Will Jiah Khan’s suicide spell doom for Suraj Pancholi’s acting career?

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Suraj- JiahSalman Khan is a career-launching machine. Not only does the generous actor manage his own, he finds time in his day to jump-start the good fortunes of those close to him, whether it is Katrina Kaif’s sister, Isabella Kaif, or Arjun Kapoor, who debuted in Ishaqzaade. He works out with them in gyms where they drop off over thirty kilos, or he stars opposite them in movies that carry them along on the wave of Khan’s own popularity.

The latest would-be star that Salman adopted, however, might not be doing much singing or dancing, though we’re guessing physical labour will still be a part of the experience. Suraj Pancholi is the son of Aditya Pancholi, who has been a close friend of Salman Khan’s father, Salim Khan for years. Suraj, according to reports, has spent a lot of quality time with Salman’s family at Galaxy, the actor’s apartment in Mumbai. The 22-year-old, however, is now in the spotlight for different reasons – he has been arrested for abetting actress Jiah Khan’s suicide.

Pancholi was taken in by Mumbai police yesterday evening after Jiah’s mother submitted the girl’s six-page suicide letter which categorically pointed a finger at her boyfriend for her suicide. Rabiya Khan clarified that as far as her knowledge went, the boy in question was Suraj. If we are to take the letter at face value, it seems Pancholi was a highly abusive, malicious boyfriend, who cheated, lied, and physically and emotionally hurt Khan.

Some have speculated that this is the end for Suraj Pancholi’s career. With the massive amounts of public attention that Jiah’s suicide has garnered, as well as the sordid details of Suraj’s trespasses being laid out for all to see in her letter, will he ever be able to step out of the shadow of a young girl hanging from the ceiling?

Suraj can evade jail time – he’s well-placed in terms of contacts and wealth – and if he does so, the would-be star might still find redemption in Bollywood.

He’s also got someone very influential in his corner. Salman, who is known for his staunch loyalty, apparently hasn’t left Suraj high and dry. Khan, who is currently holed up in his Panvel farmhouse, has given Suraj a call telling him to stay calm, say some reports. “Salman has been through situations where the media will judge you before the verdict comes out, so he has asked Suraj to take it easy and not give any statements or react,” said a ‘source’ to MissMalini, a popular gossip blog.

Suraj had assisted director Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Guzaarish and filmmaker Kabir Khan in Ek Tha Tiger, a path undertaken by many future stars that bide their time learning about filmmaking, making contacts and spending their free time in the gym. Suraj was also taking acting classes, dancing classes, et al – by all accounts, he was being primed for mainstream success.

And why should this success evade him? Public memory is short, especially if it’s given a positive memory (set to Pritam’s latest foot-tapping hit) to replace the earlier one. And as his own mentor can attest, an abusive past has never stopped anyone from massive success in the Indian film industry.(FP)

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