The apparent suicide of Bollywood actress Pratyusha Banerjee has sent shock waves through India, leaving her family, friends and costars reeling. The 24-year-old actress was reportedly found hanging from a ceiling fan in her house, located in the Mumbai neighborhood of Kandivali on Friday, April 1.
Police say they did not find a suicide note, and an “accidental death report” was filed, according to the Indian Express. Doctors from forensics ruled the “ligature marks” on Banerjee’s neck as the preliminary cause of death.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 2, 2016
Banerjee’s fiancé, actor Rahul Raj Singh, 47-years-old, reportedly found her and took her to the hospital. The longtime couple lived together and became engaged in December 2015. Singh was later questioned by police on Saturday, but they released him.
A senior police officer gave information on the events Singh said happened the day he found Banerjee hanging in their home.
“Singh returned and found the door locked from inside. After several minutes of trying to get the door to open, he went back and fetched a keymaker to force open the door. Singh then asked a passing servant to climb onto the balcony and look in through the window. The servant saw Banerjee hanging from a ceiling fan.”
Investigators believe they are dealing with a suicide and can rule out foul play in the death of Banerjee.
A senior police officer added, “Banerjee had been depressed and out of work since March last year. We will be speaking to more of her close friends to try and establish what made her take this drastic step.”
Banerjee’s parents flew to Mumbai from their hometown of Jamshedpur the moment they heard of their daughter’s untimely death. They told police in their statements they don’t believe Singh is responsible for their daughter’s death.
Besides family, fellow actors and actresses are lamenting the loss of a bright young talent. Actress Dolly Bindra expressed her disbelief to the Indian Express after hearing the news of Banerjee’s suicide.
“It is unbelievable that she could commit suicide because I know her and she is a strong woman.”
Many mourners took to Twitter to express their condolences.
What a shame! Such a lovely person should suicide! Who knows the turmoil within her. RIP. pic.twitter.com/tIDk1QetF1
— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) April 1, 2016
Hailing from Jamshedpur, Banerjee rose to fame in 2010 after taking over the lead role in Balika Vadhu, a popular Indian television drama that premiered in 2008. The drama is one of the longest-running shows in India with over 2,400 episodes, MSN reports.
The beloved actress later appeared on reality shows such as Bigg Boss (like Big Brother in the U.S.) and Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, where celebrities pair up with professional dance partners like Dancing with the Stars in the U.S. Power Couple was another reality show Banerjee was on with Singh where the couple competed with other celebrity couples in various challenges.
While many news outlets are reporting there were fights between Pratyusha Banerjee and her fiancé Rahul Singh as well as financial troubles, Singh’s lawyer, Neeraj Gupta, has dismissed those reports.
“They were living their lives happily and there was no problem between them. Singh is cooperating with the police, and wants the truth to come out. He should not be declared a culprit at this stage. Let the police investigate the case and find out the reason behind the suicide.”
Hollywood Life reports Banerjee was given her last rites and cremated in a Hindu ceremony in Mumbai on April 2. Friends, family and fellow Bollywood stars gathered to say good-bye to Banerjee. Hindu rites included circling the body with water from an earthen pot, and the family throwing leaves over their heads without looking back when exiting the crematorium.
Pratyusha Banerjee, who was preparing to marry Rahul Singh, was reportedly cremated in her wedding dress.
[Image via Instagram]