MBAI: Television actress Pratyusha Banerjee, who shot to fame for her role as Anandi in ‘Balika Vadhu’, committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan at her Goregaon residence on Friday. She was 24.
Her fiance, actor-producer Rahul Raj, found her hanging around 5pm and informed her uncle. She was rushed to the Kokilaben Ambani Hospi tal in Andheri where doctors pronounced her dead and informed police. According to media reports published in December 2015, Pratyusha was to tie the knot with Raj. Their relationship was reportedly volatile.
Her WhatsApp status on Friday read: “Marr ke bhi muh na tujhse modna.” Raj did not answer any phone calls from mediapersons on Friday. “Pratyusha had called up a friend on Friday to ask a few things about Rahul’s ex-girlfriend. She suspected Rahul was cheating on her. Pratyusha was depressed as she wasn’t finding any work and cash was drying up,” a friend said.
TV actor Dolly Bindra told TOI: “I spoke to her mother who is in Jamshedpur. She will first fly to Kolkata and reach Mumbai by Saturday.” Pratyusha’s ex-boyfriend Makrand Malhotra, who was at the hospital, is believed to be arranging air tickets for her family.
In 2013, Pratyusha had filed a police complaint against Malhotra, accusing him of verbal abuse and death threats on phone and in person.
After her death on Friday, Bangur Nagar police made inquiries with her neighbours at the Goregaon building where she lived. They are also speaking to her friends from the TV industry. Investigators will go through her call and message details, mails and social media accounts for leads.
Actors Anup Soni, Meghna Naidu, Gurmeet Chaudhary, Debina Bonerjee, Sara Khan, Jay Bhanushhali, Sachin Shroff, Ajay Chaudhary, Smita Bansal, Rakhi Sawant and Bindra reached Kokilaben Ambani Hospital. Ram Narain, CEO of the Andheri hospital, refused to comment.
Bindra said, “I saw her body. She had applied sindoor.”
Designer Rohit Verma said Pratyusha had wanted a wedding lehenga designed for her.
Sidharth Sengupta, who directed her in ‘Balika Vadhu’, said, “I’m at a loss for words. Though she quit the serial some years back, she used to call me and the team for her birthday every August.”
Meanwhile, this January, Pratyusha had lodged an FIR with Kandivli police against eight men, including some cops, for allegedly barging in to her home at Kandivli and misbehaving with her. She had taken a car loan a year ago and had defaulted on an EMI of Rs 5,000. She claimed that on December 31, a recovery agent turned up when Raj was present. “We paid him the EMI and he left,” Pratyusha had told TOI. But the agent, Amit Dalvi, said he had gone with cops as Raj had bashed him up on New Year’s Eve. He denied misbehaviour charge.
Twitter saw an outpouring of messages, including one from Abhishek Bachchan who wrote: “What have u done Pratyusha Banerjee, I wish it was an April Fool news, She was just 24! RIP Aanandi.”