What drove Pratyusha Banerjee to commit suicide

Geetika Sasan Bhandari
Geetika Sasan BhandariApr 01, 2016 | 22:59

What drove Pratyusha Banerjee to commit suicide

The first two names may not ring a bell now, but they too were TV actresses who committed suicide. Like Pratyusha, they were both young, in their 20s, and pursuing their dreams in Mumbai.

What is it that drives them to take such a drastic step? While it is tough to answer that question, the fact is that the television industry is anything but easy to survive in.

Pratyusha Banerjee as Anandi in Balika Vadhu

Most actors put in 12-hour workdays (this is apparently included in their contracts) and barely get a day off. Add to this, time needed for promos, award shows, live events and other commitments, and most of them end up with either exhaustion or eventually quit shows, unable to cope. If 40 hours is the corporate norm, TV actors end up working even 84 hour weeks. Those who are doing daily soaps are worse off.

In Pratyusha's case, it seems she quit Balika Vadhu after a three-year stint because of her mother's ill health and her own health. While film stars still get gaps between projects, TV stars don't have an option. The show, as they say, must go on, and as TV directors and producers introduce one bizarre twist after another to keep TRPs up, stars often bear the brunt.

High work pressure and lifestyle-related stress have been driving actors to commit suicide. 

Moreover, television as a medium has grown exponentially in recent years - so much so that most film stars are on it as well - and TV stars are no longer poor cousins. This means they have their own award shows, and parties, and appearances, and keeping up with the Joneses is required more than ever before. The financial pressures then, of maintaining a high-profile lifestyle, take a toll on actors.

Nafisa Joseph (left), Kuljeet Randhwa (centre) of Cats fame.

Constantly being in the limelight, interacting with fans in person and on social media, definitely hampers personal relationships as well as time becomes a major constraint. You may find film actresses getting back to work soon after having children but most TV actresses are often unable to find their groove back. Be it Shweta Kawaatra, Gauri Pradhan or many more, they've all chosen to move out of the daily soap sphere after becoming mothers.

This could possibly be one of the reasons that TV in India is finally moving towards finite shows. If the success of Ekta Kapoor's Naagin - a finite show that's been ruling the TRP charts since its debut - paves the way, it could spell a sigh of relief for overworked and mentally stressed actors.

Last updated: April 06, 2016 | 13:32
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