually a make-believe and heartless world where everyone adores the rising sun and no one cares for those who’re marginalised.
Jiah’s suicide underlines the helplessness of a struggling, young girl in Bombay, whom success eluded for so long that she was left with no other option but to end her life. Here, I’m not getting into the existential right and justification of an individual to end his/her life. What I’m trying to state that there’re overwhelming circumstances which drive a person to take the extreme step. And Jiah took that.  

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 June 2013 on page no. 11

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