In the middle of a pandemic, the emotional health of Bollywood fans’ crumbled on 14 June, 2020. It was an uneventful Sunday, when we were stuck in our homes fighting against a deadly virus, and the news flashed – Sushant Singh Rajput was no more. He left an immobilized sadness, several questions and a deep void for us to deal with.
These days whenever we open Facebook or Twitter, we can see how many lives he had touched with his untainted smile and spontaneity. His fans are angry at the culture of nepotism in Bollywood, they want answers from the investigating authorities, and above all, they want a closure. Why a brilliant mind and powerhouse of talent like SSR would see the end of his life at the age of 34 is the question still haunting us.
Back in 2009, with his starring role in Zee TV’s popular soap Pavitra Rishta, Sushant won our hearts with his freshness. His pairing with the co-star Ankita Lokhande made us feel light on our feet. Their on screen chemistry soon culminated into real life romance. The duo dated for six years, before breaking up in 2016. His personality – how he came alive on camera without a shred of pretence – is how we will always remember him. In his Bollywood debut ‘Kai Po Che!’ Sushant impressed not just the fans, but also his critics. He was applauded for his vivacious screen presence and the well known Bollywood critics Rajeev Masand rightly said – “it’s clear from his confidence and distinct likeability that a star is born.”
In his second movie ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ – paired with Pareeneeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor – SSR brought an unpretentious boyish charm to the character, who wears his heart on his sleeves. Next he appeared in Rajkumar Hirani’s movie ‘PK’. Although it was a relatively minor role, but to Sushant’s credit, an outsider actor bagging screen time with Amir Khan right on his third film, is a rare case.
In the following years he played the protagonist in ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ and ‘M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story’. The latter was a huge commercial and critical success; SSR’s hard work and natural charisma vibrated through his performance and it earned him his first nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.
From 2017 to 2019 Sushant appeared in ‘Raabta’ – which received lacklustre commercial appreciation – and then in ‘Sonchiriya’ and ‘Kedarnath’ – both received moderate to high commercial success and critical appreciation. But his final theatrical release ‘Chhichhore’ was not only a blockbuster, but also received 5 nominations at Filmfare Awards in the categories of – Best Film, Best Director, Best Story, Best Dialogue and Best Editing.
Sushant’s last shooting was for ‘Dil Bechara’ – based on the bestseller novel ‘The Fault in Our Stars – paired with debutant Sanjana Sanghi. The film’s release was postponed multiple times, first due to post-production delays and then due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but now it will release on 24th July on Disney+ Hotstar as a tribute to the zealous and vibrant SSR and his fans.
Sushant left too early, but nevertheless, his works on screen, the sheer charm of life in his smile, his contributions in the fields of technology and education will be always alive in the hearts of his fans. Wherever he is now, let’s hope he finds peace and glory.
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