She unexpected death of Poonam Pandey has shocked the entertainment world.
In an Instagram post, her team revealed that she passed away after battling cervical cancer. She was 32.
The statement read: “This morning is a tough one for us.
“Deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost our beloved Poonam to cervical cancer.
“Every living form that ever came in contact with her was met with pure love and kindness.
“In this time of grief, we would request for privacy while we remember her fondly for all that we shared.”
Fellow celebrities expressed their shock at Poonam’s death.
Designer Rohit Verma revealed that he had worked with Poonam Pandey just two days before her death and in a lengthy post, he said she was a “girl with a golden heart”.
Filmmaker Pooja Bhatt tweeted:
“So tragic to hear about Poonam Pandey. I had never met her but when life claims someone so young it is always devastating.
“My prayers and deepest condolences to her family, friends and everyone whose life she impacted.”
Karan Kundrra said: “Oh my god! I have no idea about this. How did it happen? It is very sad and heartbreaking news. I just need to call some people now.”
Poonam was known for several things, with both her professional and personal life frequently being in the spotlight.
We look at the life and career of Poonam Pandey.
Early Modelling Career
Born in Kanpur, Poonam Pandey began her career as a model.
She became one of the top nine contestants of the Gladrags Manhunt and Megamodel Contest.
Poonam ended up on the fashion magazine’s cover page.
Although Poonam went on to dive into other ventures, she continued with bikini and lingerie photoshoots in exotic locations.
Bold Rise to Prominence
Whilst still a model, Poonam Pandey began gaining popularity on social media.
She frequently enticed her fans with semi-nude photos of herself.
Poonam soon became known for her boldness, posing in lingerie and teasing toplessness for her social media followers.
But her popularity skyrocketed in 2011 when she promised to strip for the Indian cricket team if they won the World Cup.
India won the World Cup but Poonam did not fulfil her promise due to public disapproval. She later claimed the BCCI denied her permission.
In 2012, Poonam posed nude after the Kolkata Knight Riders won the IPL.
As her revealing photos continued to receive attention, she launched an app which allowed users to view “bold” photos, videos and live feeds of the model.
However, soon after its launch, the app was banned by Google. It is only available on her official website.
Poonam Pandey expanded her horizons by venturing into acting.
Her big break came in 2013 when she starred in Nasha. She portrayed Anita Joseph, a teacher who ends up having a sexual relationship with one of her students.
The film received a negative response but Poonam’s performance was praised by some outlets.
In keeping with her controversial character, film posters featured Poonam “clad in nothing, but two placards tactfully placed to cover her body.”
This caused outrage and protestors tore down the posters and set them on fire.
Poonam went on to star in several other films for different industries.
Playing the titular character in 2015’s Malini & Co, Poonam portrayed a masseuse.
On the television front, Poonam has been a part of series and reality shows.
Poonam Pandey participated in Bigg Boss (Season 5) in 2011.
Her stint on the show was marked by confrontations with other contestants, and her behaviour often raised eyebrows, contributing to her controversial image.
She was part of Lock Upp and raised temperatures among viewers when she promised to remove her T-shirt if she was saved from eviction.
Poonam was saved and went through with her promise, sort of.
In the main communal area, Poonam waited until none of her fellow contestants were around and then lifted her top. However, she was wearing a bra underneath.
Poonam later stated that she wanted to fulfil her promise but not break any rules.
Poonam Pandey was last seen in the ALTBalaji series Honeymoon Suite 911, which premiered on December 9, 2023.
It was a groundbreaking role for Poonam as she portrayed a lesbian character for the first time on camera.
The series delved into a high-thriller plot where Poonam’s character Priya, along with Navina Bole as Sanjana, a same-sex couple becomes entangled in the mysteries of specific premises.
Personal Life & Controversies
Poonam Pandey’s personal life was also in the spotlight.
She had been in a long-term relationship with Sam Bombay and stirred up controversy when she uploaded a sextape of them on Instagram.
Although Poonam deleted the explicit post, many had viewed the video and redistributed it on other social media platforms as well as porn websites.
In recent years, Poonam was uploading content on OnlyFans.
As well as nude videos, she also shared intimate moments between her and Sam, including additional sextapes.
In May 2020, the couple faced police trouble when they were caught driving around in Mumbai, breaking lockdown rules.
They were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
They were also given a strict warning prohibiting them from leaving their residence.
Allegedly, the pair had travelled from Bandra to Marine Drive for joy and pleasure. However, Poonam later claimed she was out buying essentials.
She and Sam got married in September 2020 in a low-key ceremony. However, things took a turn when they travelled to Goa.
The work-related trip doubled up as a honeymoon.
Poonam filed a complaint against her new husband, accusing him of assault and molestation.
Sam was arrested before being released on bail. The pair got back together, sparking the belief that the incident was a publicity stunt.
A year later, Poonam Pandey filed another complaint against Sam, accusing him of assaulting her.
She reportedly suffered injuries to her head, face and eyes and was hospitalised.
Poonam later explained that her relationship with Sam had always been “abusive”, stating that she separated from him.
Looking back on the marriage, she added that she did not plan on getting into another relationship for the foreseeable future.
Poonam Pandey’s death has certainly caused a shock in India.
Although her controversies and bold looks are what she became known for, Poonam undoubtedly had an impact on her legion of fans and fellow celebrities.