Amid backlash, Mahesh Bhatt's old video with Jiah Khan surfaces
Amid massive criticism and online trolling over his alleged links with actor Rhea Chakraborty, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's old video with late actor Jiah Khan has been doing the rounds on social media. Khan had died by alleged suicide in 2013 at the age of 25. Meanwhile, Rhea currently faces allegations of mental harassment and abetment to suicide in actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death case.
In the short clip, reportedly from 2004, Bhatt and Khan can be seen holding hands and sharing a laugh. Notably, Khan had made her debut with Ram Gopal Varma's 2007 film Nishabd, co-starring Amitabh Bachchan. Reports also suggest that Khan was originally supposed to be cast in 2004 movie Tumsa Nahin Dekha, produced by Mahesh's brother Mukesh Bhatt. But, the collaboration could not materialize.
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Khan, who also starred in films like Ghajini and Housefull, allegedly died by suicide at her residence in Mumbai's Juhu on June 3, 2013. She was 25. Subsequently, the police recovered a suicide note, where she had mentioned her disturbed relationship with boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi. Sooraj, son of actor Aditya Pancholi, was charged with abetment to suicide. However, the case remains unsolved till now.
In the aftermath of Sushant Rajput's death, Khan's mother Rabia claimed that Bhatt had threatened her at her daughter's funeral and asked her to keep quiet. She also blamed Sooraj and his family of using political connections to sabotage the investigations in the case.
The video has come at a time when Bhatt is being incessantly targeted for his links with Rhea. According to purported WhatsApp exchanges between Rhea and the 71-year-old filmmaker, she had informed Bhatt about leaving Sushant's house on June 8, while Bhatt had advised her to move on. He had also apparently tried to contact Rhea on June 14, the day Sushant died.
In fact, Rhea is the prime accused in the death case of Sushant. She is facing charges of mental harassment, money laundering and abetment to suicide. Three central probe agencies, viz. the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate and Narcotics Control Bureau, are currently investigating the case.
Apart from his connections with Rhea, Bhatt has also been accused by Sushant's fans and others of promoting nepotism in film industry. Angry fans also ran a campaign against his recent directorial comeback movie, Sadak 2. The film, released on Friday, has an IMDb rating of 1/10, the worst-ever for any movie on the platform. Earlier, its trailer was also subjected to massive hate.