‘Have never seen a debutant with more spunk than Jiah’

I ONLY take up those roles that I feel something for.

Written by Express News Service | Published: June 5, 2013 3:45:30 am

I ONLY take up those roles that I feel something for. I want to wake up and be excited about the film that I’m part of. I’m relatively young in the industry and I’m ready to take it slow.” In an interview to The Indian Express in March 2010,a little before the release of her last film Housefull,Jiah Khan had spelt out her big screen aspirations. Three years later,as she prepares for her last journey on Wednesday,her dreams remain unfulfilled.

Jiah,earlier known as Nafisa Khan,was born in London on February 20,1988 and grew up there. She studied film and literature in London and then moved to New York to attend the famed Lee Strasberg Academy of Dramatic Arts. After completing her acting course,Jiah moved to Mumbai with her mother,Rabiya Amin,a failed Bollywood actress of the 1980s,who was best remembered for appearing in Tahir Hussain’s Dulha Bikta Nahin.

After a series of auditions in Mumbai,Jiah was to make her debut in Mahesh Bhatt’s Tumsa Nahin Dekha (2004). According to sources,Jiah backed out as she had to portray the role of a strip dancer. It was then that Ram Gopal Varma cast her in Nishabd (2007). The movie,which drew inspiration from Kevin Spacey’s American Beauty and Rajesh Khanna’s Anokha Rishta,had Jiah playing a seductive teen who falls in love with her best friend’s father,played by Amitabh Bachchan. The film was panned by critics for its provocative content. It was also a massive box-office failure. Jiah,however was praised for her performance and her oomph and confidence became the talk of the town. “I have never seen a debutant with more spunk and spirit than Jiah. While shooting for Nishabd,the entire unit was in love with her,” said Varma.

In spite of the start,Jiah’s unconventional looks did not have many takers in Bollywood. Her next big film was the Aamir Khan-starrer Ghajini (2008),in which where she played the second lead. Jiah’s third film was Sajid Khan’s Housefull,where she played one of the lead actresses alongside Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta. Riteish Deshmukh,her co-star in the film,tweeted,“She was full of life and had an incredible sense of humour.”

Jiah was also cast opposite Shahid Kapoor in Chance Pe Dance and shot a chunk of the film before being replaced by Genelia.

Of late,Jiah was mostly seen attending award functions and events. According to sources,she had signed a three-film deal with Madhu Mantena,one of which was Ghajini and the other two never got made.

Singer Shweta Pandit,who met her at a party last year,spoke of Jiah’s musical inclinations. Khan had also sent her a message recently asking for contacts of piano and music teachers in Mumbai. Pandit said,“Jiah sang really well and was fond of music and dance. She was keen to learn so much more.”

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

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