In the late eighties, actress Nisha Noor was the talk of the town. She had done many hit films like Kalyana Agathigal (1986), Iyer the Great (1990) and Tik! Tik! Tik! (1981).
Nisha mainly concentrated on Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu movies. She worked with renowned directors like Balachandran, Vishu and Chandrashekar. On-screen, she romanced superstars Rajnikanth and Kamal Hasan.
However, this budding career was soon cut short. She vanished from the scene, disappearing for many years. Rumours, at the time and since then, darkly hinted that Noor was forced into prostitution by a film producer, after which she left the film industry.
However, though there is no way to verify that rumour, no one from the film industry seemed to want to work with Nisha anymore. Also, such rumours match the all too familiar stories about the exploitation of women in film industries, which occur to this day.
In a few years, her financial condition went from bad to worse, and she vanished from all notice. A single lady, it is unclear why she fell out with her family or friends.
A long time later, Nisha was rediscovered outside a Dargah, sleeping on the streets and reduced to nearly a skeleton. Nisha's condition was such that she had worms and ants crawling on her body.
She was rescued by a few members of the Muslim Munnetta Kazhagam, a Tamil NGO and political organisation. They admitted her to a hospital in Tambaram, Chennai. On being examined, it was discovered that the actress was sick with AIDS, without even being aware of it.
Later, she died in the year 2007 in the hospital. And thus, once again, we see the dark side of the glitz and glam industry. If an actress fights against sexual exploitation or opposes the patriarchal mindset - she is, more often than not, treated like Nisha.
And just to recall that rumours about Nisha are not unique. Let us remember the story of Shweta Basu Prasad a few years ago. She too alleged that she was pushed into prostitution by similar forces.
But she was lucky enough to come back and start her life all over again. Some, like Noor, are never that lucky.