In an incident which puts the spotlight back on the pressures of working in the entertainment industry, model-actress Shikha Joshi was found in her apartment on Saturday with her throat slit. She was taken to a hospital nearby by her roommate and, according to Indian Express, was conscious on the journey.
Before reaching the hospital, in her last moments, she told her roommate that she cut herself because she was "frustrated because she could not get any work." Joshi, who passed away at 40, was last seen in the National-Award-winning film 'BA Pass', along with actress Shilpa Shukla.
Senior inspector Ravindranath Pawar of Versova police station, where a case of accidental death was registered, was quoted as saying that the presence of three small cuts as well as a large cut were indicative of her developing cold feet just before she committed the deed. "Had she been attacked by someone with a knife, there would be only one long cut. The nature of the cuts on the neck makes us believe that this is a suicide," he told Indian Express.
The police is investigating the matter further and treating it as a suicide until further notice. According to an NDTV report, they claim to have clues (including an audio recording) that point towards suicide.
However, according to the same article, the late actress's brother Vishesh Joshi suspects foul play over an ongoing court case involving Vijay Sharma, a cosmetic surgeon who lives in the area. This long-running feud dates back to 2011, when Joshi filed a molestation complaint against the doctor. According to reports, Joshi had gotten breast implants from him five years prior to that, and had approached him for a check-up after finding what she thought was a lump in her breast. He is said to have "touched her inappropriately" during said check-up, following which she filed a police complaint against him. The case is currently underway at a Bandra court.
In fact, in October 2013, Joshi and her brother were arrested for pelting stones at Sharma's residence.
Now, Joshi says that he is finding it hard to believe the police's version of events. "There was pressure on Shikha to withdraw the case. I spoke to her an hour before we heard of her death. She sounded normal. I asked her if she needed any money or help, but she refused. An hour later, Madhu called my mother to say Shikha had committed suicide. I don't believe it, there is something more to this," he told NDTV.
Joshi is survived by a 19-year-old daughter and a husband who resides in the United States, according to a Hindustan Times report. She was also reportedly a member of the Aam Aadmi Party.
However, despite acting in 'BA Pass' and a number of small roles in television, she did not have a regular and consistent source of income. HT spoke to Ajay Bahl, director of the National Award winner, who described Joshi as a "very happy-go-lucky" person and "a beautiful actor". While Bahl hadn't met her since the completion of the film, Inderjit Singh, who worked as an assistant director on 'BA Pass', was quoted as saying, "When I talked to her, she was all charged up and happy. She was not depressed at all. She even told me that she had lost around 10 kg and was receiving appreciation for her new look."
Shukla, her co-star, paid tribute to her on Twitter.
ShikhaJoshi;Remember we danced our hearts out at BA pass release party. She loved us a lot. So saddened by her death . Aah! God bless her— shilpa shukla (@shilpashukl) May 17, 2015