News broke today of the untimely and heartbreaking demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The “Kai Po Che” actor was found hanging at his house in Bandra by his domestic help. His departure leaves a void in our heart which cannot ever be filled. 

His unfortunate death is a mystery but the Hero has lived his life like one! Let us take a moment and walk down that lane.

The Bihari boy was born in the city Patna and had starry dreams ever since he was a child. In his interview with Asian Paints “Where the heart is..” he said that he dreamt of being an astronaut as a child and later compromised and thought of becoming a pilot instead, then he tried his hand at studying engineering, and did fairly well, he scored an enviable rank 7 in the AIEEE. However, while studying engineering, he found his true calling and redirected his career towards the performing arts. He joined the Shaimak Dawar dance classes and was also a part of his famous dance troupe performing all over the world in various countries. 

Influenced by his fellow dancers, he joined the famed Barry John’s acting classes and there was no turning back after that. He dropped out of engineering and devoted himself to full-time acting and dancing. He was associated with Nadira Babbar’s “Ekjute Theatre Group” for about three years and this is when he got his first big TV commercial for Nestle Munch and that broke him out to the world.  

His first major breakthrough on TV came with Ekta Kapoor’s Pavitra Rishta opposite his former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande who played Archana. He received widespread love and admiration for his role on the show. But he was not done expanding his horizons yet. He decided to move his focus towards films and in 2011 he quit Pavitra Rishta and went abroad for a film making course. This transition from TV to Films wasn’t easy. After countless auditions, he landed a role in the film Kai Po Che! Which was based on Chetan Bhagat’s book “3 Mistakes of my Life”. His performance was applauded by the public and critics alike. Critic Rajeev Masand wrote: “…it’s Sushant Singh Rajput, making his film debut as Ishaan, who it’s hard to take your eyes off. The actor has an indescribable presence and it’s clear from his confidence and distinct likeability that a star is born.”.  

Sushant Singh Rajput in a still from Kai Po Che!

He went on to act in many successful films, making a name for himself in films like Shudh Desi Romance, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015), Raabta, Kedarnath and the immensely successful M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story, the biopic. 

Sushant was an actor in the truest sense and always had a zest to learn. He played a minor role in Rajkumar Hirani’s PK (2014) and in an interview he said that even though his role is minor he is very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work with stalwarts like Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan and also that is Rajkumar Hirani asks him to just walk across the frame and do nothing else, he would still be more than grateful to have gotten the opportunity. He reportedly also didn’t charge a rupee for the role and in return, Hirani sent him a collection of books on cinematography and acting from his personal collection as a sweet gesture. Sushant was a humble man, in his interview with Asian Paints “Where the heart is..” he compared his house and it’s decor to his career saying that like the furnishings in the house, his career too has been broken and mended multiple times so he relates to it. He said “Is ghar mai bohot sari ese cheeze hai jo jugaad se bani hai, bohot purani hai.. Aur jod ke tod ke banai hai, Toh mujhe bada acha lagta hai, mera career bhi bohot jod tod ke banaya hua hai toh mai bohot relate kar sakta hu”. He was another prime example after SRK who came from the outside and made a mark for himself through all the struggles in the world of Bollywood. No wonder he was an ardent fan of the Badshah himself. 

Sushant Singh Rajput in a still from “Where the heart is..”

He was philosophical and often gave a glimpse of his musings on Instagram which gave us a little peek into his extraordinary mind. His last film “ Chhichore” he plays the role of a father, Annirudh who is an engineer himself and whose son attempts suicide under pressure to perform well in exams. Sushant’s character had then realised his mistake and had taken it upon himself to tell him the story of his life in an engineering college and how “suicide is not an option”

Sushant Singh Rajput in a still from Chhichhore

“Hum haar jeet, success failure mein itna ulajh gaye hai … ki zindagi jeena bhool gaye hai … zindagi mein agar kuch sabse zyada important hai … toh woh hai khud zindagi

Dusron se haarke loser kehlane se kahin zyada bura hai … khud se haarke loser kehlana

Sache dost wohi hote hai … joh achhe waqt mein aapki bajate hai … aur jab mushkil waqt aata hai toh wohi chhichhore aapke darwaze par khade nazar aate hai

Tumhara result decide nahi karta hai ki tum loser ho ki nahi … tumhari koshish decide karti hai

Success Ke Baad Ka Plan Sabke Paas Hai … 

Lekin Agar Galti Se Fail Ho Gaye … 

Toh Failure Se Kaise Deal Karna Hai … 

Iski Koi Baat Hi Nahi Karna Chahta.” His character says in the movie. 

Netizens used this dialogue extensively to express their grief and the irony is clear as water in this case but the truth remains that we never know what’s going on behind a smile. As a fan and admirer of Sushant’s work, I offer my condolences to his family and friends in these difficult times and vow to not let his loss go in vain and take a lesson from this. Mental Health is just as important as your physical health, don’t ignore it. As a society perhaps we failed you Sushant, perhaps we didn’t notice the signs or maybe we didn’t simply pay enough attention to them, but I hope we as a society will change and change can start with us. Me, you who are sitting and reading this right now, let us remember to check up on our loved ones even though they may seem just fine. Let’s vow to listen with our hearts open and help as much as we can. And if you are someone who is currently struggling with their mental health, please reach out to anyone that you trust, get professional help if you feel the need for it. Help is out there, trust me. You are precious and the world needs you, you are loved, remember that no matter what. 

Below is a list of suicide helplines in India. Please reach out. Help is a call away.

– Prerana Panja

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