Jiah Khan was a fighter and it is difficult to believe she took her own life, says her mother even as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her daughter.
The 25-year-old US-born actress was found hanging at her residence here on June 3. It is speculated that a failed relationship with boyfriend Suraj, son of actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, led her to commit suicide.
"It is heartbreaking... unbelievable... why she did this? When someone is behaal (in bad shape), disturbed mentally and emotionally then they don't know what they are doing, what step they are taking. She was a fighter, soldier," Rabiya Khan said.
"She was very spiritual. She used to advice and counsel her sisters. Being elder, she was protective about them. It is surprising to know how 'kamjor' (weak) she was from within...we couldn't believe she did this."
Recalling the ill-fated day, Rabiya said, "We were out at around 8.30 pm and Jiah was to see an American show with one of her cousins. I was at my friend's place. We chatted through text messages. This was at around 9.30 pm. If I had known about her mental condition that day I wouldn't have left her alone."
On June 11, Suraj was arrested on the basis of a six-page note purportedly written by the actress. In the note, a deeply hurt Jiah has written about the "trauma and abuse" suffered at the hands of her lover (not mentioned by name in the letter). Suraj (22) has been booked for abetment to suicide.
"Her love was not respected and recognised," rued Rabiya. Jiah had told her mother about troubled relation with Suraj when she visited Rabiya in London a few months back. "This year when she came to London for her birthday (inFebruary) I noticed she had lost the charm on her face. As a mother I could feel it. I asked her and she started crying, I asked her if that was about her career, or films getting delayed. She started crying like hell as if there was a deep pain in her heart," Rabiya said.
"We asked her if it was about Suraj, she said he does not respect her, uses foul language, hits her. I told her he is not for you... we asked her to cut off ties with the guy. We decided to do things what she likes and tried to keep her busy. She became normal and looked happy. I explained her how to give space in a relation, how to keep oneself busy."
The allegations levelled by Jiah's kin have been rubbished by Suraj's family.
"We are not commenting on things being said by others (Suraj's mother). We have faith in judiciary. Right now all we want is peace," Jiah's step-father Tom Thomas said.
Jiah made her acting debut in Ram Gopal Varma's 'Nishabd' where she acted opposite Amitabh Bachchan. The March 2007 film received mixed reviews, but Jiah, then only 19, was noted for her confidence, attitude and sex appeal. She also got a Filmfare Best Debutante nomination.
She then appeared alongside Aamir Khan in 'Ghajini'. Jiah was a supporting actress in Sajid Khan's multi-starrer 'Housefull' (2010), which turned out to be her last film.
Rabiya rubbished reports that Jiah's floundering film career may have led her to take the extreme step. "She was not disturbed about career... she had good offers in pipeline. She refused a lot of films. For her it was the role and subject that excited her.
"She was a born actress. She did a film at the age of 10 or 11 for UNICEF on child abuse. She played a young bride, getting married to an older man," she said.
Talking about Jiah's other interest areas, Rabiya said her daughter used to pen lyrics, write diary and loved reading books on different subjects. She loved music and used to sing as well.