From Nishabd to Housefull: Who was Nafisa 'Jiah' Khan?

FP Staff

June 04, 2013 18:39:55 IST

Jiah Khan's foray into Bollywood didn't follow the usual song and item-dance routine. In fact, the concept of Nishabd (2007) her debut film, where she was the subject of the obsession of a much older man played by Amitabh Bachchan, didn't go down too well with most Bollywood fans. The film sank at the box office and many people questioned Bachchan's decision to act in the Ram Gopal Verma film.

However, the film made Jiah, then 18-years-old, an actor to watch out for given her apparent willingness to  take up roles categorised  as 'bold' in Bollywood. Therefore, almost immediately after her debut, Jiah was perhaps conveniently categorised as a girl who would never fit into a Yash Chopra or a Karan Johan romance.

Jiah Khan. AFP.

Jiah Khan. AFP.

Despite a Filmfare nomination for Nishabd, Jiah's career never really took off. Her second film was Ghajini, where she reportedly got the role of a medical student aiding the hero in part thanks to her acting talent and also due to fellow actress Kangana Ranaut's inability to keep a secret.

However, the role did little for her fledgling career with south Indian actress Asin walking away with whatever plaudits remained after critics and fans were done praising Aamir Khan.

In a bid to dive in to the mainstream movies that seemed to have steered clear of her, Jiah then appeared in Sajid Khan's Housefull in 2010. No one works the mainstream better than Sajid Khan, and Jiah dutifully went through the grind on screen. She wore a bikini, mouthed three or four inane dialogues, danced and remained relegated to being another female extra.

Soon, apart from appearances at parties and product launches, Khan gradually seemed to have disappeared from Bollywood. However, she resurfaced in 2013 and gave an interview to a leading daily saying she was back, had signed new films and had changed her name to Nafisa Khan, the name her parents gave her.

In an interview she said, "Yes, I had changed my name to Jiah when I was 16. But now I want to be myself, so I am back to my real name. I was always Nafisa Khan. My family and friends call me Nafisa and I am used to it."

Hailing from London, Khan's father is an Indian American and her mother a former actress from Lucknow, and the actress in a recent interview to The Times of India claimed she had vanished briefly only to hone her skills in her home town.

See, I wasn't in India for quite some time. I was learning acting in London all this while. And I had taken a deliberate sabbatical - I wanted to hone my skills a bit more and also give myself a break. That's why I haven't been seen in any film lately."

Her career had perhaps even begun to show signs of recovery and according to an NDTV report:

Jiah was also cast opposite Shahid Kapoor in Chance Pe Dance and shot a large portion of the film before being replaced by Genelia D'Souza. However, she was signed for a two-film deal by UTV Motion Pictures and a three-film deal by Ghajini producer Madhu Mantena. She had also signed a Hollywood film, according to her website.

However, not a lot is known about the status of those projects. For now, little is known about what troubled the starlet enough to take the extreme step that she did.

Updated Date: Jun 04, 2013 18:43 PM