Rabiya reacts to Sooraj Pancholi’s bail – WHO IS RABIYA KHAN?

    With the Bombay High Court granting bail to Sooraj Pancholi in the Jiah Khan suicide case — he was arrested on charges of abetment — Rabiya Khan, the late actress’s mother is infuriated. “Can you bring my daughter back? My mourning days are not yet over. As far as Sooraj’s bail is concerned, yeh Hindustan hai… I know what must have happened,” she says. When told that the Pancholis might initiate legal proceedings against her, Rabiya says, “Let them do whatever they want to. I don’t want to deal with the media. Meri beti ko le aaye bas.” So, is she planning to leave for London? “Why should I tell you about my plans?” comes the retort.

Though Rabiya hit headlines after Jiah’s suicide, not much is known about this lesser-known actress of the 80s. She is reported to be a family friend of Tahir Hussain, father of actor Aamir Khan. Their close ties were witnessed after Jiah’s death, when Aamir visited the family twice. He became teary-eyed at her prayer meet. Aamir’s mother Zeenat reportedly met Rabiya and her daughters almost every day after the tragedy.
    Rabiya’s family background is also unclear. About six years back, Jiah had, in an interview, said that her mother was an orphan. Further, she had said Rabiya was a Christian who was discovered by Tahir in Dehradun. She was later hosted by him in Mumbai. On the other hand, there have been rumours about her being disowned by her conservative Muslim family after she decided to enter the film industry.
    Rabiya entered Bollywood with bit roles in a couple of Tahir’s films — Dulha Bikta Hai and Locket. She did a few other films as well, the most prominent being Subhash Ghai’s Meri Jung and N Chandra’s Ankush (1986). But once her career failed to take off, Rabiya left for London.
    Her sudden exit also set many tongues wagging. Says one of her coactors, “She left Ankush midway for reasons unknown. I remember everyone on the set talking in hushed tones about her proximity to a certain top filmmaker who had been recommending her. It was difficult to approach her, she was quite moody as well as choosy about who she wanted to talk to. And then one day, she suddenly disappeared and we heard that she had left for London.”
    Soon after, Rabiya married Ali Rizvi Khan, but separated from him after Jiah, her eldest child, was born. In London, she wrote scripts for television and concepts for the BBC. Though settled in the UK, she has always been a frequent visitor to India.
    She remarried, but separated again, after the birth of two daughters, Karishma and Kavita. Jiah, in an interview in 2007, said that her mother had been deserted by both men and didn’t even receive alimony.
    But prior to this desertion, according to Jiah’s own admission, Rabiya had lived a good life, throwing lavish parties in London. In a cruel irony, she was at a dinner party hosted by actress-cum-socialite Anju Mahendroo on the night Jiah took her own life. In fact, it was Rabiya who spotted her daughter’s body hanging from the ceiling fan. However, Anju refused to comment on Rabiya.
    Even more astonishing is the allegation that Rabiya raked up a huge media circus following the tragedy. Amid allegations and rumours, one question remains: Who, actually, is Rabiya Khan?


Dulha Bikta Hai
Rabiya Khan