Ahead of Dil Bechara, here are Sushant Singh Rajput’s films that should get a cult following
I remember watching MS Dhoni: The Untold Story in Bihar, the actor’s – and the cricketer’s – home. The genteel multiplex audiences would burst into raptures every time Sushant Singh Rajput would hit MS Dhoni’s signature helicopter shot, and the film’s climactic World Cup win had people on their feet and in the aisles.
But who were they cheering for -- Dhoni or the man who was playing Dhoni? Perhaps that was the biggest win of the actor because, for those 3 hours and 40 minutes, he had transformed into the cricketer.
Dhoni biopic was a blockbuster, one of the biggest hits of Sushant’s career but this piece is not about that film or Kai Po Che, or Chhichhore – a film that will be bittersweet for his fans after his death. This piece is about films that were equally great but didn’t get their due. Two gems that we, the paying audience, didn’t go to theatres to watch.
Sonchiriya was hit particularly by this apathy. Set in the 1970s, the dacoit drama is about a gang of outlaws who live by a code of honour that transcends the law. As a policeman -- who wants to avenge past wrongs -- tightens the screws, the gang slowly implodes. There are no heroes in the ravines. As Sushant’s Lakhna finds his conscience keepers in Indumati and her young charge – a survivor of sex abuse – he finds the motive to live and die. Deeply rooted in the unforgiving Bundelkhandi soil, the film asks important questions on caste, gender, religion and politics.
Under Abhishek Chaubey’s expert eye, the superlative cast –Ranvir Shorey, Manoj Bajpayee and Bhumi Pednekar play pivotal roles – offer you a thrill. Alas, the film that should have been the toast of the year, came and went without a whimper at the box office.
Another of Sushant’s films that got a raw deal in the theatres was Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! Atmospheric and stylish, the film was a straight-ahead mystery set in the 1940s Calcutta with its chic buildings and cramped quarters. As our tyro detective played by Sushant Singh Rajput tries to earn his spurs, he is still wet behind the ears. Up against a Moriarty of his own, he makes mistakes, falls and gets up again.
An origin tale of sorts, it is as much of a how howdunnit as a whodunnit. And it is a shame we would never get to see his adventures.
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