Over the decades, Hindi cinema has been graced by some of the most versatile actors and actresses, who with their sheer brilliance have won a place not just in the hearts of people but in history as well. However, there is also a dark side to their success. The film industry is a place which also takes a heavy toll on actors and actresses. On the one hand, actors and actresses savour glamour, money, name and fame and amazing public attention on which they thrive. On the other hand, many a time they have to face a lot of frustration, stress and other psychological elements which often drive stars to drink and other intoxicants. As in other walks of life, success in films also often means having to suffer as a result of others jealousies, making it difficult to distinguish between actual friends and well-wishers and those with vested motives. An informal social life is also often difficult to lead, with everything the stars do and say being under constant microscopic attention from the media. Obviously, they have to pay a price for name and fame. Often, this turns out to be very big and tragic price – heartbreak or loss of life at a very early age. Bollywood has had to come to terms with the demise of top actors and actresses at a very tender age because of adverse personal factors affecting leading actors and actresses. It goes without saying that in such cases, the loss to Hindi cinema is irreplaceable talent-wise and performance-wise. Let us take a closer look and list the actors and actresses who died at a very or relatively early age and the circumstances of their unfortunate deaths.
Whether it is an inability to handle success, fame and public exposure or whether it is a failure to maintain a proper balance between their professional and personal life, there is no doubt that in the end, the crucial factor is to remain centred and keep both the mind and the ego under control. Perhaps Bollywood would do well to draw on the experience and guidance of reputed mystics, relaxation therapies and age old disciplines like yoga.
The legendary actor and director Guru Dutt, died at the age of 42 due to an overdose of sleeping pills. Guru Dutt had tried commit suicide twice before the final incident. Madhubala, one of the most beautiful faces in the industry, also died at a very young age – she was just 36 years old — because of a ventricular septal defect. Her performances in films including Mughal-E-Azam, Howrah Bridge and Kaala Paani are still remembered by people. The tragedy queen of Bollywood, Meena Kumari o passed away at the age of 40 due to cirrhosis of lever caused by excessive drinking. The other glamorous actress who also left the film industry much before her expected time line was Parveen Babi. She died at the age of 55 and was suffering from severe diabetes. The police found her dead body after three days and it is still unclear if it was a natural death or a case of suicide. Another highly acclaimed stalwart was Sanjeev Kumar, who died at age 47 due to a severe heart disease. He is still remembered for his magnificent performances in several films. Divya Bharti also got added in this list when she allegedly committed suicide – she fell or jumped from the 5th floor of her building at the really young age of 19. She was the daughter of the famous film star, Amrish Puri. It was another sad day for Bollywood when famous actress Smita Patil passed away at the age of 31, but this was due to child birth complications rather than industry induced stresses. She was not only an amazing actress but also a newsreader and a photographer. Kunal Singh was a talented actor who passed away at the age of 31, when he committed suicide in his apartment in Mumbai. Actress Silk Smita also died at a very young age of 35 when she committed suicide by poisoning herself. She was suffering from depression because of her addiction to alcohol.
These deaths are actually a very big statement on the toll that name and fame can take and the unfortunate price that has to be sometimes paid for success. Obviously, the film industry has a lot to offer but it also take away some of the most important personal aspects in a person’s life. And yet, when we take a closer look at the other actors and actresses who have tasted huge success, we find that in the ultimate analysis it is matter of how well you can handle that success and the support structures available to one, such as a loving family and sincere, genuine friends. Today, there are many successful actors and actresses who have maintained a proper balance between their professional and personal life and are not facing any problems. Whether it is an inability to handle success, fame and public exposure or whether it is a failure to maintain a proper balance between their professional and personal life, there is no doubt that in the end, the crucial factor is to remain centred and keep both the mind and the ego under control. Perhaps Bollywood would do well to draw on the experience and guidance of reputed mystics, relaxation therapies and age old disciplines like yoga. There is a range of palliative options available these days.