Deccan Chronicle

Balika Vadhu star Pratyusha Banerjee found dead, suicide suspected

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: April 1, 2016 | Updated on: April 2, 2016

Pratyusha's WhatsApp status updated on March 15 read: 'Mar ke bhi munh na tujse modna.'

Pratyusha Banerjee, better known as Anandi for her role in popular TV serial Balika Vadhu, was declared dead at Kokilaben Hospital in Andheri (west) late on Friday evening.

Pratyusha Banerjee, better known as Anandi for her role in popular TV serial Balika Vadhu, was declared dead at Kokilaben Hospital in Andheri (west) late on Friday evening.

Mumbai: Pratyusha Banerjee, better known as Anandi for her role in popular TV serial Balika Vadhu, was found dead in her suburban home on Friday at around 5 pm. Her body was found hanging from the fan with a dupatta by Pratyusha’s boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh and their cook. Rahul informed the police and her uncle in Borivali about the death at around 6.30 pm. She was declared dead at Kokilaben Hospital in Andheri (west) late on Friday evening. Pratyusha's parents landed in Mumbai on Saturday morning and were taken to Siddharth hosiptal, where her body was kept.

According to reports, Pratyusha took this drastic step due to mounting financial pressures over the last year. While some friends claim that she suffered a bout of depression after she recently separated from her boyfriend of two years, others claim that the two had secretly tied the knot after their parents disapproved of their livein relationship.

Speaking to our correspondent, Pratyusha’s mother Soma Banerjee said, "I used to live with my daughter in Kandivali. But on January 12 this year, Rahul said he would take her to live with him in Malad. She told me to return to Jamshedpur, where I live with my husband. Two days ago she spoke to her father and said her life was difficult. On Thursday, she spoke to me and said the same thing. She sounded upset."  Adding that Pratyusha wanted to marry Rahul, Soma said, "Rahul is definitely responsible for my daughter’s death because she was unhappy and upset in the relationship." The Bangur Nagar police of Malad area, which is investigating the case, said that no suicide note was recovered from the spot, he added. The officials have not drawn a conclusion yet and the cause of death was not established at the time of going to press.

Pratyusha's Whatsapp status updated on March 15.Pratyusha’s Whatsapp status updated on March 15.

When this newspaper contacted Dr Ram Narain, executive director of Kokilaben Hospital, he refused to comment.  Confirming the incident, Mumbai police official spokesman DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni said, "Yes, Kokilaben Hospital has sent a report about the death." Officials said that her call date records of the past six months would be examined and a panchnama of her home would be done. The police will also record the statements of her family and friends. Incidentally, Pratyusha’s Whatsapp status updated on March 15 read: Mar ke bhi munh na tujse modna.

The entire cast of Balika Vadhu was at the hospital. Actors Ejaz Khan, Karanvir Bohra and Rohit Khurana were also among those who were at the hospital.  A visibly shocked Khurana said, "I was at the Box Cricket League when I got this news and we all rushed to the hospital. The police is here. They are doing their bit to find out what went wrong. My heart goes out to her parents. They are expected here tomorrow morning. Professionally she was doing quite well. I really cannot fathom what must have made her take such drastic step."

Reacting to her death, Smita Bansal, her Balika Vadhu co-star said, "I am really not in a state to speak. I am heartbroken by the news. We had bonded well during Balika Vadhu. We would always be chatting in each other’s make-up rooms. I feel I have lost a family member. I never imagined she would do something like this"

Naved Jafri, Pratyusha and Rahul’s co-contestant on the show Power Couple, said, "I saw them at the finale and they appeared like any normal couple. I didn’t interact much with them. But, from whatever little I got to know her during Power Couple, she came across as someone who is full of life. This news has shocked me and my wife." TV actor and close friend Sara Khan said, "Her boyfriend had asked her to cut off contact from all her friends. Her friends would call her to meet, but she would refuse. He had recently gone to Sri Lanka, but did not take her along and she was upset about it."

Tanuj Garg, film producer and former CEO Balaji Motion Pictures reacted, "Terrible, terrible news about Pratyusha Banerjee. Met her once at a party. How extreme must pressures be to drive one to take one’s own life. Friends met Pratyusha Banerjee and her boyfriend Rahul (who owns a production house) on Holi and they seemed happy. They were to get married."

According to television industry sources, she was depressed by how her relationship was shaping with boyfriend Rahul. The two were in a serious relationship and planning to get married soon.

Pratyusha was best known for her debut role in Balika Vadhu. Thereafter, she shifted to reality shows and participated in Bigg Boss 7. Pratyusha’s last outing on TV was in Sasural Simar Ka where she played a role that had negative shades.

The past few months had been controversial for Pratyusha as she accused eight men of posing as cops and molesting her. Moreover, her boyfriend and she also faced flak for non-payment of dues after her birthday party at a plush suburban venue.

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