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Sushant Singh Rajput was a very soft-spoken and unassuming actor and a very rare commodity in the film industry

Senior Journalist JYOTHI VENKATESH remembers Sushant Singh Rajput fondly on his second death anniversary today!



Sushant Singh Rajput

Today is Sushant Singh Rajput’s second death anniversary though it is sad that still, the Mumbai police are investigating how he died. Also in the last two years, Rajeev Masand is no longer with CNN IBN 18 and has moved to Karan Johar’s casting company and Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami does not even regularly appear on his own channel these days in his daily debates.

Born on January 21, 1986, in Patna, Sushant Singh Rajput hailed from Maldhiha in Bihar and believe it or not, was only 34 years old when he chose to leave the world. A brilliant student on his own merit, Sushant had ranked seventh in the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination and had cleared 11 national engineering exams. He studied Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) from Delhi Technological University (DTU). Sushant was also a National Olympiad Winner in Physics. However, Sushant Singh Rajput had dropped out of college to pursue a career in showbiz.

Sushant had started off his journey as an actor by joining Nadira Babbar’s Ekjute theatre group, of which he was a part for two and a half years. It was during this period that Sushant got featured in a TV advertisement for Nestle Munch. In 2008, Sushant Singh Rajput was spotted by the casting team of Balaji Telefilms in one of his plays and was asked to audition. At age 22, Sushant Singh made his acting debut with the television show ‘Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil’. He played Preet Juneja, the fun-loving and childish younger brother of Prem Juneja, played by Harshad Chopra. Sushant’s character was later ‘killed’ in the show but he came back for the series finale as a ‘spirit’ looking at his family celebrate after going through difficult times.

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A year later, in 2009, Sushant was cast in ‘Pavitra Rishta’ as Manav Deshmukh, a role that proved to be a breakthrough and for which he received several awards for a Best TV actor. Also seen on Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, Sushant won accolades for not only his moves on the show but also his much-loved character of Manav in Pavitra Rishta.  While Manav was almost a polar opposite to the real-life Sushant, this versatile actor had worked tremendously hard in bringing to life a character, which he was really unlike.  Since then, there has been no looking back for the Bihari lad SSR, as he was fondly called.

An actor who tasted fame with the television show Pavitra Rishta, Sushant’s Bollywood journey began when he landed a role in Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Kai Po Che!. Later, he acted in quite a few films like Shuddh Desi Romance, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, PK, and M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story which helped him establish himself in Bollywood. The actor was also seen in Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath, which was the debut vehicle for Sara Ali Khan. He was also part of Nitesh Tiwari’s multi-starrer blockbuster Chhichhore and critically acclaimed Abhishek Chaubey’s flop Sonchiriya. He was last seen in Karan Johar’s Drive, which was dropped on Netflix without a theatrical release.

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Not many are aware of the fact that Sushant Singh Rajput actually was nursing a desire to take up direction too eventually. This was corroborated by none other than actor Dayashankar Pandey who was slated to work with him in Sushant Singh Rajput’s first film Kai Po Che but backed out after shooting for two days with him due to his other commitments when Abhishek Kapoor asked him for his dates out of turn.

I had the opportunity to interview Sushant Singh Rajput precisely only once when he was making his debut in films with Kai Po Che when the PR guys asked me to talk to him on the phone for Blockbuster, the trade weekly that I was working for at that time, published by producer T.P. Aggarwal, the former IMPPA President. Unfortunately, Sushant Singh had become too big for his boots after his debut film turned out to be a hit and he had ensconced himself into a cocoon of his own after the film and I could never ever get to meet him in person, though he had promised to be in touch with me and even given me his personal number.

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Since Sushant Singh Rajput was quite a handsome person, no wonder he was linked to various co-stars of his. If he was ’living’ with his Pavitra Rishta co-actor Ankita Lokhande, he was also linked to Kriti Sanon when he was working with her in Raabta before he had started seeing Rhea Chakraborty seriously. Though everything was going alright, people also started speculating that Sushant Singh Rajput who was a very private person was into bouts of depression not only because of his erratic personal life but also because not only was he feeling very lonely and bitter with a lack of friends but also offers from big filmmakers had stopped coming in spite of the success of his film Chichhore.

Sushant Singh Rajput’s sudden demise two years ago proved that all that glitters in the industry is not at all gold but there are pitfalls lurking in the industry in every nook and corner and there is no guarantee that every film of yours will turn out to be gold after your debut film becomes a huge blockbuster. Sushant was also very upset that Karan Johar had chosen to let his Jacqueline Fernandez starrer Drive directly drop in an OTT like Netflix bypassing the traditional theatrical release that he had hoped for. On this second death anniversary of his, I will miss Sushant Singh Rajput badly because he was a very soft-spoken and unassuming actor and a very rare commodity in the film industry and God up there does not make actors like him anymore.