1) Pratyusha Banerjee: The beautiful & charming Pratyusha Banerjee of ‘Balika Vadhu‘ fame shocked the nation when she commited suicide in April 2016. Banerjee, who became a household name after she essayed the role of Anandi in the popular TV show, was found hanging at her Kandivali residence. She was 24. She was rushed to the hospital however, she was announced dead at arrival. Grapevine has it that she took this drastic step because of relationship woes. Her death is still shrouded under a cloak of mystery but whatever may have been the cause, it is really sad that a promising young life had to end this way. RIP Pratyusha! May you be happy wherever you are.
2) Razzak Khan: Well known actor and veteran comedian Razzak Khan, popularly known for his comic roles in the films like, Hello Brother, Baadshah, Akhiyon Se Goli Maare and many more, passed away in June 2016 following a massive heart attack. Khan, 65, was rushed to Holy Family Hospital in suburban Bandra where on arrival doctors declared him dead. The comic actor made his debut in Bollywood with Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja in 1993 and was seen in more than 90 movies in his entire career span. He had also appeared on Kapil Sharma’s show ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’ in 2014. The man who had everyone in splits with his funny gimmicks, expressions, hair styles, dialogue delivery and brilliant comic timing is no more. RIP Razzak!
3) Suresh Chatwal: Veteran film and television actor Suresh Chatwal, who was seen on popular show ‘FIR’, passed away after prolonged illness in May 2016. His son Yaman Chatwal said in a statement. “With great grief, I inform you that my father, Suresh Chatwal is no more between us. He left for heavenly aboard yesterday succumbing to his ongoing illness,”. Chatwal’s ‘FIR’ co-star Kavita Kaushik took to her social media account to express her grief. "Our beloved commissioner of f.I.R Shri Suresh Chatwal is no more, A man full of high energy and old filmy stories , He Always blessed me..R.I.P," Kavita tweeted.
Chatwal made his acting debut in the year 1969 with "Rakhi Rakhi" and was seen in films like Karan Arjun, Koyla and Munna Bhai MBBS. He was last seen on the big screen in Nakshatra in 2010. Chatwal was also a part of the iconic television series of the 80s ‘Nukkad’.
4) Rajjat Barjatya: Rajjat Barjataya, MD and CEO of Rajshri Media, passed away in July 2016 after a prolonged battle with cancer at a hospital in Mumbai. Cousin of filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya and son of Ajit Barjatya, Rajjat is survived by his wife and two children. Rajshri Productions was founded by Sooraj and Rajjat’s grandfather Tarachand Barjatya. This sudden demise left the B-town shocked and sad. Rajjat was one of the brilliant brains of the industry. Actor Salman Khan, tweeted, “Rest in peace my brother Rajjat Barjatya,” along with a picture of him with Rajjat. Other celebrities like Neetu Chandra, Boman Irani, Shirish Kunder and Vivek Oberoi also expressed their condolences on the micro blogging site.
5) Mukesh Rawal: Veteran television and film actor Mukesh Rawal passed away in November 2016. Mukesh Rawal, rose to fame with the character of Vibhishan from the epic mythological show ‘Ramayana’. Apparently, 66-year-old Rawal was run-over by a train while crossing railway tracks. The body was found on the tracks between Borivali and Kandivali railway stations. Rawal was rushed to a public hospital where doctors pronounced him dead. His identity couldn’t be established immediately as his phone wasn’t on him. Later, his family started inquiring about him at various hospitals. They went to police stations with his photograph and were directed to the railway cops. His body was identified on the basis of his clothes. Rawal lived in Kandivali West. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, both married. Apart from ‘Ramayana’, Rawal had also acted in Gujarati films and TV serials. It was an extremely tragic and unfortunate incident. RIP Mukesh!
6) Rajesh Vivek: Acclaimed Indian stage and film actor Rajesh Vivek, who had appeared in over 70 Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films, succumbed to a heart attack in Hyderabad in January 2016. He was 66. Essentially a theatre actor, Rajesh had also acted in popular television series ‘Mahabharata’, ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ and ‘Aghori’. Rajesh was first introduced by Shyam Benegal in the film Junoon (1978). Initially, Rajesh made his mark as a villain with films like Veerana and Joshilaay, often playing roles of henchman, but later on he started doing comic and supporting roles. Rajesh was perhaps best known for his roles in the multi-award-winning Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001), Swades (2004), and Jodhaa Akbar (2008). His later films included Bunty Aur Babli, Bhoot Unkle, ‘What’s Your Rashee?’, Agneepath, Son of Sardaar and Dishkiyaoon. He had played the role of a dreaded dacoit in Bandit Queen (1994). Prominent members from the team of Lagaan led by director Ashutosh Gowariker were present at his funeral. Ashutosh Gowariker was among the first ones to arrive and paid his last respects to one of his favourite actors. Among others from the Lagaan team who attended were Akhilendra Mishra, Daya Shankar Pandey, Amin Hajee and Raj Zutshi. Family and friends of Rajesh bid the late actor a teary farewell.
7) Sulbha Deshpande: The Indian film industry and the theatre world lost one of its finest artistes – Sulbha Deshpande in June 2016. after prolonged illness. The actress passed away in Mumbai at her residence after a prolonged illness. The actress was reportedly, 79 years. Deshpande was well known for her memorable roles in movies like Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978), Gaman (1978), Bazaar (1982) and Ijaazat (1987). Among the recent movies, she had appeared in the Gauri Shinde-directed English Vinglish (2012). But it is Deshpande’s contribution to theatre that remains of paramount importance. She started her career in theatre by directing plays for the students of Chhabildas Girl’s High School. During her lifetime, the talented Sulabha Deshpande made it a point to not only write scripts for various plays but also act in several of them. Deshpande was married to renowned theatre figure, Arvind Deshpande with whom she co-founded the group Awishkar. RIP Sulbha!
8) Sai Prashanth: May 2016 saw the demise of Tamil television actor Sai Prashanth. Prashanth is said to have committed suicide at his residence by mixing poison in his drink. The young actor who had worked in serials such as Annamalai, Selvi and Arasi apparently left behind a suicide note. Prashanth was divorced from his first wife and had remarried recently. He has one daughter, Rakshita. The news of his demise shocked the entire Tamil TV industry.
9) Parmeshwar Godrej: October 2016 saw the passing away of style icon and the dynamic face of the Godrej clan – Parmeshwar Godrej. She breathed her last at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital following a degenerative lung illness. Known for championing social causes, Parmeshwar was pretty well connected with the people in the world of entertainment. She is survived by her husband and Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej, daughters Tanya Dubash and Nisa Godrej, and son Pirojsha Godrej. Apparently from people who knew her, Parmeshwar was in a league of her own in all aspects of her life — as a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, or philanthropist, and that she made an impact on all fronts: family, office and social.
10) Rajesh Pillai: February 2016 snatched away Malayalam film director Rajesh Pillai from our midst. Pillai succumbed to liver cirrhosis and passed away in a hospital. He was 41. The director was known for path-breaking Malayalam films such as “Traffic” and “Mili” . RIP Rajesh Pillai!
11) Jayalalithaa: Indian actress and politician who served multiple terms as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu – Jayalalithaa or Amma as she was popularly referred to passed away in December 2016 after a massive cardiac arrest. She was hospitalised for over two months in the Apollo Hospital. Amma was buried with state honours at Chennai’s Marina Beach, near her mentor MG Ramachandran’s memorial.RIP Jayalalithaa!