After Sushant Singh, We Continue to Ignore the Suicide Epidemic. Now a Telugu TV Actor Takes Her Own Life

Social Commentary

After Sushant Singh, We Continue to Ignore the Suicide Epidemic. Now a Telugu TV Actor Takes Her Own Life

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

In the last few months, as investigations into the tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput have continued to make headlines, a number of deaths by suicide in the film and TV industry have shaken the country to the core.

On Thursday, as we observe World Suicide Prevention Day, news has broken that Telugu television actor Kondapalli Sravani had died by suicide. The actor is said to have taken her own life on Tuesday night in her Hyderabad home while members of her family were present, the police said. She was 26.

The young woman’s family has, meanwhile, alleged that there had been some foul play leading to her death. Sravani was reportedly close friends with a man named Devraj, who she met on Tik Tok, and who, her brother says, had blackmailed her for money.

The actor had also filed a case against Devraj back in June for harassment. The police will now investigate his role in the death, even as the actor’s co-stars posted tributes on social media. Sravani had appeared in a number of popular Telugu soaps in her career.

Last month, the death of popular TV actor Sameer Sharma, who was known for his appearances in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, had shocked fans and well-wishers, and renewed a much-needed conversation on mental health.

A day later, however, reports indicated that Bhojpuri actor Anupama Pathak had also taken her own life at her Dahisar home, a night after she went live on Facebook and spoke about how she was feeling cheated, and that she couldn’t trust anyone.

“People will make fun of you and disrespect you in front of others. So never share your problems with anyone and never consider anyone your friend. Be the person whom everybody can trust but never trust anyone. I have learnt this in my life. People are very selfish and don’t care for others,” the actor had said in her last Facebook appeal.

A week prior to that, 32-year-old Marathi actor Ashutosh Bhakre was found dead in his hometown of Nanded, with the police suspecting that he had taken his own life as well. The news was accompanied by a few unverified reports that the actor had been suffering from depression for a while. He had recently shared a video on social media in which he apparently analysed why a person would think of taking this extreme step.

These deaths have come close on the heels of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide on June 14. The tragic loss of the talented actor should have started a conversation on mental health and awareness on suicide prevention. But as we have seen over the past two months, the case has sadly devolved into a witch hunt of his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty over a few grammes of marijuana. On World Suicide Prevention day, it’s probably time we pause and focus on issues that haunt India.