Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Death In Bollywood: Who was Jiah Khan? All you need to know about late actress

Jiah tragically died in 2013

jiah khan actress
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
Share this:

Viewers have been both gripped and saddened by the recent BBC docuseries, Death In Bollywood, which explores the tragic death of actress Jiah Khan.

MORE: Viewers confused by 'unanswered questions' in Death in Bollywood

The British-American star, who was aged 25 when she died in 2013, pursued her acting career by moving to India and enjoyed success before her death. Find out more about the late star below…

Jiah Khan's early life and career

Jiah, born Nafisa Rizvi Khan, was born in New York City and then raised and educated in London. After completing school, she moved to India to pursue an acting career. It seems that acting ran in her family – her mother Rabiya Amin was a Bollywood actress in the 1980s and two of her paternal aunts were also film stars.

After moving to Mumbai, Jiah landed her first role aged 18 in the movie Nishabd, earning her widespread priase for her performance. In the following years, the actress continued to land roles in commercially successful films including 2008's Ghajini and 2010's Housefull. Jiah had signed on to a number of movies before her death.

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

MORE: 7 shows for lockdown 2021 that you probably haven't watched yet

MORE: The Pembrokeshire Murders: the true story behind the ITV drama

bollywood actress jiah© Photo: BBC

The actress sadly took her own life in 2013

Jiah Khan's tragic death  

Jiah was in a relationship with fellow actor Sooraj Pancholi that was reportedly strained. On 3 June, the actress was found in a bedroom in her Mumbai residence after seemingly taking her own life. Her death was ruled a suicide by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

However, Jiah's family, in particular her mother Rabiya, felt that her death was suspicious. After the family raised concerns and allegations against Sooraj, he was investigated and eventually charged in court in January 2018 for abetting her suicide, but the case is ongoing and has not yet been settled.

jiah mum© Photo: BBC

Jiah's mother features in the new documentary

Documentary on Jiah Khan: Death in Bollywood

Jiah's mother remains convinced that the circumstances surrounding her daughter's death are suspicious, despite it being ruled as a suicide.

The three-part BBC series, which began airing on Monday evening, seeks to explore Jiah's life leading up to her death and her personal life, including her relationship with Sooraj. A private investigator that Rabiya hired, Jason Payne James, also features in the documentary, unpicking key bits of evidence that raise questions surrounding her death. 

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.