While We Remember Sushant Singh Rajput, Let’s Not Forget the Tragic Death of Jiah Khan

Bollywood

While We Remember Sushant Singh Rajput, Let’s Not Forget the Tragic Death of Jiah Khan

Illustration: Arati Gujar

The death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has triggered a massive debate in the country around nepotism and who has the most power and control. Some prominent actors and directors have come out, from posting video messages to Facebook status updates, alluding to the fact that some powerful people within the industry use their influence and clout to have their way.

Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death has brought back memories of despair for Rabia Khan, Jiah Khan’s mother. Jiah, like Sushant, was found hanging in her Mumbai residence in 2013. There were always speculations doing the round that she was bullied into taking the decision, and Rabia also accused Salman Khan of interfering with the case in 2015.

In a recent viral video message, Rabia Khan revealed that Salman Khan was following up with the CBI office in the Jiah Khan suicide case. She claimed Salman had told the officer that he had invested a lot of money on Sooraj Pancholi and that the latter shouldn’t be harassed. Khan was then launching Sooraj in Bollywood with Hero.

Rabia began by addressing Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and said “My condolences to Sushant Singh’s family. It is very heartbreaking, it is not a joke. Bollywood has to change, Bollywood has to wake up. Bollywood has to completely demolish bullying. And I have to say bullying is also kind of killing somebody.”

Rabia then narrated her ordeal at the time. “Whatever is happening, it reminded me of 2015 when I went to meet the CBI officer. He had called me down from London, said please come we have found some incriminating evidence. I land up over there, he says, ‘Oh, by the way, Salman Khan called me up, he calls me every day and he says he has invested a lot of money, please don’t harass the boy, please don’t interrogate him, don’t touch him. So what can we do madam?’ The officer also seemed frustrated and annoyed by these things,” she added.

Rabia Khan demanded that people need “to stand up, fight, protest and stop this toxic behaviour in Bollywood.” Dabangg director Abhinav Singh Kashyap had also taken to Facebook, accusing Salman of bullying and said that his projects were sabotaged by the superstar’s family.

“Arbaaz Khan sabotaged my second project with Shree Ashtavinayak Films that I was signed up with by personally calling their head Mr Raj Mehta and threatening him with dire consequences if they made a film with me. I had to return the signing money to Shree Ashtavinayak films and moved to Viacom Pictures. They did the same thing,” he wrote on Facebook.

While voices rise from certain corners against this toxic culture in Bollywood, the question remains, will big stars and directors speak up and mend their ways? Or will there again be a hush hush reaction, as with Jiah Khan’s case?

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