16 April, 2021

Death And The Maidens

An exploitative Tamil filmdom claims another starlet, the tenth to commit suicide in two decades

Death And The Maidens
In Charlie Chaplin, a low-budget comic caper and the last film in her short screen life, Monal played a call girl who commits suicide. On April 14, the day when she was scheduled to attend the muhurat of her new film, Pey Veedu (House of Ghosts), real life cruelly imitated the reel life of this five-films-old Tamil cinema actress. Better known as top actress Simran's sister, 21-year-old Monal hanged herself to death with a dupatta in the ninth floor of her apartment in Vadapalani, Chennai's Pali Hill.

She left behind no suicide note, and speculations abound on why this vivacious fresh face, with seemingly all the right connections, took her life. The grapevine, fuelled by sensation-hungry film magazines and the industry, floated several theories: her alleged affair with choreographer Prasanna and her foster-mother Veena's disapproval of it; or how Monal had just fought over retaining a share of the payment she had received for a new film.

Was life unnervingly imitating art for Monal? (In all her films, her character never got the man she loved.) Or did...

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