Sushant Singh Rajput, a bright young Bollywood star who had won millions of hearts with his portrayal of cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the biopic of the former Indian captain, went away too soon, when everything appeared to be going fine for him.
The 34-year-old actor was reportedly found hanging at his Bandra home in Mumbai on June 14, leaving his fans and the film fraternity in a state of disbelief. The exact cause of his death was not ascertained till the time of filing this report, but there were no previous reports about him battling any serious issue on his personal and professional fronts.
Far from it, Sushant had delivered a massive hit, Chhichhore, directed by Dangal (2016) director Nitesh Tiwari last year and was waiting for the release of Mukesh Chabra’s Dil Bechara during the lockdown. Even though his two other movies released in 2019 – Sonchiriya and Drive – did not do well, he had quite a few interesting projects lined up in the months ahead.
Considered to be one of the best actors from his generation, Sushant shot into fame in Bollywood with Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che! (2013), based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel, “The Three Mistakes of My Life”. His next two movies Shuddh Desi Romance (2013) and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (2015) subsequently did not do well, despite his neat performances. But he bounced back with a bang with an award-winning performance in Neeraj Pandey’s M. S. Dhoni: An untold Story (2015). He had pinned a lot of hopes on Raabta (2017) and Sonchiriya (2019) but they bombed at the box office. He was not happy when his next venture, Drive, released directly on Netflix, which failed to impress the critics. However, the success of Kedarnath (2018) and Chhichore had kept him on the list of front-runners in the industry.
The Patna-born actor had reached Bollywood via television with the success of daily soaps like Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera Dil (2008-09) and Pavitra Rishta (2009-11), which had made him the reigning heart-throb of the small screen. His boyish charm, disarmingly endearing smile and pleasing personality soon caught the attention of Hindi film-makers, enabling him to make a swift transition to feature films.
The young actor had returned to his ancestral village in Purnia district of Bihar some time ago to take part in a family function and mingled with the locals without any starry airs. He even played cricket with the youngsters at his village ground. He was his usual jovial self during his visit and at the time nobody had suspected that anything was wrong with him.
The reported suicide of Sushant, the first major Bollywood star since Guru Dutt to end his life, has left many questions unanswered and has yet again underlined how vulnerable people with fame, success and money can be, even in the high-profile glamorous world of cinema. It’s heart-breaking that a dashing young star had to go away so soon under tragic circumstances when he had the potential to cross many more milestones in life.