Jiah Khan, Amitabh Bachchan's 'Lolita', who never topped that role

Jiah-amitabhBachchanís Lolita, who never topped that role

"Sometimes I wonder if this is it. I mean, where do you go after making a debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan? How can I ever top it?" Jiah Khan once told me. "But I'm sure God has a plan and he'll help me figure it out..."

Jiah Khan, 25, who died on Monday night, could never really top her debut film, Nishabd. She did get to do a film with Aamir Khan, Ghajini but it couldn't boost her career as she had hoped it would. She will always be known for playing Lolita to Amitabh Bachchan and for an image of hers in white getting wet with a water sprinkler as he looks at her.

The New York-born, London-bred Jiah said it was after watching Urmila Matondkar in Ram Gopal Varma's Rangeela that she decided she wanted to be actress in Hindi films. She came to Mumbai and did a bit role in Mani Ratnam's Dil Se, but it was Nishabd, also by Varma, that brought her into mainstream consciousness.

In an interview, Ram Gopal Varma said he had zeroed in on her because she was "much like the part. She comes from abroad, has an accent and comes from a broken house also."

Jiah, who had earlier turned down a role in Mukesh Bhatt's Tumsa Nahin Dekha opposite Emraan Hashmi, accepted the Nishabd role on the insistence of her mother, Rabiya Amin. "My mum said whatever be the fate of the film, it will go down in history. She said Mr Bachchan wouldn't do this kind of a role ever again, so people will remember it."

Jiah Khan wanted to be remembered. She was articulate and poised, never gave the impression of being overawed, and had the quotes ready. She once famously declared that "Mr Bachchan smells so nice that I can smell him from a good distance." It made Mr Bachchan blush.

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