Jiah Khan Biography


Birthday: February 20, 1988 (Pisces)

Born In: New York, New York, United States

Jiah Khan was a actress and singer who worked in three Hindi films between 2007 and 2010. Her first film was Ram Gopal Verma’s film Nishabd in which she co-starred with the acting legend Amitabh Bachchan and won a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. In her second movie Ghajini, she acted alongside superstar Aamir Khan and Asin while in her third and last movie – Housefull – she worked alongside an ensemble cast including Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Riteish Deshmukh, Lara Dutta and Arjun Rampal. Both her second and third movie became commercial successes. Earlier, she played a young Manisha Koirala in Mani Ratnam’s 1998 movie Dil Se..; however it was an uncredited role. In June 2013, she was found dead in her apartment. Her death was ruled a suicide, though her mother suspected a foul play and accused her boyfriend, actor Sooraj Pancholi of being involved in the crime. In 2018, a Mumbai court charged Sooraj Pancholi with abetting Khan's suicide. The case is still to be decided.

Quick Facts

Indian Celebrities Born In February

Also Known As: Nafisa Rizvi Khan

Died At Age: 25


father: Ali Rizvi Khan

mother: Rabia Amin

siblings: Karishma Khan, Kavita Khan

Partner: Sooraj Pancholi (m. 2012)

Born Country: United States

Actresses Indian Women

Height: 5'6" (168 cm), 5'6" Females

Died on: June 3, 2013

place of death: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Ancestry: Indian American, American Indian

Notable Alumni: Lee Strasberg Theatre And Film Institute

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

Cause of Death: Suicide

More Facts

education: Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute


In 1998, Jiah Khan appeared in an uncredited role of a younger Manisha Koirala in Mani Ratnam’s film Dil Se…

In 2004, at the age of 16, Jiah Khan was offered a role in Mukesh Bhatt's musical romantic drama film Tumsa Nahin Dekha and was all set to make her debut opposite actor Emraan Hashmi. However, she opted out later after both she and the director realised that she was too young to portray such a mature role. Actress Dia Mirza was, instead, roped in to play the role in the movie.

Jiah Khan finally debuted in 2007 with Ram Gopal Verma's drama film Nishabd wherein she starred opposite megastar Amitabh Bachchan. The film received mixed reviews, but her performance and confidence was appreciated by the critics. She also turned singer for one of the soundtracks – Take Lite – of the movie. For her work in the film, she received a nomination at the 2007 Filmfare Awards in the category of Best Female Debut.

In 2008, she was cast in the supporting role of Sunita, a medical student in A.R. Murugadoss's action thriller film Ghajini. The film starring Aamir Khan and Asin in the lead roles was a remake of a Murugadoss's 2005 Tamil film of the same name. The film went on to become a huge hit.

Her final film was Sajid Khan's 2010 comedy film Housefull wherein she played the role of Akshay Kumar's ex-wife Devika K. Samtani. The film had an ensemble cast and became the fifth highest grossing Bollywood film of the year. The same year, she was also supposed to appear in the dance film Chance Pe Dance opposite Shahid Kapoor; however, she was later replaced by Genelia D'Souza.

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Family & Personal Life

Jiah Khan was born as Nafisa Rizvi Khan on 20th February 1988 in New York City, United States to Ali Rizvi Khan and Rabiya Amin. Her father was an Indian American businessman while her mother was a Hindi film actress from 1980s. Her father left the family while she was very young and her mother raised her in Chelsea, London. Her mother later remarried Thomas Puppendahl. Her family includes two younger sisters Kavita and Karishma.

In 1995, at the age of six, Jiah Khan saw Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar's film Rangeela and was so inspired that she decided to become an actress. She, later, joined the Lee Strasberg Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York to receive acting training; however left in between upon receiving a film offer.

She had a passion for singing and had received training in opera singing and piano playing. She had also learnt several different dance forms including belly dancing, salsa, lambada, jazz, reggae, samba and Kathak. She changed her name from Nafisa to Jiah after Angelina Jolie's 1998 movie Gia.

On 3rd June 2013, she was found dead at her residence in Mumbai. Her death was deemed suicide and the CBI re-confirmed her death as suicide after investigation. Her mother, Rabiya, however suspected foul play and accused Jiah’s boyfriend at the time, actor Sooraj Pancholi of murdering her daughter. In 2018, a Mumbai court charged Pancholi with abetting her suicide. The investigations in the case are ongoing.

In 2021, a three-part BBC two documentary series Death in Bollywood revolved around her tragic death. Earlier, an episode of television series Yeh Hai Aashiqui was loosely based on Jiah Khan's suicide.

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