Raj Pallan: What Happened to Reena Virk’s Uncle?

Image Credit: Photo by: Bettina Strauss/Hulu

Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’ begins with a 14-year-old Reena Virk wanting to find a place where she fits in. She is turned into an outcast because of the way she looks (from the color of her skin and her weight to the hair on her legs and her awkward personality), and it seems everything is used against her. No matter how hard she tries to befriend people and fit in with a crowd, she always seems to stand out. This friendlessness forces her to push her boundaries and do clearly dangerous things, but there is no one to guide her because she hides it all from her parents. The only person who seems to understand her is her uncle, Raj. The premise of the show is enough to tell the audience what happened to Reena, but what became of her beloved uncle?

Under the Bridge Adds a Fictional Touch to Reena’s Uncle

In ‘Under the Bridge,’ Reena has one uncle named Raj. In real life, however, Reena Virk had two uncles on her mother’s side: Ravinder and Balraj. While the show depicts true events, it fictionalizes certain aspects of the story and tweaks a few details to serve the purpose of the plot. In doing so, the story coalesces Reena’s uncles into a single character. Rebecca Godfrey also did the same thing in her 2005 book of the same name, on which the Hulu series is based. In doing so, she merged the details of two real people into creating one slightly fictional character.

Image Credit: Obituary on Legacy

In the book, Reena’s uncle is called Raj, but all the details about him suggest that the author was actually talking about her other uncle, Ravinder, aka Ravi. Born in 1958, Ravi worked in real estate and was close to his niece. He was married to a woman named Amarjit, with whom he had two sons, Aneil and Jeevan. According to the book, he was not a Jehovah’s Witness, unlike Reena’s parents and grandparents. He was also the one who would drive around Reena in his car, listening to rock and pop songs on the blast. When Warren Glowatski was given his prison sentence and remained silent when asked if he wanted to say a few words to Virk’s family, Ravi Pallan remarked that a few words from him “would have gone a long way.”

Shortly after Reena’s murder, Ravi was diagnosed with MS. It was a long and hard battle, and he spent the final years of his life in Aberdeen Hospital, cared for by his family as well as the staff of the hospital. He passed away on April 14, 2014. Reena’s other uncle is named Balraj, aka Raj, and is the one whose name appears both in the book as well as the show. It remains unclear how much of his persona is reflected by the character in the show because he has chosen to stay out of the limelight.

Raj only appeared in front of the media during the trials of the ones accused of killing his niece. He talked a bit about Reena, revealing that she was good with children, and when she was 12, she took a babysitting course. She also volunteered at the hospital, where she visited elderly patients, often spending time reading. Considering her loving and caring nature, Raj and other family members believed that she would go on to become a nurse. But all the potential she held was taken away from her the night she was murdered.

Read More: Rebecca Godfrey: How Did the Author Die?