I am not one of those big Bollywood buffs, I rarely watch movies in the theatre, zero stalking of any actor and generally least bothered about whom are they dating and whom were they seen with. I have grown out of the Bollywood craze I had and it’s reasons for the same are a mixture of both – kind of movies we make and identification of better ways to spend my time.
I have never idolized anybody – neither the Jobs’, Musks’ or Ambanis’ of the world nor the Tendulkars’ or the Khans’ & Kapoors’. And neither you Sushant. But there were two people I looked up to, loved to read and know more about (once in a while) and admired to say the least and they were Virat Kohli and you Sushant Singh Rajput. I wasn’t a celeb fanatic thankfully, but a craver for stories. And you both had those stories that left me satisfied. You both started from nowhere but reached the podium, and we hear your stories with awe and fascination. I remember posting about Kohli and people mocking me – how tides have turned now.
I knew about Manav from Pavitra Rishta but I never watched that show. I had grown out of the Ekta Kapoor soap drama so I will not say that I knew you would make it big. It was with Kai Po Che I believed that you’re here to stay. That you would not be added to the list of failed transitions from TV to Bollywood. So when I read a whatsapp status update that you’re gone, I thought it was one of those another rumours/ fake news that spread. A quick google search just gave me 2-3 pop ups, and my belief that it was indeed a rumour was kind of validated. So I went in for an afternoon nap only to wake up to have ‘those’ images being circulated which confirmed otherwise. I was devastated and I have no clue why. This hasn’t ever happened to me before and especially for someone I barely knew apart from the 70 mm screen. I was in shock that you committed suicide (yes, I am going to take the liberty to call it commit – because it is a crime to take your life, you have taken away a son, a brother, a star, an idol, a friend away – so yes, it is criminal) – I have never felt this way to any other deaths, natural or unnatural. I have no idea why this felt different, Felt like someone amongst us has gone. Last time, I felt this was in 2013 when I went through a rough patch in my life.
I have seen most of your movies, be it Kai Po Che, Shuddh Desi Romance, Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, M S Dhoni (first day first show), Chhichhore. And your acting prowess was unparalleled. But you were more than just an actor.
I have spent most of the last week learning more about you – your old key notes, interviews, what your co stars and directors had to say about you and my respect just increased multiple times. You’ll engross yourself so much into a character that people had to forget it was Sushant and remember the character. Everyone spoke about your humility, intelligence and most of all curiosity and that came across in your interviews, interactions, addresses and equally in your social media profile. You werem’t self obsessed. Your instagram handle was not filled with your photos. You left engineering to chase a different dream and you never looked back. I draw a parallel that I completed by Chartered Accountancy and then moved trajectories. In your own words, earlier you chased fame and money – once you had it, you realised the happiness was shortlived. So I know, that if you did not get those big banner movies, you would have chased another dream (these are your own words) and been as awesome as you had been so far. It did not matter to you. We know you could leave everything behind and move on, once again to another destination but unfortunately you moved away form all of us.
Yes, there is so much said about nepotism, loss of films, etc in the last few days. I don’t know how much of that is true and honestly, I don’t even care. We don’t know what you were going through that you believed a permanent end to your life was a safer bet than finding an alternative solution to your temporary problem (I am again taking the liberty to generalise this). So much is being said about mental health and depression. One of the most common solutions mentioned is to speak about it. And you did. You were meeting a therapist/ doctor and close people around you knew about it is my guess (again based on the articles and social media posts). But asking a depressed person to reach out is like asking a drowning person shouting for help. You voice is normally subdued, it is only when someone notices is when something can be done to save you. Been through some low phases myself, speaking and seeking help from someone else is the last thing in your mind. Ofcourse, there are hints like gradual withdrawal from wanting to be around people, mood swings, reduction in efficiency etc. (again from personal experience). This is not a tell all, and every individual goes through different phases and reasons are different – it could be personal or professional or emotional or financial.
People comparing it to farmer suicides or migrants walking back home despite all struggles – those discussions are different and deserve equal attention, that doesn’t mean what happened to SSR doesn’t deserve to be spoken about.
In the floods of social media remembrances/ condolences, some that stood our were that of Kriti Sanon, Shraddha Kapoor, Mahesh Shetty, Tony Kakkar, Bhumi Pednekar – they all spoke about you and who Sushant was beyond the actor – maddening love you had for life and life beyond earth, astro, quantum, etc. For them you mattered more than the stories surrounding your demise. Your home is a dream for most of us today. You were the torch bearer of our generation who are normally quoted as without direction or sense of purpose and commitment phobic.
But one thread that stood out for me was that of Amol Parashar. And that is when I realised, you failed us all Sushant, believe it or not, you did. While your journey started at Bihar, you moved to Delhi for engineering and then Mumbai to fulfill your acting dreams. Last week, I received several calls from friends and family – to check upon me. For the uninitiated, I have been living away from home since last 13 years to chase my dreams (which keep changing just like his). With the on going quarantine and your act, we all have started questioning our chase – is the rat race towards our dream worth it? Is it worth staying away from our family and friends? Should we go back to our hometown? We know the struggles that we go through everyday. The standard definition of success for most of us would be recognition and/ or money – and I would like to believe you had it all, but still… Today, I am scared of any calls that I miss or don’t go through.
And after all this, if we cannot handle success – probably it’s time to stop dreaming and head back home, probably…just probably. And you have forced us all to go back and question our life today and dreams that we have been chasing all these years, you have forced us to go back to the drawing board. You were like most of us, chasing a dream – and we believe you had achieved it all from where and how we look at it and that made us belief that even we can achieve something in life. Maybe you had miles to go, and I will fail to agree with anyone who says you did not know how to get there. You got this far from no where.
Just like most of us, you wanted to be part of the cool gang and their parties (your own quotes). We have all done that in our school, college and office days. We have tried to find a way to be part of the “gang” if we have to call it. And you were no different, so we don’t judge you for that. But I think all you wanted was validation from the who’s who of Bollywood for the work that you were doing. You were ready to walk away from scripts you did not believe in.
We all yearn to be seen, respected and appreciated for our work especially by our super bosses. And that is all you expected, and that is something would have given you a personal high. You deserved them with your performances in Dhoni and Chhichhore.
Like many of us you had small dreams – own house, car, etc. You had your own bucket list (forcing me to make my own now and even accomplish them since life is so unpredictable) and your child like innocence and happiness & smile which showcased how much it meant to you when you achieved those (that visit to CERN – I have seen them a dozen times). In the last few days, almost 3 million more people have followed you on instagram and 3.7 million have signed that boycott nepotism petition, if we actually want to give a tribute to SSR, it would be to help him accomplish that bucket list.
Somewhere, I still believe you will come back, you’ll come out of character and return as SSR. But we all know the only reality of life is death which is irreversible. Hope to see you in some part of the galaxy and we shall share a bottle of champagne to the new discoveries that you would have made and we shall be in awe as usual.
My heart says no, when I question the belief that you did movies you did not personally believe in.
Not fair Sushant Singh Rajput, not fair.