A flight cut short
SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY
In an entertainment industry where actors often get typecast, all television actress Kuljeet Randhawa was offered were roles in tele-thrillers.
ONCE THERE WAS AN ACTRESS Kuljeet Randhawa Photo: R.V. Moorthy
Television actress Kuljeet Randhawa's suicide in Mumbai this past week came as a bolt from the blue. Coming across as super-confident and always found bright and breezy, not just in her advertisements and TV roles but in her media interviews as well, Kuljeet gave the impression of being nothing but upbeat about life. In fact, many a scribe would particularly remember Kuljeet as categorising herself as an assertive person while comparing her role in the SaharaOne thriller, "Kohinoor" to her real self.
"In both `Special Squad' and `C.A.T.S', I played myself. Both the roles are as assertive and self-confident as I am in real life, but in `Kohinoor', I had to act. The character I play in it, Iravati Kohli, is malleable, soft and vulnerable," she had said in New Delhi at a press conference to announce the launch of the Cinevista serial on SaharaOne. Hyped as it was, hoardings splashing her picture were put up in many strategic places across Delhi and Mumbai. The idea was to pit it against Star Plus's popular soap "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii" and Sony TV's "Yeh Meri Life Hai". As "Kahaani... " was a typical `saas-bahu' saga from the K factory and "Yeh Meri... " was harping on and on around the idea of a cute girl-next-door, SaharaOne wanted to attract viewers with a new genre in the 9 p.m. time band - a thriller.
And who best could fit the bill than someone who had risen in life by featuring in serials of this genre. And it suited Kuljeet well too. Having finished both "C.A.T.S." and "Special Squad" on the telly and with only Mukesh Malick's yet-to-be-released film, "By Chance" besides a few advertisement assignments in her kitty, this former Gladrags model was looking for tele-work. Despite being offered the lead role in the serial, she however knew too well that bit by bit, she was being typecast on TV.
"I hate being typecast for particular roles. I am even ready to do a Doordarshan serial if it can offer me something different," she had said that very afternoon in Delhi after the media meet. Though she looked the same across these serials, at least in advertisements, be it with Big B Bachchan for Reid and Taylor, or in the Pepsi, the Whirlpool or the Maggie ad, this lanky, dusky beauty had the opportunity to look refreshingly different.
Being a Punjabi, Kuljeet was quite keen on doing Punjabi films too. Before she decided to pull the plug on her life, this former Delhi Public School alumnus at least managed to feature in one.
As shocking as the news of her suicide perhaps was the media's extra attempt at not missing out the possibility of `a mystery angle' to her death. The prime clue was, her co-actress in C.A.T.S., Nafisa Joseph too had taken her life, which enthused the media to brush aside any hope of a co-incidence and go all out to give a final `thriller' farewell to Kuljeet. In her suicide note, the actress said she was ending her life because she had not been able to deal with her stressful life. Ambitious as she was, being alone in a city of many hopeful like Mumbai, it should have made sense to the media that hopes meet frustration at some point in one's career. Some survive, some take their own life.
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