By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Janvi Taurakhia, Suraj Pancholi’s former girlfriend, says she never encountered the violent abusive man who stands accused of abetting actress Jiah Khan’s suicide. She has said Suraj is the most gentle and soft-hearted person she has known.
Suraj, son of Bollywood actor-couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, is in judicial custody till June 27 and lodged at the Arthur Road Central Jail.
Jiah committed suicide June 3. After a five-page letter by Jiah was recovered and handed over to the police, Suraj was arrested June 10 on grounds that it was “incriminating” evidence against him as she had blamed him for various problems she faced during her lifetime. Bail was denied to the 22-year-old on June 21.
For Janvi, who dated him for five years, “it’s like reading and hearing about another person altogether”.
“Of course, my heart goes out to Jiah’s family. But I couldn’t believe they were talking about Suraj! This Suraj who is supposed to have done these awful things to that poor girl is not the Suraj I know,” said Janvi.
“My Suraj is incapable of violence against anyone. He hates any kind of confrontation. Whenever we fought, I was the one who was more aggressive. He would quietly leave the room. If he’s angry or upset, he likes to be on his own to work his way out of the problem,” she added.
Although they broke up, Janvi says she is still best of friends with Suraj even today.
“And not just Suraj. I am very fond of Aditya uncle and Zarina aunty. They are like family to me and my mother,” she said.
Asked if Suraj ever ill-treated her, Janvi said: “No! Never! Do you think I’d have been with him for nearly six years if he ever did anything like that? When I read the news accusing him of physical abuse and what not, I was too shocked for words. Suraj can never behave like this.”
Janvi is appalled at the thought of Sooraj spending time in jail. “I can’t even begin to imagine how he is coping with all this. He may look very macho, but he is a baby inside.”
She also said: “I don’t think Sooraj had any inkling of what Jiah was going to do. Knowing him the way I do, he would have never allowed it. It’s very unfortunate that he’s caught in this situation. I just can’t stop thinking of how he must be coping.”
Even Janvi’s mother Alpa Taurakhia vouches for Sooraj’s innocence.
“He is a darling, an absolute lamb who wouldn’t hurt a fly. And I say this, although my daughter and Suraj had split, and I really have no reason to defend him,” she said.