A BBC Two documentary series about the death of actor Jiah Khan is dividing audiences. The three-part series aired over three days in the UK, concluding its run on January 13.
Jiah, who appeared in hit films such as Nishabd, Ghajini, and Housefull, was found dead in her Mumbai apartment in 2013, at the age of 25. Her death was ruled a suicide, but her mother, Rabiya, has maintained that she was murdered, and has pointed fingers at Jiah’s boyfriend at the time, actor Sooraj Pancholi, who was named in a suicide note found by the authorities.
Sooraj appeared in the second episode of the documentary series, in which he repeated that he is innocent. According to Metro, he said that he was with Jiah only for five months, and that she had confided in him about her history with depression. “This is not a suicide, this is a murder,” Rabiya said in a clip from the series.
“I’m just telling the court, please find out who the murderer is, and acquit us from this abetment to suicide (charge),” Sooraj’s father, Aditya Pancholi, said in a trailer for the series. “According to her, this is not a suicide at all, so this is our case.”
In its review, The Telegraph noted that the series brings up several points about the case, such as Jiah’s missing tracksuit, which she wore hours before being found dead; her inaccessible Blackberry, and certain ligature marks on her body. The review noted, “…seeing photographs of Jiah’s dead body felt voyeuristic. All the ingredients of a celebrity true-crime story were here, and viewing the show in those terms left me uneasy.”
Viewers have been divided on the series. “I am truly shocked that Sooraj Pancholi and Aditya Pancholi agreed to be interviewed for #DeathInBollywood because they do NOT come out of it well,” one person wrote on Twitter. “BBC2’s #DeathInBollywood was such an upsetting watch. I never realised the extent of it. Everything the showed which was not investigated… the tracksuit, phone history, the marks on her body. So, so sad,” wrote another.
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