THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT
Ali Raza | On 19, Jun 2020
The nation is in shock at the sudden demise of Sushant Singh Rajput, a charismatic actor who made it big in Bollywood without a Godfather. He died from suicide after battling depression for over six months. The 34-year-old actor lived alone in his Bandra residence in Mumbai. With a heavy heart, we bid adieu to a gem who had immense potential. With this article, we present to you the “underdog” that Bollywood lost.
Born in Patna to Krishna Kumar Singh and Usha Singh, Rajput was the youngest of the four siblings. He admitted to having been pampered by his family, so much so that he could not communicate with strangers. He was always good at academics and wanted to become an engineer. He ranked seventh in the DCE Entrance Exam in 2003 and secured admission in Delhi College of Engineering. Rajput was also a National Olympiad Winner in Physics. After a while, he decided to get into the performing arts. He joined Shiamak Davar’s dance classes and began exploring the world of theatre too. Soon he dropped out of his college and chased the dream of becoming a Bollywood star.
Rajput joined Nadira Babbar’s Ekjute theatre group in Mumbai and soon got featured in a TV advertisement for Nestle Munch. The ad made him stand out, and in 2008, the casting team of Balaji Telefilms called him to audition for them. Rajput bagged the role of Preet Juneja in Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil. Even though his character was killed early in the show, he was popular among the viewers. The next year he landed the lead in Ekta Kapoor’s soap opera, Pavitra Rishta. Soon Rajput was hailed as one of Indian TV’s most famous stars of the time. His demeanour was as shy as Manav, the boy-next-door with a sweet smile that won people’s hearts for five years.
His breakthrough came with Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che! Where he played one of the three leads, along with Rajkumar Rao and Amit Sadh. The story was based on The 3 Mistakes of My Life, written by Chetan Bhagat. Sushant’s powerful performance was not only critically acclaimed but also resonated with the audience.
Sushant ticked all the boxes of being an ideal Bollywood hero. With his athletic built, heartwarming smile, killer dance moves, and the ability to transform himself into the character he played on screen, Sushant was carving a niche for himself. He chose exciting characters without thinking about commercial success.
Kai Po Che!
This 2013 film narrated a story of three friends against the backdrop of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Abhishek Kapoor made Kai Po Che! Adding subtle nuances to Chetan Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life, on which the film was based. Sushant played Ishaan- an impulsive and large-hearted character with promise.
Shuddh Desi Romance
This film was produced by Yash Raj Films and directed by Maneesh Sharma. This not-so-typical love story, co-starring Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor got mixed reactions from the public. However, Sushant aced the role of a commitment-phobic Raghu.
This Rajkumar Hirani blockbuster starred Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma. Sushant’s cameo as Sarfaraz stole hearts. His charisma made the soulful track Chaar Kadam more magical, and he proved he could shine even in small roles.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
Dibakar Banerjee chose to star him as Saradindu Bandopadhyay’s extremely popular and loved sleuth Byomkesh. We saw Sushant gracefully playing the dhoti-kurta clad Bengali detected and even though the film was not received well by the purists, his acting was praised.
M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story
Perhaps Sushant’s most memorable role and the one that required months of meticulous training. Starting from intense lessons with former cricketer Kiran More, to chatting with Dhoni, and making notes about his observations, this role brought out his dedication to the craft. Director Neeraj Pandey made an almost four-hour-long biopic, but Sushant managed to hold everyone’s attention.
This Abhishek Kapoor film was Sara Ali Khan’s debut. A tragic love story set against the backdrop of the 2013 Uttarakhand floods. The film’s final moments showcase Sushant’s acting skills and haunt the viewers. Mansoor was an impactful role in his career.
A film about suicide, failure, frustration, and much more. Sushant shifted between his role as a youngster and a middle-aged man beautifully, starting important and relevant conversations.
NOTABLE AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
- 2010 Indian Television Academy Awards Most Popular Actor (Male)
- BIG Star Entertainment Awards Best Television Actor (Male)
- 2011 Best Actor in a Lead Role
- 2014 Producers Guild Film Awards Best Male Debut Kai Po Che!
- 2017 Screen Awards Best Actor (Critics)
FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT HIM
Sushant was a sensitive soul and a thinker. He was driven and passionate. Being an introvert, he loved spending time reading books and cultivating hobbies. He even had a telescope in his balcony to look at the stars! Sushant had shared a list of 50 things he wished to do before he died. This list was motivational for many and Sushant even ticked off many tasks from the list.
Here is a glimpse of the list:
- Learn how to Fly a Plane
- Play a Cricket Match left-handed
- Learn Morse Code
- Teach Coding to visually impaired
- Work in AI & exponential technologies
- Help kids learn about Space
- Chart trajectories of Moon, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn for a week
- Plant 1000 Trees
- Work for Free Education
- Make a documentary on Swami Vivekananda
- Send 100 kids for workshops in ISRO/ NASA
- Meditate in Kailash
All his dreams show his desire to attain knowledge and help others.
THE PASSING OF A YOUNG PRODIGY
Sushant Singh Rajput’s death threw light on the loopholes of the flawed social structures. Depression is a mental illness that requires not only professional help but also compassion. Sushant was apparently not doing well in his career because his films were being given to other actors. This was because of a tiff gone wrong. He had no stable support system in Bollywood, a middle-class boy with a big dream who worked hard to get there. His demise sparked a conversation about the hollowness of the film industry and the cut-throat competition that pushes people to the edge. Dealing with depression alone is not an easy task, and Sushant is in a long list of gems we have lost to it.
THE NATION GRIEVES
Condolences started pouring in as everyone processed the news of his sudden demise. The Prime Minister to big B-town celebrities, everyone shared tweets, status, pictures in sheer disbelief. Many called out the toxic culture endorsed by the gatekeepers of Bollywood, some spoke out about mental illness, while fans paid tribute to their hero. Sushant Singh Rajput will be remembered for his brilliant work and his inquisitive mind.