Jiah Khan

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Jiah Khan
Jiah Khan at DJ magazine launch 06.jpg
Jiah at the Stardust Awards
Born (1988-02-20)20 February 1988
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died 3 June 2013(2013-06-03) (aged 25)
Juhu, Mumbai, India
Nationality British American
Occupation Actress, model, singer
Years active 2007–2013
Partner(s) Sooraj Pancholi
Website Jiahkhan.com

Jiah Khan (born as Nafisa Rizvi Khan, 20 February 1988 – 3 June 2013) was a British American actress, model and singer who appeared in Hindi films.[1] She made her film debut in the 2007 Ram Gopal Verma film Nishabd for which she was nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. She was later noted for portraying a modern, independent woman in Ghajini which was the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2008. Her performance in the latter earned her significant acclaim. She last appeared in Sajid Khan's romantic comedy Housefull, which was the fifth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2010. Khan had catapulted herself into the Bollywood 100 Crore Club with Ghajini and Housefull.[2]

On 3 June 2013, she was found dead in her flat in the Sagar Sangeet building in Juhu, Mumbai after apparently hanging herself. However, later her mother said that she was murdered by her boyfriend Suraj Pancholi. Her case is under probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Khan was born into a Muslim family in New York City.[4] She was the daughter of Ali Rizvi Khan, an Indian American and Rabiya Amin, a Hindi film actress in the 1980s from Agra, Uttar Pradesh.[5] Her paternal aunt was Pakistani actress and director Sangeeta.[6] Khan grew up in London where she completed her Edexcel O and A Level with five As, before moving to Mumbai to pursue a career in Bollywood.[4] She has two younger sisters Kavita and Karishma.[7] She was inspired to enter Bollywood after watching Ram Gopal Verma's former protege Urmila Matondkar's movie Rangeela at the age of six.[8][9]

Khan studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Manhattan, though she quit upon receiving a movie offer.[10] She learnt the dance forms of salsa, belly dancing, kathak, lambada, jazz, samba and reggae.


Khan at the launch of Nokia APP in 2010.

In 2004, at the age of 16, Khan was signed to act in Mukesh Bhatt's Tumsa Nahin Dekha but backed out when both she and the director felt the role was too mature for her; she was immediately replaced by Dia Mirza. Two years later, in 2007, at the age of 18,[11] Khan made her debut in Ram Gopal Verma's controversial romantic thriller Nishabd, as Jiah,[12] where she acted opposite Amitabh Bachchan. Despite the provocative content in the film, it performed poorly at the box office, and earned mixed reviews from critics.[13] Nonetheless, Khan received a mostly positive reception for her performance, with critics noting her confidence, attitude, and sex appeal. Raja Sen praised her portrayal of Jia, a seductive, free-spirited teenager, calling her performance "nuanced" and "impressive".[14] Taran Adarsh agrees, saying that "Newcomer Jiah Khan is supremely confident. Loaded with attitude and sex appeal, the newcomer carries off her part with flourish. Her scenes with Bachchan are superb!"[15] Rajeev Masand adds that she is "perfectly cast" for the film.[16] She was also nominated for a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award,[17] however lost to Deepika Padukone.

The following year, she appeared alongside Aamir Khan and Asin in A.R. Murugadoss's psychological thriller Ghajini, the Hindi remake of its namesake. She played Sunita, a medical student who investigates the history of Sanjay Singhania, portrayed by Aamir Khan. The film gathered much appreciation from critics, and went on to become the highest grossing Bollywood film of 2008, as well as earn the all-time blockbuster status.[18] Khan's performance attracted mixed reviews, with critics agreeing that her role was "sketchy".[19] Despite this, Sukanya Verma compliments her performance, commenting that Khan "continues to strike as an exquisite and expressive actress."[20]

Khan made her last film appearance in a supporting role as Devika K. Samtani, the ex-wife of Akshay Kumar's character, in Sajid Khan's Housefull also alongside Riteish Deshmukh, Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta in 2010. Housefull was the second time she appeared in the highest grossing Bollywood film of the year.[21]

In the months before her death, she had signed three South Indian films and one Hindi film Aap Ka Saaya (Hindi version of Tamil film Yaaradi Nee Mohini) opposite Ranbir Kapoor.[7][22]


Khan reportedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at around 11:45 pm in a bedroom of her Juhu residence in Mumbai on Monday, 3 June 2013, when her mother Rabiya and sister Kavita were not at home.

Khan at London in 2009.

