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The tragic real story behind BBC's new series Death in Bollywood

The three-part series follows the death of Jiah Khan

death in bollywood
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
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A new docuseries is starting on BBC this evening focusing on the tragic death of Jiah Khan – a British-American actress who went on to become a Bollywood star.

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The three episodes, which will air on BBC Two across consecutive nights, will mark key moments in the lead up to Jiah's death and is set to be an emotional and difficult watch. Before the first episode airs, find out more about the true story below...

bollywood actress jiah© Photo: BBC

Jiah Khan died in 2013

Who is Jiah Khan?

Jiah Khan was born in New York City and then raised and educated in London. After deciding to become a film star, Jiah moved to Mumbai to pursue her career, and soon landed big roles. The star was nominated for awards for her acting, and even appeared in the film Ghanji, the highest-grossing Bollywood movie of 2008.

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jiah mum© Photo: BBC

Jiah Khan's mother wants to investigate the circumstances surrounding her daughter's death further

What happened to Jiah Khan?

On 3 June 2013, Jiah was found hanged from her ceiling in her family's residence in Mumbai and her death was ruled as a suicide. In the immediate years after her sad death, the Central Bureau of Investigation looked into her death further and it was once again ruled as suicide.

However, Jiah's family, in particular her mother Rabiya, felt that her death was suspicious. It was noted during a hearing that the actress had had an argument with her actor boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi, and her family were convinced that he was responsible for her death.

After the police investigated Sooraj on murder charges, a court in January 2018 charged him with abetting Jiah's suicide, but the case is still ongoing.

death in bollywood forensic scientist© Photo: BBC

The BBC show also hears from a forensic scientist

What does the BBC series uncover about Jiah Khan's death?

The first episode of the three-part docuseries looks at the actress' life and lead up to her death, as well as examining the aftermath. Soon after her daughter's death, Jiah's mother, Rabiya, hired a private investigator Jason Payne James, who also believes that her death was suspicious. The pair seek to unpick key evidence to prove to truth behind the death.

Death in Bollywood starts Monday at 9pm on BBC Two.

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