Telly star Kuljeet Randhawa commits suicide

MUMBAI: Kuljeet Randhawa left a two page suicide note, before she ended her life on Wednesday evening, that mentioned her desperate wish to be happy.

Kuljeet, last seen in the lead role in SaharaOne's Kohinoor, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself by a dupatta from a ceiling fan in the drawing room of her Juhu apartment on Wednesday. The note, according to Iqbal, her costar in Star One's Special Squad, also mentions Bhanu Uday, her co-star in that show. "Bhanu is innocent....he is really a good man," she is believed to have written in the note. Kuljeet, in a recent conversation, had mentioned that Bhanu was one of her closest friends and that the entire Special Squad unit was almost like family.

Kuljeet, who had also mentioned to Telly Chakkar, that she had recently recovered from a bad relationship, was apparently given to bouts of depression and violent mood swings, say her colleagues. But suicide was obviously the last step they would have assumed her to take, insists Manva Naik, who worked with her in Special Squad and was present at the Cooper Hospital mortuary this morning.

A tearful Gurinder, elder sister of Kuljeet Randhawa, also reached the Juhu coroner's court at 11 am today along with her parents.

It's been a painful 12 hours for the family of the 26 year old television actor, who cut short her promising career in acting and modeling yesterday. The last person to have seen Kuljeet, was her maid who left the flat by Wednesday afternoon.

Kuljeet's family has flown down from Delhi to claim the body. The funeral will be held later in Oshiwara later.

The entire unit of Kohinoor, including Ankur Nayyar and Manish Wadhwa, who played the evil Kali in the show, have reached the Cooper hospital, where the body was taken from the Juhu police station last night.

The unit of UTV's Special Squad, where Kuljeet played a prominent role, has also reached the Cooper hospital to pay their last respects. The only person absent was Bhanu Uday, who is believed to have returned to his native Jammu after the Special Squad shoot wound up.

Kuljeet started her TV career with Hip Hip Hurray. She played one of the three protagonists in UTV's CATS on Star Plus, a la Charlie's Angels, accompanied by Nafisa Joseph and Malini Sharma. It sounds like an uncanny coincidence, but Kuljeet's co-star in CATS, was Nafisa Joseph, who also ended her life in a similar fashion on 29 July 2004. Nafisa was found hanging by a dupatta from the ceiling fan in her bedroom, after her relationship with fiance Gautam Khanduja went sour. Like Kuljeet, Nafisa, whose parents lived in Bangalore, lived alone in a Juhu flat.

Her friends say that Kuljeet had been badly upset after Nafisa's death, who had become a close friend after CATS, and that she used to console Nafisa's parents. "But when you see your own life taking the same path, you probably give in to the depression yourself," the friend reasons.

During a conversation a few months ago, during the making of Kohinoor, Kuljeet had confided to Telly Chakkar, that she had just been through a painful relationship that had left her scarred, but that she had just recovered from the trauma. She sounded cheerful and optimistic at the time, insisting that she was not keen on getting into a relationship so soon again.

Conversations with the neighbours in the Krishna apartments in Juhu where Kuljeet lived in a rented flat since July last year, however reveal that Kuljeet had minimal contact with the other residents, and would pay her rents only through the flat owner. Hardly anyone visited her, except for one man who visited her regularly, but did not turn up on Wednesday, say neighbours.

Says a shocked Manish Wadhwa,"It's unbelievable! I spoke with her last on New Year's day, and she sounded happy about the way her film was shaping up, and the modeling assignments she was getting."

The two, who had become close friends during the Kohinoor shoot, had not been much in touch since the shooting of Kohinoor ended two months ago, he said.

When Telly Chakkar spoke last with Kuljeet a few days ago, she sounded cheerful about the fact that Kohinoor was being a repeat telecast on SaharaOne, and said she wasn't considering another role immediately on television. Her abrupt exit from Star One's Special Squad had raised a few questions, but Kuljeet had at the time, said that she was only leaving for better prospects. She later said that the Special Squad team was more like family to her, and that Bhanu was one of her best friends.

Was it the strain of two relationships, that went sour, the cause of Kuljeet's disenchantment with life, at a time, when everything else seemed to be going well for her? Or was it the pressure of maintaining a successful career in a competitive world? Only Kuljeet could have told.

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