Cruel nature of showbiz provokes actors to commit suicide


The world of showbiz is full of glitz and glamour, name and fame. And once someone is successful in achieving this, it becomes addictive that one loses the sense of practicality. An individual becomes so much infatuated with the luxury of stardom and fan-following that the absence of it kills the person, literally.

The recent untimely deaths of some artistes in the Indian entertainment industry, is reminiscent of this ugly truth...the darker side of name, fame and success. This is not a new trend, and the industry is abundant with such examples. Many actors, singers, models and all others in the show business taste success but are later forgotten. The get thrown into the dark pits of loneliness where they silently suffer depression and eventually death gets the better of them.

Mental agony and depression were in one way or other, responsible for the deaths of actors Aarthi Agarwal, Shikha Joshi and Punjabi singer Dharampreet recently. Late Tollywood actress Aarthi suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on June 6 after a failed liposuction surgery a few weeks before her death in first week of June, and within a day Dharampreet hanged himself to death when his singing career started taking a nosedive. Shikha who appeared in the critically acclaimed film ‘B.A. Pass,’ slashed her throat killing herself on May 16. The late starlet had gone under the knife to conform to the so-called standards of beauty by getting a breast implant, but the lack of employment made her commit suicide.

On April 9, Bengali television actress Disha Ganguly’s body was found hanging from the ceiling fan at her residence in Behala. A ‘dupatta’ was tied around her neck. She was allegedly in a same-sex relationship which the society at large, still consider a taboo. Her mother was forcing her to leave her girlfriend and apparently unable to handle the stress she took the extreme step.

Another actor from South Uday Kiran, who gave hat-trick hits during the 1990s and was augured to be a big star, ended his life in January 2014 after failing to get any work leading to a financial crisis and depression. Uday and Aarthi had worked together in the 2002 hit Telugu movie ‘Nee Sneham’.

Jia Khan who debuted in Bollywood opposite megastar Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Nishabd’ and further worked in ‘Ghajini’ and ‘Houseful’ committed suicide. She didn’t find any suitable work after that. And the fact that regional cinemas rejected her despite working with leading stars and successful movies was unreasonable to her.

Top model and MTV VJ Nafisa Joseph couldn’t bear the shock that her fiancé was already married and ended her life in 2004 while her counterpart Viveka Babajee, in a state of depression hanged herself from the ceiling fan of her Mumbai apartment on 25 June 2010. Model Kuljeet Randhawa too killed herself unable to cope with the pressures of life.      

Actress Vijaylakshmi, popular as Silk Smitha, created sensation in the South and was found dead in 1996. As her ‘beauty’ faded she was pushed back to a life of poverty and loneliness and she poisoned herself to get rid of the problems. The actress was popular for her sultry roles but she also did a serious role in 1982 film ‘Moondram Pirai’, remade in Hindi as ‘Sadma’. The film was based on its director Balu Mahendra’s actress wife Shobha who killed herself at the tender age of 17 in 1980.

The same year 22-year-old Jayalaxmi, who had worked opposite stars like Rajanikanth, Kamal Hassan and Chiranjeevi committed suicide. In 2000 Tamil actress Viji blamed her rumoured lover director A R Ramesh who was already married, in her suicide note. Two years later in February 2002 Tamil film actress Pratyusha and her boyfriend decided commit suicide after their families objected to their marriage. Pratyusha, who was just 21, lost her life but her boyfriend was saved after being taken to hospital. In April the same year actress Monal Naval also 21, hanged herself at home. She was the sister of actress Simran who appeared in ‘Sanam Harjai’, ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ and a few other Hindi films besides in many filims down South.

It is not just small timers who resort to this drastic step. Long back the legendary actor-director Guru Dutt was found dead on October 10, 1964. It is said that he used to mix alcohol with sleeping pills. It may have been a case of accidental drug overdose, but the ‘Pyaasa’ director and actor had attempted suicide twice before that. Even the gorgeous Parveen Babi who blazed the silver screens in the 1970s and 80s also suffered a mental illness and died a lonely death in 2005.

Like in every other field, the entertainment industry too has its share of success and failures. The many who gave up their life due to desperation could have tried to find a different way to make their lives fulfilling. Such cases highlight the stringent definitions of success and beauty and cruel banishment of people who fail to meet them in an industry full of ups and downs.

Adding to it is the lack of any kind of help for those who face the whims of showbiz. They often shy to seek help of psychologists or psychiatrists for fear of social stigma or simply because they do not realise that the problem is slowly leading to a dangerous consequence. Taking professional help is essential to cope with the strain and vagaries of the industry.

Earlier this year leading Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone revealed that she was on an emotional low but she overcame it with help of her family and friends. Actor Varun Dhawan also said he sought medical help to calm down his mind after the strenuous shoot of his film ‘Badlapur’.