Chilling BBC documentary explores Bollywood star’s mysterious ‘suicide’

Actor Jiah Khan's death is one that has been surrounded by much horror and mystery in Bollywood since she died in 2013.

Jiah, real name Nafisa Rizvi Khan, was found dead in her apartment on June 3, and the Central Bureau of Investigation pronounced her death as a suicide.

However, her British family was certain that the star would not have taken her own life and UK-based forensic expert Jason James-Pynes claimed that her hanging was staged.

To do this day, her family believes that the truth has not yet surfaced.

Tonight on BBC Two a docuseries will delve into the event, telling the story of the actress in a new factual feature named Death in Bollywood.

Here's her story…

Her death

Jiah was found hanging in her bedroom of her family's residence in Juhu, Mumbai on June 3, 2013.

It's reported she died somewhere between 11pm and 11.30pm, and neither her mum or sister were home with her at the time.

In that same year, it was deemed a suicide and re-confirmed as a suicide in 2016 following an extensive investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

However, at a hearing at the Bombay High Court, Jiah's mother continued to claim that her daughter had been murdered by her boyfriend, actor Sooraj Pancholi.

This leads the prosecution to make a failed attempt to lay charges of murder and sexual assault in 2017.

On January 31, 2018, nearly five years after her death, a court in Mumbai charged Pancholi with abetting Jiah's suicide.

Tragically, the case has not yet been settled.

The suicide note

For days after her death on June 7, her sister found a six-page suicide note which was allegedly addressed to Jiah's boyfriend Pancholi.

It reportedly indicated in the note that Jiah planned to end her life and an abortion was mentioned, which was information the family choose to release as her mother began to suspect foul play.

The note started: "I don't know how to say this to you but I might as well now as I have nothing to lose. I've already lost everything.

"If you're reading this I might have already left or about to leave. I am broken inside.

"You may not have known this but you affected me deeply to a point where I lost myself in loving you. Yet you tortured me everyday."

In it the letter it also claimed her partner had cheated, abused, and threatened her.

On the abortion, she wrote: "I aborted our baby when it hurt me deeply."

The lengthy note ended with: "I wish you had loved me like I loved you. I dreamt of our future. I dreamt of our success. I leave this place with nothing but broken dreams and empty promises.

"All I want now is to go to sleep and never wake up again. I am nothing. I had everything. I felt so alone even while with you.

"You made me feel alone and vulnerable. I am so much more than this. (sic)"

Boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi

Years after Jiah's death, her mother, Rabia, independently hired British forensics expert Jason Payne-James.

Payne-James concluded in a September 20, 2016 report that the actresses' hanging was staged and the marks on her face and neck indicate it was not simply suicide.

Her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi, who is also a Bollywood actor, became the centre of attention.

In January 2017, nearly four years after her death, the prosecution requested that charges of sexual assault and murder be laid against Pancholi.

On January 31, 2018, nearly five years after her death, a court in Mumbai charged Sooraj Pancholi with abetting Jiah's suicide.

The CBI submitted a list of 69 witnesses, including Khan's mother Rabia, the complainant, with the case to begin in March 2018.

But as of November 2019, it had not begun yet, which Pancholi attributed to Khan's mother's refusal to proceed.

Pancholi has denied involvement in Khan's death, describing himself as a "scapegoat for her decision to end her life".

During an event for his film Satellite Shankar in 2019, Pancholi opened up on how he feels about the case.

He said: "I have been struggling in life over the past seven years. I was put behind bars when I was 21 for something I haven't done.

"I don't want to hype this but I want to say that all these years, I have been very quiet because I believed in our legal system."

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