A peek into the troubled life of Suraj Pancholi
Even as Rabia Khan continues to keep the spotlight on Suraj Pancholi and the police have detained him till June 27 for abetting Jiah Khan’s suicide, TOI peeks into the troubled world of the 23-year-old.
Suraj went to a Pali Hill school, which was once favoured by Bollywood elite, but later earned the moniker ‘loser’s academy. Eventually, he went to an open school, but clearly, academics were not his priority. Like many other showbiz kids, Suraj started off as an assistant director on films such as Guzaarish and EkTha Tiger, where he impressed with his dedication. According to some of his colleagues, he kept his head down and went about his work quietly.“As an AD on the set of such an important film (Guzaarish), Suraj was extremely focussed and hard-working. Although we knew he had acting ambitions, he never took being on the sets casually. When we were shooting in Goa, his job also involved doing things like calling Hrithik Roshan from the van. But he would do it without throwing any tantrums,” recalls one of them.
Jiah, in her ‘suicide’ letter, had accused him of being excessively fond of partying and women. Suraj’s friends don’t deny he loves to socialise, but then rush to his defence, “Which young guy does not?”
Interestingly, those who party with him claim Suraj always insists on getting his own alcohol or organising it for his friends. “The nice thing about him is he hardly ever flaunts his wealth but can be generous to a fault,” says a source. “If you look closely, you will realise his group has friends from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. He is a very easy going boy that way.”
Though Suraj is seemingly close to his father, he refrains from introducing himself as his son. “Once when Aditya Pancholi dropped by on the set of Guzaarish, he was mortified,” recalls another former colleague.
According to sources, the only person Suraj is actually close to is Salman Khan. According to Rabia Khan, when his father Aditya failed to convince him to break away from Jiah, he had asked Salman to intervene. Such was their mutual trust and affection. It is a different matter that Salman failed to convince Suraj to walk away from Jiah, though kept his promise to launch him in his home production.
Despite his seemingly pleasant qualities, there are things about Suraj that some of his friends find hard to ignore. “He has temper issues. Though most of the time he is gentle to the point of being gullible, he can be extremely stubborn. A true Scorpio,” observes a source. Incidentally, in her six-page note Jiah hints at bearing the brunt of his rage attacks and according to his ‘confession’, he did get violent with his girlfriend in private.
In public however, it was a different story. “Every time he feels a rage attack coming on, he clams up, moves away from the source of provocation…there is definitely a problem and he knows it,” says the source, adding, “He is smart not to let this come in the way of his social interactions. He wants his acting career so badly, he would not do anything to jeopardies it.”
Some of his male friends say Suraj has channelled all his anxious energies to his punishing workout regime. “Ever since his debut had been planned, he has been completely focussed on getting himself ready for the role. And you should watch him at the gym where he works hard on his body as if there is no tomorrow.”
Suraj spends hours training at Five Fitness in Juhu and his facebook page is testimony to his passion for six packs. He also did an acting course with Rahul Rawail in preparation for his big debut with Suniel Shetty’s daughter Athiya.
Acquaintances admit Suraj and Jiah’s relationship was not easy. “His friends would often wonder if they were ‘off’ or ‘on’. Jiah even tried to reach out to one of them, but no one wanted to get involved in their personal life,” says the source. “The only time they looked happy with each other was when they appeared for a film screening early this year.”
When word got out that the relationship was turning unpleasant, one of them tried talking to Suraj about it. “But the friend was politely but firmly asked to back off. Suraj is very sociable and yet an extremely private person,”
Though friends and acquaintances insist he introduced Jiah as Nafisa, his girlfriend, everywhere he went, there are no pictures or posts on his social networking sites to prove their young, intense, mercurial affair.
Says a source, adding, “You never knew what was going on in his private life.”