You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the Grim Reaper. -Robert Alton Harris
Bollywood stars; you see them on the silver screen playing larger than life roles. You see them jumping from the tallest of buildings, combating bad guys, rescuing the nation, emerging unhurt from the deadliest of situations. They dance on moving trains; they diffuse the most complex of bombs; they fall into waterfalls but still come out alive; they fly fighter jets; they kill a dozen bad guys all at once; all in all they present to you a life of adventures; a life where imagination is another name for reality. Infact you see them practically as super humans! Their whole life is a mystery to us. Everything they do is a puzzle. Their day to day lives and activities arouse a strange interest however trifling they might be. So when out of the blue, they meet the inevitable reality of life which is death; undoubtedly the same enigma surrounds that as well. However the curiosity is far greater if the death is premature. Andrew A. Rooney quoted Death is a distant rumor to the young but can we positively say this considering the glut of lives that were lost at the prime of life. This list of top 10 Bollywood stars who died young lists popular acting stalwarts who left this world way ahead of their time.
10. Vinod Mehra (13 February, 1945 to 30 October, 1990):
Another actor of the galaxy of Indian cine stars who died much before his time due to a heart attack at the age of 45 in 1990. This eminent Bollywood star had acted in several successful films as the secondary lead or supporting actor. He was married thrice and was believed to have been married to the timeless beauty Rekha too which however was denied by the latter.
9. Nirmal Pandey (10 August, 1962 to 18 February, 2010):
Remember the actor with the curly locks in Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen, Daayraa, Train to Pakistan and Godmother? Winner of Best Actor Valenti award in France for his portrayal of a cross- dresser in Daayraa and an alumnus of National School of Drama he worked in several theater groups in London before being noticed in Bollywood. Thereafter he acted in several Bollywood films but died at the age of 48 due to heart attack in Mumbai in the year 2010 adding another actor to the list of stars who were victims of untimely deaths.
8. Geeta Bali (1930 to 21 January, 1965):
The actress who married Shammi Kapoor after a whirlwind romance was swallowed by the clutches of death at the age of just 35. In the year 1965, she died of small pox. She was a popular actress of her time and met Shammi Kapoor when he was just starting out. Theirs was a story right out of the celluloid screens, she being older by a year to him, they were doubtful of approval from their families. After a courtship of four months, they married at a temple and then went on to inform their families. It was perfect, until this Bollywood star was taken away much before her time leading to a tragic end to their saga.
7. Guru Dutt (9 July, 1925 to 10 October, 1964):
The actor, producer and director know for his extra-ordinary artistic sensitivity; often accredited for steering in the Golden Era of Indian Cinema died in the year 1964 at the age of 39. This Bollywood star is said to have died over an accidental overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills. However, many are of the opinion that it was a suicide, and his third attempt at that. His works to this day have a following unmatched by any artist of the film fraternity. Guru Dutt could have contributed so much more; if only destiny had more years in store for the maestro.
6. Sanjeev Kumar (9 July, 1938 to 6 November, 1985):
If irony ever needed an example; Sanjeev Kumar would definitely feature on the list. He was one of the most prolific and versatile Bollywood star of his generation. Having played a plethora of roles; it was nothing short of mockery by fate when the actor who played the characters of several 50 year olds to perfection never got the chance to set foot on the 50th year of his life. He died at the age of 47 in the year 1985 due to a major heart attack thus shocking the entire film loving fraternity.
5. Jiah Khan (20 February, 1988 to 3 June, 2013):
Jiah Khan was a Bollywood actress who debuted in the 2007 controversial Ram Gopal Varma film, ‘Nishabd’, opposite Amitabh Bachchan. Since then she starred in only two more films but both were highly successful and Jiah received praise for her acting and sex appeal. With ‘Ghajini’ opposite Aamir Khan and ‘Housefull’ opposite Akshay Kumar, Jiah had achieved a notable success in her career. Jiah Khan allegedly committed suicide at her Juhu residence in Mumbai on 3 June 2013.
4. Meena Kumari (1 August, 1932 to 31 March, 1972):
The tragedy queen of Indian Cinema left us at the age of 39 in the year 1972 due to liver cirrhosis caused due to heavy drinking. Hers was a story of life imitating art. The actress who was sworn by her performances in heartrending and painful roles had if not more but similar upheavals in her personal life. She had taken up drinking heavily after separation from her husband Kamal Amrohi. She then went spiraling down the path of alcoholism never to return. The addiction had engulfed her for good and it was unfortunately too late to hope for a revival after she got back together again with Amrohi after a while.
3. Smita Patil (17 October, 1955 to 13 December, 1986):
One of the finest theater and film actresses to have graced the Indian artistic scene; Smita Patil was the epitome of beauty and talent. Winner of two National Awards and recipient of Padma Shri, this Bollywood star had a promising career ahead of her. She was actively involved in causes for upliftment of women and her choice of films to act in also advocated the same to a large extent. However, at the age of 31 on 13th December 1986 her life was cut short due to childbirth complications and we lost this star forever.
2. Madhubala (14 February, 1933 to 23 February, 1969) :
The actress with the million dollar smile ruled the hearts of millions in the formative years of Indian Cinema. Likened to Marilyn Monroe; Madhubala is the vintage beauty of Indian Film Industry. The Anarkali of Indian Cinema was born with a complex heart condition, which was difficult to be treated in those days. This Bollywood star eventually succumbed to her illness at the age of 36 in the year 1969 leaving a void in the Indian Celluloid Industry forever.
1. Divya Bharati (25 February, 1974 to 7 April, 1993):
She was just a teenager when hailed as one of the most vivacious and gifted female stars to watch out for in years to come. Also being touted as the future reigning queen of Bollywood; Divya Bharati; had indeed attained incredible heights of success at a very young age. Unfortunately destiny had other plans and she fell to her death from her fifth floor apartment in a Mumbai suburb on April 5th 1993. She was just nineteen and the cruel shackles of mortality nipped her life in the bud leaving a lot of unanswered questions about her terrible end.
(Last updated on June 3, 2013)
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