An autopsy was performed at JJ Hospital in Byculla.[23] Her body was then brought back to her residence around 7:00 am on Wednesday, 5 June 2013, following the post-mortem.[24]

On the same day her Namaz-e-janaza took place at Sonapur Kabar Walla Masjid and she was buried at Juhu Muslim cemetery after Dhuhr prayer as per Islamic rites. Bollywood actors in attendance included Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Riteish Deshmukh, Siddharth Mallya, Sophie Choudry, Urvashi Dholakia, Prem Chopra, Ranjeet, Deepak Parashar, Sanjay Khan and Nagma in attendance.[25] Bollywood stars reacted with shock at her death.[26]

On 7 June 2013, a six-page suicide note was found by her sister. The note is reported to indicate that she had planned to end her life. A transcript was released by Khan's family which included mention of a recent abortion.[27]

On 8 June 2013, Khan's condolence meeting was held at Vile Parle Medical Club to pray for Jiah. Bollywood actors in attendance included Aamir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Randhir Kapoor, Prateik Babbar, Sanjay Kapoor, Shweta Pandit, Kiran Rao, Urvashi Dholakia, Ranjeet, Deepak Parashar, Sanjay Khan and Nagma.

Sooraj Pancholi, who was allegedly in a live-in relationship with Khan, was taken into custody in association with her suicide on 10 June 2013.[28] The Bombay High Court granted him bail on 2 July 2013.[29] Her death case is being probed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).[30] On 3 July 2014, Bombay High Court ordered CBI probe into Jiah Khan suicide case.[31] Jiah Khan’s suicide case transferred to CBI by High Court.[32]


An episode of the TV series Yeh Hai Aashiqui was loosely based on Jiah Khan's suicide, with Mihika Verma and Rithvik Dhanjani playing the central characters.[33]


Year Film Role Notes
2007 Nishabd Jiah Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut
Also playback singer for song "Take Lite"
2008 Ghajini Sunita
2010 Housefull Devika K. Samtani


  1. ^ Jiah Khan all praise for Aamir The Hindu – 26 November 2008
  2. ^ "Jiah Khan now Nafisa Khan". India Today. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Dubey, Bharti (4 June 2013). "Actress Jiah Khan commits suicide". The Times of India. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Bollywood actress Jiah Khan found dead in Mumbai". BBC News. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Khalid Mohamed (17 February 2007). ""I'm not related by blood to Tahir Hussain's family. I'm not his daughter. I don't even know how Aamir Khan looks like" – Jiah Khan". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bolly Muslims talk about the armband revolution". The Express Tribune. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Failing career, troubled love life killed 25-year-old Jiah Khan?". Hindustan Times. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  8. ^ 10 unknown facts about Jiah Khan | 10 unknown facts about Jiah Khan – Yahoo! Movies India
  9. ^ Bollywood | Jiah Khan | Interview | Nishabd Oneindia 21 November 2006
  10. ^ Krishnaveni ,s (7 March 2007). "Sound the siren". Gulfnews.com. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  11. ^ From Nishabd to Housefull: Who was Nafisa ‘Jiah’ Khan? – Firstpost
  12. ^ "India Today, Volume 31, Issues 13–25". India Today (Thomson Living Media India Limited). 2006. p. 64. 
  13. ^ "Nishabd is a total loss". Rediff. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Sen, Raja. "Nishabd is a powerful film". Rediff. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Adarsh, Taran. "Nishabd – Review". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Masand, Rajeev. "Masand's Verdict: Nishabd". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Nishabd actress Jiah Khan commits suicide". The Indian Express. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Box Office 2008". Box Office India. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  19. ^ Mohamed, Khaled. "Review: Ghajini". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  20. ^ Verma, Sukanya. "Ghajini: A sleek album of dark memories". Rediff. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Jiah sulks over Yahoo". India Today. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  22. ^ Sood, Megha (5 June 2013). "Actor Jiah Khan, 25, kills herself". Indian Express. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "Jiah Khan was planning to quit movies, turn interior designer | NDTV Movies.com". Movies.ndtv.com. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "No messages found in Jiah's beau's phone". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "Jiah Khan laid to rest amidst tears – The Times of India" (in French). The Times of India. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  26. ^ Bollywood star commits suicide – Central & South Asia – Al Jazeera English
  27. ^ "Jiah Khan's Suicide Note Revealed | India | Page 2". India Times. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  28. ^ Singh, Vijay V (11 June 2013). "Aditya Pancholi's son Suraj held for abetting Jiah Khan's suicide". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "HC grants Suraj Pancholi bail, downplays Jiah Khan letter". DNA. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  30. ^ "Bombay High Court orders CBI to probe Jiah Khan Death Case". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  31. ^ http://www.abplive.in/crime/2014/07/03/article355475.ece/Bombay-High-Court-orders-CBI-probe-into-Jiah-Khan-suicide-case#.U7VQBvmSzTo
  32. ^ http://www.indtoday.com/jiah-khans-suicide-case-transferred-to-cbi-by-high-court/
  33. ^ "Telly show to recreate Jiah Khan's suicide?". Times of India. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 

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