RIP Sushant Singh Rajput: The rising star who made a successful transition from TV to films
As the shocking news of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death broke, the film fraternity mourned the life of a talented actor cut short. He was found hanging at his residence in Mumbai on Sunday. DCP Pranay Ashok, the spokesperson of Mumbai Police, said that the police are investigating and have not found any note yet.
Despite ranking seventh in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), Sushant was more inclined towards a career in the arc lights than engineering. He dropped out of engineering college in his third year and joined Nadira Babbar’s theatre group Ekjute, performing in plays for two and a half years.
In 2008, he was invited to audition for Balaji Telefilms and landed a supporting role in the show Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera Dil. Though his character was killed off early on, it was a mark of his popularity that he was brought back as a spirit for the series finale, on popular demand.
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Sushant became a household name with his next show, Pavitra Rishta. In a recent Instagram post, producer Ekta Kapoor said that the channel was “adamant he didn’t look the part” but she and her team persuaded them to believe otherwise. “We convinced them his smile would win a million hearts...and it did,” she wrote.
Pavitra Rishta was an instant success and won Sushant accolades. He made a successful transition into films in 2013 with Kai Po Che. He quit the show in two years to make his Bollywood debut with the Abhishek Kapoor film based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life.
With the critical and commercial success of Kai Po Che, Sushant became one of the few television stars to make it big in Bollywood. Hits and misses followed in the years to come -- if he was a part of a blockbuster like PK that crossed Rs 300 crore at the domestic box office, he also starred in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, which got critical acclaim but was not a commercial success.
2016 brought his biggest solo success -- MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, in which he played former cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However, around this time, he also signed a number of films which failed to take off -- Chanda Mama Door Ke, the Murlikant Petkar biopic and Takadum, to name a few.
In an interview with PTI in 2017, Sushant had said that he would be disheartened if he stopped getting film and television offers, but nothing could come in the way of his love for acting. “If somebody takes all (the) films from me I will be disappointed for a day. If I don’t get work in television, I will be upset for another day, but then I will be fine. I will make my short films or probably act in theatre or make my own films. I will be excited. Nothing can take the excitement to act away from me,” he had said.
Sushant bounced back from these setbacks and delivered hits such as Kedarnath and Chhichhore. He was last seen in the action-thriller Drive, which debuted directly on Netflix to lukewarm response.
Before his death, Sushant was supposed to see the release of Dil Bechara, an official remake of the Hollywood drama The Fault in Our Stars, based on the bestselling novel of the same name. However, it could not release due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Even at the highest point of his career, Sushant felt that he did not get his due. He admitted to being disappointed with the response to MS Dhoni: The Untold Story in an interview with HuffPost last year. “I was disappointed during Dhoni. Then I told myself, maybe I overestimated what the reactions were going to be,” he had said.
“Now, I’ve created my own markers of success. At that time, I was young in the industry, I was looking for it. That validation. Now I don’t, so it doesn’t hurt,” he had said.
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