Boyfriend is now in jail, suspected of abetting his former girlfriend's suicide.
However, these expectations have now begun to spin out of control. They have begun to strangle the very relationship. The recent suicide of Bollywood actress Jiah Khan in Mumbai is an example.
She was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her flat. She was only 25, and in 2007, when she was just 18, she stole the show by acting as Ram Gopal Verma’s “Lolita” in the film, Nishabd. Her co-star was no less than Amitabh Bachchan. But, despite the titillating subject of the movie – of an older man being smitten by a very young girl – and the presence of Big B himself, the film sank without a trace.
Jiah acted in a couple of more movies – Amir Khan starrer, Ghajini, and Housefull – and both did quite well at the boxoffice. However, nobody really thought of her as a performer of any calibre. She was young, sexy and, well, willing to play the seductress, as she did in Nishabd. Beyond this, precious little was attributed to her. Even the media hardly ever carried anything about her.
The relationship between 25-year-old Jiah and 22-year-old Suraj broke up some time ago, and he began seeing someone else.
What can be wrong with this? Men and women – even much older than Jiah and Suraj – meet, date, even have sex (and sometimes the woman gets pregnant) and then break up to go their separate ways.
Now if the woman cries foul after a split, kills herself and, on top of all this, leaves behind a note blaming the man, nothing, nothing can be crueller than this. For the man, of course. Especially, when he is still a little older than a boy, like Suraj.
Jiah “wrote” a five-page note where she spoke about her failed affair with Suraj. She even mentioned her pregnancy and her subsequent abortion. But it is not yet clear whether she directly held him responsible for what was to follow. The police are not even sure that she wrote the note.
But Jiah’s family, her mother in particular, is certain that she wrote the note, and that Suraj is the man who drove the actress to hang herself.
Undoubtedly, a life lost in this manner is simply terrible, but to point a finger at a former boyfriend is not just done. And in Jiah’s case, Suraj – all set for a launch in a Salman Khan film – is now in jail, suspected of abetting his former girlfriend’s suicide!
As one Facebook reader quipped: “So now after seeing this news play out, we have a nation of unstable 25-year olds going around forcing their partners into matrimony at gunpoint of “do it or I’ll commit suicide and you’ll go to jail like Aditya Pancholi’s son”?
In the history of showbiz, there have many women who took their own lives after their relationships had failed. Marilyn Monroe was perhaps the most famous or infamous of the lot. She swallowed an overdose of sleeping pills and was found dead the next morning. She was 36. Of course, she had an unhappy life — foster-home childhood, drugs and illnesses. And, at the time of her death, she is said to have been sleeping with the two most powerful men in the USA, the President himself and the Attorney-General. The affairs ran concurrently. Worse, both were brothers.
In 1980, Shoba, an excellent South Indian actress, committed suicide. She was barely 17, and only a year earlier, she had won the National Award for Best Actress for playing the lead in the Tamil movie, Pasi (Hunger). Her unhappy relationship with a leading film director was reportedly what led to this sad end to a promising life and career.
In the case of Monroe and Shoba, nobody accused the men who had been involved with the actresses. The men did not go to jail.
But Suraj is now in prison and is being seen as a villain. And all because he happened to fall out of love with Jiah.
Blame it on the times we now live in. As a bachelor friend remarked, men would think a million times before they fall in love. Perhaps, a billion times if they decide to call it quits.
Gautaman Bhaskaran is India Editor of FMT, and Chennai-based author, columnist and movie critic. He may be emailed at [email protected]