Tarannum Khan is an Indian bar dancer who became famous in 2003 after Abdul Karim Telgi, an Indian counterfeiter known for his involvement in the 2003 stamp paper fraud, fell in love with her.
Parents & Siblings
Tarannum’s father’s name is Zafar Ulla Khan, who worked as a shopkeeper. She has a younger brother and an elder sister.
Husband & Children
There is not much information about her husband.
She follows Islam. In photos taken by the media when she was taken into police custody, she often wore a burka.
Story to becoming a bar dancer
Tarannum grew up in Mumbai in a Muslim family. She lived with her parents in Andheri, where her father ran a small shop. Her family consisted of six members, including her parents, brother, sister, and niece. They faced difficulties because the money earned from her father’s shop was not enough. In 1992, during the Bombay riots, their house and shop were looted, and the whole family lost their place to live. They had to live in a relief camp in Milat Nagar, Andheri, as they had no other option left. Her father got bedridden after a heart attack. After losing their home, Tarannum’s family slept outdoors for three nights in the Lokhandwala area and had no food to eat. Due to hardships faced by the family, her mother made a desperate decision to do whatever it took to get food for her children. After finishing her formal education, Tarannum worked various low-paying jobs, but it still wasn’t sufficient to cover the cost of meals and her parents’ medical bills. A lady came up to her and suggested that she could make money by dancing at a bar. At first, her family didn’t approve of the idea because she had only completed 12th grade, but eventually, her parents allowed her to dance.
Life as a bar dancer
She began working at a dance bar, Deepa Bar, in Mumbai. When she joined the bar, she was just 16 years old. After joining the bar, within some days, she became popular for being the most attractive bar performer in Mumbai. Many people visited the bar from far away just to watch her dance. She became popular because she resembled actress Madhuri Dixit. She used to come back home at 6 in the morning, eat breakfast, and then go to sleep at 7. She used to wake up at 4 in the afternoon, prepare to go to the bar and work there for 14 hours every day. She would make around Rs. 8,000 to 10,000 while working at the bar. At the age of 16, she went to Dubai to do a performance on a stage. Reportedly, Abdul Karim Telgi, the main suspect in the 2003 stamp paper scam, fell in love with her and spent over Rs. 90 lakh on her on 31 December 2001.
Raid by Income Tax Department
In September 2005, the Income Tax department raided her home and discovered jewellery, cash, and property worth Rs. 22 lakh. The police suspected her of having connections with bookies and some cricketers. They took her passport for a check but returned it after a few days. Her phone records revealed 93 numbers, including 27 bookies and 30 punters. The police filed a case against Tarannum for involvement in cricket betting. Outlook A week later, she, along with two bookies named Pradip Parmar and Milind Dhiraj Nandu (also known as DJ), was arrested for gambling. Later, another person named Bhavesh Upadhyay was also arrested. Tarannum admitted to placing “friendly bets” on cricket matches and making money from it. The Times of India In November 2005, she was released on bail from the Byculla women’s jail because the police couldn’t find enough evidence within 60 days of her arrest. The Times of India In an interview, she, mentioned that when she began making a good income, someone advised her to file tax returns. However, she was very young and didn’t have the knowledge of how taxes and saving money worked. So, she decided to hire an accountant who handled Deepa Bar’s finances. Unfortunately, because of her lack of understanding and the accountant’s unprofessional behaviour, she received incorrect guidance about her finances. Before the police raid, she believed everything was fine. However, after her release, she understood that she was given incorrect advice by her own Chartered Accountant (CA). She also expressed guilt for not following the law because she did not have proper knowledge at the time.
Impact of raid on Tarannum’s life
Following the police raid at Tarannum’s residence, the Mumbai government imposed a ban on bar dancers, resulting in many dancers losing their jobs. In 2006, a film titled ‘Deepa Ki Tarannum,’ produced by Ranjit Sharma and inspired by Tarannum’s life, was released. She took legal action, claiming that the producer didn’t ask for her permission to make a film about her life. In 2014, another film titled ‘Mumbai Can Dance Saalaa’ was released which was about the police raid at Tarannum’s residence.
Arrested for assaulting her security guard
In 2006, a security guard named Babu Singh filed a complaint against Tarannum at the Varsova police station. In his complaint, he mentioned that he was hired by Khan for a monthly salary of Rs. 4,000, but he did not receive it for four months. When Singh asked Tarannum for his overdue payment of Rs. 16,000, she, along with her father A. Khan and bodyguard Raju Pastee, physically hurt him and threatened him to keep quiet about the money. As a result of his complaint, all three of them were charged under sections 324 (causing harm with dangerous weapons), 506 (threatening to cause serious harm or death), and 114 (being present as an abettor when an offense is committed). News 18
- She was popular by the names Millionaire bar dancer and Crorepati bar dancer. She got this name after one of the visitors of Deepa Bar showered lakhs of rupees while she was dancing on stage. The Times of India DNA
- In 2023, ‘Scam 2003: The Telgi Story,’ an Indian Hindi-language biographical financial thriller television series was released on SonyLIV. The series was directed by Hansal Mehta. It was based on the life of her lover, Abdul Karim Telgi.