In the celluloid firmament that is Bengal's flourishing film industry, 33-year-old actress Swastika Mukherjee is a shining but troubled star.
Swastika, who has a role opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in Dibakar Banerjee's Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, is currently making headlines of the wrong sort. She was allegedly caught shoplifting in Singapore and is accused of having left a store with earrings worth $200-odd. She was in Singapore for a film festival, with boyfriend and filmmaker Suman Mukherjee.
In May, Suman Mukherjee was detained by the Kolkata police - amid a storm of local protests - after Swastika was hospitalized in an alleged suicide bid.
Swastika, daughter of Bengali actor Santu Mukhopadhyay, was born on December 13, 1980 in Kolkata. She studied in various schools in in the city and later pursued a degree in History at the prestigious Jadavpur University. While in college, Swastika was cast in the TV serial Devdasi, a role that led to other serials like Akasher Niche and Protibimbo.
Swastika made her big screen debut in acclaimed 2002 film Hemanter Pakhi, which co-starred Kahaani actor Parambrata Chatterjee and veteran Bengali stars Soumitra Chatterjee, Tanushree Shankar, Mamata Shankar and Swastika's father Santu Mukhopadhyay. The next year, Swastika played the lead in Mastan, opposite Bengali superstar Jeet.
Off-screen however, Swastika's romantic life has been more than somewhat chequered. She married singer Pramit Sen when she was just 18. Two years later, the marriage was over, amid much acrimony. Swastika accused her estranged husband of physical abuse and filed a charge of cruelty against him that was later dismissed.
Swastika made her Bollywood debut in 2010 anthology Mumbai Cutting. Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, out next year, may prove to be a breakthrough film for her.