When Sushant Singh Rajput revealed how Shah Rukh Khan had helped him 'sort out his confusion'
- Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, writing for HT Brunch in 2017, had revealed how Shah Rukh Khan had been more than a star-like influence on him. The senior actor's most iconic character Raj in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge had helped him wrap his head around a cultural dilemma.
Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput was among the brightest actors seen in the Hindi film industry in a long time. His death by apparent suicide on June 14 last year sent shock waves across the country. Scores of his fans and ordinary people, who identified with him, saw in him a man hailing from humble middle class background but going on to touch great heights in the world of glamour.
The actor was well-read too - a pass-out from Delhi College of Engineering, Sushant Singh Rajput had even secured a scholarship from Stanford University, USA. He, however, left all that behind to become an actor.
In 2017, writing for HT Brunch, Sushant had spoken about his journey from being an engineering student to becoming an actor. In it, he had talked about how Shah Rukh Khan had had a deep impact on him, not only as a star but also clearing his confusion about who he was.
On his first death anniversary, here's a look at what he had said.
On Shah Rukh Khan
It wasn’t like I was unaffected by Bollywood, no. I was a huge fan of Shah Rukh Khan. I remember watching Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) and thinking now here’s a cool dude. He is a great performer, but that’s not what impacted me most: Shah Rukh helped me sort out my confusion about who I should be. This was in the early ’90s and the economy was just opening up – we were seeing Coke cans for the first time, international brands were coming in, and I was fascinated…yet confused. I didn’t know whether to embrace the West or be loyal to our culture. At this point came DDLJ, I was in Class VI, and Raj showed me that it was cool to have a beer, but then he also waited for Simran’s dad’s approval. There was a balance. It was the perfect marriage of an aspiring India and an India trying to hold on to its culture.
On references to Shah Rukh and his transition from TV to movies
People often ask why after Shah Rukh Khan, I am the only actor who could successfully make the transition from television to movies. Let me recount an incident from the sports history. In 1954, Roger Bannister was the first man ever to run a mile in less than four minutes, till then it was an unheard of feat. But the very next year 27 other people achieved the same feat. This was because they thought that if he can do it, so can we.
But here, most people think that oh this guy just got lucky, and they don’t put in the effort. Luck is a factor, definitely, but don’t make it your excuse.
(As told to Ananya Ghosh)