“Now when I think of it, perhaps, I always must be right about it after all, I was always slightly older than what I always wanted to be and just a tad younger than what I always was.” -Sushant Singh Rajput (Tweet, 14 January 2019)
From Star Plus’ romantic drama “Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera Dil” to Nitesh Tiwari’s “Chhichhore”, characters played by Sushant Singh Rajput have always been larger than life. He was born in the capital city of Bihar, Patna. His journey from being an engineering student at Delhi Technological University to being an admired actor started when he joined Barry John’s drama classes after being influenced by his friends in his dance classes. He found his passion for acting and said, “I found the experience liberating. I realised that I could communicate with the audience. I knew I wanted to do this forever.” He was a middle class, down to earth human being, who left the four-year degree course at the end of his third year, to pursue his love for acting.
‘Ishan Singh’ in his debut big-screen project “Kai Po Che”, ‘Raghu Ram’ in “Shuddh Desi Romance”, ‘Sarfaraz’ in “PK”, ‘Mahi’ in “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”, ‘Anni’ in “Chhichhore” and ‘Lakhan Singh’ in “Sonchiriya”, the characters played by him always reflected a new contemporary sense of the society. Sushant always became the character he played. As many have mentioned, the National Olympiad winner in Physics, Sushant was a resistless man. A jocular, always playful and humorous man. He probably made you very happy with one of his films. Sushant was a terrific actor who made his mark in the film industry through hard work and talent. Exceptionally inclined towards keeping himself fit, Sushant was applauded by many.
Sushant, despite losing his mother in 2002, has inspired many with his story of success in Bollywood. He was a role model for those who aspire to act, desire to be a part of the theatre and who love to portray the art they hold. Rajput, though from a non-acting background, found his meaning in acting. This attribute of Sushant’s is looked up to by many who want to be a name in the big screen industry. ‘Pavitra Rishta’ made him a household name and an overnight-star. Despite being a successful Bollywood actor, people never forgot his role in Ekta Kapoor’s daily soap. He has always been bullheaded in his approach to the roles he performed and went all the way for his versatile movies. His essence and class shout gold to us and his voice remains as an echo in our hearts.
Rajput’s roles in movies were awe-inspiring and beautifully portrayed figures of human beings that one would love to be like in the 21st Century. His charm and enthusiasm added a different vibe to the atmosphere, both on-screen and off-screen. ‘Ishan Bhatt’ couldn’t have been brought to life if it wasn’t for you, who made it to “Kai Po Che” and then a year later, you made us fall in love with ‘Sarfaraz’ when you said, “Jis mehfil ne thukraya humko, kyun us mehfil ko yaad kare … aage lamhe bula rahe hai, aao unke saath chale”. And that is how, we fell in love with you, a man who played Dhoni and Anni and we can never imagine these iconic movies without you.
Sushant’s ‘Dhoni’ is the most loved role. In praise of his role in “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”, Manoj Bajpai writes, “Every morning and evening he would religiously go out for his practice sessions with the former Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More. He played the role so well, the manner in which he imbibed the essence of Dhoni was impeccable.” In an interview, Sushant mentioned how he used to bunk his classes for watching Dhoni in India’s cricket matches. He added that he was a big fan which is also why he was able to play ‘Mahi’ with perfection.
Who knew that the man who starred in “Chhichhore”, a movie that beautifully dealt with battling suicidal thoughts was going through such thoughts himself? ‘Anni’ taught us that we are living the wrong way, not planning for when we fail and that we need to fight the thoughts which move us towards suicide. Complementing Sara Ali Khan in her debut movie “Kedarnath”, he performed a role which was one that he played with a massive heart. Sushant taught each of us to fight the failures in life, both as a human being and through the characters he played.
Just when we thought that this year can not get any worse, it takes a step further. Sushant, we will not only remember you as Anni or Dhoni but also as an artist, man who taught us to rise again when we fail and as a man who taught us that “loser” is a happy word. From 1986 to 2020, your life was too short to end now.
We had the privilege of being entertained by a man who said, “The biggest mystery in your life will be you. Forever. Period”. We will forever remember him as an inspiration.
If you’re in a dark place and considering suicide, please reach out to someone you know or through one of these global helplines.