Sushant Singh Rajput, unlike most Bollywood stars, landed in Bollywood backed by an applaudable television career. With the exception of superstar Shah Rukh Khan, he is probably the only successful actor who mastered the transition from television to the big screen with big sucess.
The actor who switched from television to films in 2013, had once talked about his backup plan if he failed to sign a movie for his debut. He said he’d make his ‘own films’ and in order to do so, he would also run a canteen in Mumbai’s Film City, make a documentary on it, and also star in it.
Sushant died at the age of 34 in June 2020. He was found dead at his Mumbai residence. Friday marks his 36th birth anniversary. The actor was last seen in the film Dil Bechara, which released just weeks after his death.
In a career spanning over 14 years — including his posthumous release Dil Bechara (2020) — Sushant Singh Rajput evolved from an actor-dancer to ‘SSR’, a brand in himself. However, this was no miracle or overnight success saga.
Often known to don many hats, he had cracked an engineering entrance exam and enrolled in Delhi Technology University. But his love for Bollywood and Shah Rukh Khan spurred his desire to head to the city of dreams. It began with him dancing behind Aishwarya Rai Bachchan during the 2006 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony in Melbourne as part of choreographer Shiamak Davar’s dancing troupe.
Sushant Singh Rajput Remembered – A multi-faceted star
His dancing career was crowned on the celebrity dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, closing the season as a runner-up in 2011. Apart from garnering accolades for his dancing skills, Rajput also acted in many television shows, including his breakthrough performance in Ekta Kapoor’s Pavitra Rishta. Such was the impact of his performance that even years later, his fans remembered him by the character’s name, Manav.
For many aspiring actors, a leap into the big pool of the Hindi film industry is a dream. However, there are not many who can boast of a swift upgrade.
In 2015 , Sushant Singh Rajput had opened up about shifting from TV to Bollywood and said: “When I quit television, people told me, you are doing a filmmaking course but what if you don’t get a film? I said, ‘I will make my own films’. I had decided that if that happens, I will start a canteen in Film City and I will buy a camera and make my own short film about the canteen and feature in it too. And I know I would be as excited about that as I am right now.”
Right from Rajput’s directorial feature debut Kai Po Che (2013) and M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) — a biopic of former Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni — to his off-beat role in Sonchiriya (2019), he was always heading towards creating a legacy of his own, minus the glamorous and masala entertainers. Many also remember him variously as Kirti Sanon’s sweetheart in Raabta (2017), Byomkesh Bakshi in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015), and Sarfaraz Yousuf in PK (2014).