Indian actors who died of suicide over the years

Many actors and actresses across the film industries have taken their own lives

From left to right: Jiah Khan, Guru Dutt, Preksha Mehta

Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide has sent Bollywood into shock. The 34-year-old actor was found hanging in his Bandra house on Sunday morning. After a memorable debut in Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che, Sushant also starred in the 2016 biopic—M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story.

This is the second case of suicide by someone from the entertainment industry in a month after Crime Patrol actor Preksha Mehta committed suicide in her residence in Indore. Here are some of the cases of suicide by Indian actors, both male and female in the past few years

Sushant Singh Rajput (2020)

The Dhoni biopic star was found hanging in his residence in Bandra on Sunday morning. While investigations are on, there is no clarity on why that actor had chosen to end his life.

Preksha Mehta (2020)

Crime Patrol actor Preksha Mehta committed suicide on May 26 in her Indore residence. Her body was found hanging from a ceiling fan by her family members. She was suffering from depression and expressed her disappointments regarding her career and failed relationships in her suicide note. 

Kushal Punjabi (2019)

Indian film and television actor Kushal Punjabi was found dead in his residence in Pali Hills in Mumbai on December 26, 2019. He was suffering from depression. His property was distributed to his parents and son as stated in his suicide note. Kushal started his career as a dancer and model and has also acted in movies such as Lakshya, Kaal, Salaam-e-Ishq and Dhan Dhanaa Dhan Goal. He was also the winner of the TV reality game show Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout in 2011.

Nitin Kapoor (2017)

Actor Jeetendra’s cousin Nitin Kapoor jumped from a building on March 14, 2017. Nitin was married to south Indian female actor Jayasudha. According to his wife, he was suffering from bipolar disorder. 

Pratyusha Banerjee (2016)

Known for her role as ‘Anandi’ in the popular TV show Balika Vadhu, Pratyusha was found dead in her Mumbai apartment on April 1, 2016. She was also a contestant in Bigg Boss 7. Apart from Balika Vadhu, she also starred in Hum Hain Na, Sasural Simar Ka and Gulmohar Grand.

Sai Prashanth (2016)

Tamil Actor Sai Prashanth was found dead at his residence on March 13, 2016. He committed suicide by drinking poison mixed with drinks. Mundhinam Paartheney, Neram, Vadacurry are some of the films in which he has acted. Prashanth’s life has been compared to that of late actor Srividya. Police reports suggested loneliness and depression as the reason for the suicide. 

Shikha Joshi (2015)

Shikha was an actor, model and classical dancer who committed suicide in her flat in Mumbai on May 16, 2015. Her neck had three small and a large cut. Her family has been demanding a CBI investigation after stating that it was a murder. She appeared in the 2013 Bollywood movies B.A. Pass. 

Ranganath (2015)

Ranganath was a Telugu actor who starred in more than 300 feature films in a career spanning more than forty years. He hanged himself to death at his Hyderabad residence on December 19, 2015. He established himself as one of the finest actors in Telugu cinema. 

Uday Kiran (2014)

Telugu actor Uday Kiran committed suicide on January 5, 2014, by hanging himself from a tree. Kiran had suffered from depression due to financial crisis for almost a year. In 2001, he won the Filmfare award for Best Actor—Telugu and is the only Telugu actor to have his first four films remade into all regional languages.

Jiah Khan (2013)

British-American actor Jiah Khan committed suicide on June 3, 2013. Jiah made her debut in Bollywood in Ram Gopal Verma’s Nishabd in 2007. Her performance earned her a nomination for Filmfare award for Best Female Debut. She made another notable performance in the 2008 Aamir Khan film Ghajini. She was found hanging in her Juhu residence in Mumbai. Her suicide was investigated extensively by the CBI. Her mother claimed that actor Sooraj Pancholi had murdered her daughter which led to the prosecution to lay charges of murder and sexual assault, which failed in 2017. Pancholi however, was charged with abetting Jiah’s suicide in 2018 by a court in Mumbai. 

Sreenath (2010)

Popular Malayalam film actor Sreenath was found dead in his hotel room in Kothamangalam in Kerala on April 23, 2010. He acted in many hit Malayalam films such as Shalini Ente Koottukaari, Ithe Njangalude Katha, Oru CBI Diary Kurippu and Kireedam. He was a Shiv Sena candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from the Attingal constituency. He also won the Kerala State Television Awards Best Actor in 2000. 

Santhosh Jogi (2010)

Malayalam film actor Santhosh Jogi committed suicide on April 13, 2010. Known for his role as a villain in the Malayalam film Mayavi, Santhosh also featured in the 2006 Mohanlal-starrer Keerthi Chakra where he played the role of a military officer. Santhosh was found hanging from a fan in his friend’s flat in Thrissur, Kerala. According to police reports, Jogi’s suicide was due to family problems. 

Kunal Singh (2008)

Featured mainly in Tamil films, Kunal Singh was found hanging from his ceiling in Mumbai on February 7, 2008. His dead body was found by actor Lavina Bhatia. Kunal’s father challenged the suicide saying his son’s body showed signs of bruising. Lavina was initially detained by the police but was later released as the police could not prove any motive. Several months before his death, Kunal had attempted to end his life by slashing his wrists.

Mayoori (2005)

Popular south Indian actor Mayoori committed suicide on June 16, 2005 in Chennai. She was aged just 22 and had acted in Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada films. Summer in Bethlehem, Akaasha Ganga, Prem Poojari, Chandamama, Manmadhan and Arayannangalude Veedu are some of the films she has acted in.

Monal Naval (2002)

Tamil actor Monal Naval committed suicide in 2002. Aged 21 at the time, she was actor Simran’s sister. She was found hanging at her residence in Chennai. Her sister Simran had accused choreographer Prasanna Sujit as a possible reason for the suicide. The duo had split just a few days before the suicide. 

Silk Smitha (1996)

A sought-after erotic actress of the 80s, Silk Smitha appeared in over 450 films in her career which spanned 17 years. She became a major sex symbol in the industry. She was found dead in her apartment on September 23, 1996 in Chennai. Some suspected foul play in her death while others said she was suffering from depression over debt accumulated from producing movies. 

Gurudutt (1964)

Born Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone, he was known as Guru Dutt and was one of India’s leading actors in the 1950s and 60s. He featured in classics such as Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Chaudhvin Ka Chand. CNN included him in Asia’s Top 25 actors of all time in 2010. On October 10 1964, Guru Dutt was found dead in his rented apartment in Pedder Road in Mumbai. He was reported to have mixed alcohol with sleeping pills. His death could have been a suicide or a case of accidental overdose. He had made two attempts at suicide earlier.