Actor Sushant Singh Rajput left us for heavenly abode on June 14, 2020. It has been more than a month to his untimely demise and the fans, family, close friends are still in shock and grieve. People are running a social media campaign to seek a CBI inquiry in SSR’s death case as netizens think the actor was murdered. Sushant’s elder sister Shweta Singh Kirti keeps on sharing memories with her brother and now it’s his brother-in-law, OP Singh (the Police Commissioner of Faridabad), who has written down a beautiful memoir for the star who left us.
As reported by BollywoodLife, Sushant’s brother-in-law saw the first glimpse of the actor in 1995 at his own marriage with his sister. OP Singh wrote, “Sushant was a set of brilliant traits. He had the courage to believe that something as elusive as movie stardom in a fluid industry like Hindi cinema is an achievable outcome. He had the heart to go get it. His spectacular campaign was nothing less than scaling Mt Everest bare-footed. The reward was a sense of accomplishment that para-droppers can never experience.
He was an effortless showman. The first time I had a glimpse of it was on 24 May 1995. Wearing dark shades and knotted handkerchief as neck-over, he was setting the stage on fire. He was barely ten years then, and the famous number was “tu cheez badi hai mast mast”. The atmosphere was electric. The occasion was my marriage to his sister, twelve years ahead of him. I instantly knew that he was not ordinary.
For the next seven years, he was largely his sister’s brother. Bogged in a taxing job that consumed almost all my energy and time, I did notice his natural flair to entertain in family get-togethers. He loved Urdu couplets and loved even more wah-wah that he so effortlessly harvested. A grade-conscious student and a razor-sharp mind, the first time he came over to my place was in the year 1999. A police commando was shadowing him during his train journey but thieves had better of the two as both fell asleep. He reached home bare-footed and empty-handed, grinning ear-to-ear.
He loved cars. One fine morning, he sped away with the one in the garage. I learned about it when somebody told me that he had bumped the car into a roundabout. I paced up and down on the gate itself of my colossal official residence, rehearsing a scolding for his recklessness. He came home, one more time, on foot; one more time, grinning ear-to-ear. Eyes met and the heart melted. He was too good to be chided.
Like any other of his age, all that he looked forward to in those days was an admission in some engineering college. But he was unlike others as he kept a chart in his pocket. It had the roadmap of his way to the highest office in the land!
Then came year 2002. He lost his mother who he loved so dearly. It left him stunned and inconsolable. Turning his eyes away from the body, he hesitated for a while for the last rites. A child’s mind could not think of consigning a body, that he adored as his mother only a couple of hours ago, to flames. But he quickly gathered himself. His usual butter-face turned steely as he calmly lit the pyre. For weeks, his grins disappeared. Couplets for all reasons and seasons stopped coming forth. The very purpose of his life – to make his mother feel proud of him one day – seemed to have evaporated.
The best way to overcome grief is to allow oneself to be consumed by a big dream. To snap him back to his usual self, I took him around the city and pointed hundreds of billboards to him. I took him to the cinema halls and said, “Hold tight boy, you are going to be a big movie star one day. Your posters will be all over. Your visits will be the talk of the town”. The diversionary tactics worked. The grin returned and so did twinkles in eyes and spring in feet.
Chasing a big dream is so uplifting. It gives returns from day one. People around you take you more seriously. You get reasons to get up early and walk the entire day with a purpose. It worked even better with Sushant. We loved being together. I said to anybody who cared to listen, “This boy is going to be a big movie star soon. Better take his autograph now.”
He got into the engineering college with spectacular ease. His sisters worried for him as they had heard lots of awful things about engineering colleges. He sailed through ragging famously, charming his determined tormentors with his trademark grin and wowing them with his fluid dancing moves. For fun, he gave home tuitions too. To avoid unwarranted attention from his wards, he sported loose-fitting kurta and thick-frame glasses and oiled his thick hairs profusely. To make up for the awfully-skewed gender ratio of his college, he joined a dance academy. Along with a chart to the top, he also started keeping in his pocket, what he called, his youth anthem:
“Fatela jeb sil jayega,
Jo chahega mil jayega.
Apne bhi din aayenge chhote,
Achcha-khasa hil jayega.”
It was his on-the-go self-training in dancing and acting for which he became world-famous in less than six years. Then came his ‘black swan’ moment. Out on a dinner at a family friend’s place, he chance-met the host’s well-built brother. He introduced himself as a struggler in Mumbai who would have his ‘posters all over the town’ soon. The sentence sounded so familiar to him.
Those days, one hardly heard Sushant speaking. So quiet that you could mistake him for a piece of furniture. But he was an aggressive listener, soaking in just about anything he thought to be useful. A lion-hearted risk-taker, he bolted out. His college helplessly saw its prodigy gone. In Mumbai, he pillion-rode the ‘black swan’ boy from one studio to the other.
To a stunned trainer of a self-proclaimed hyper-star, he said, ‘actors need not be born. Everyone talks, laughs, dances, sings. Actors just do it on demand’. To the well-entrenched ones deriving pervert pleasure in insulting newcomers, he said, ‘You are giving what you got when you had started. It is not going to affect my self-belief and you need not be so mean.’ To the producers, he said, ‘I won’t pretend that I am here for the love of acting. I want to be a bankable star and see delivering viewers on aesthetic and filmmakers and brands on commercial expectations as my duty.’
In 2009, when he was still at the base-camp of the expedition, we had discussed and agreed on a few things. One, any financial capital is full of wolves. You would be careful. Two, an actor has to customise his body and switch from a ‘sense of self’ to character and back quite often. A team of trusted doctors will vet your health every three months. Three, you will follow the Rajnikant model of not allowing screen life to be a twenty-four-seven affair. You will take ample me-time, away from camera and arclight.
We, in the family, see him as a warrior prince. He fought bravely. He won famously. In the process, he suffered battle injuries that turned out to be fatal. We love him, so we miss him unbearably. But as a family that believes in value-creation and problem-solving, we assure him that the pursuit of excellence will continue. We see him in the league of Bruce Lee. Living short but making it large!”
Sushant Singh Rajput was seen in Mukesh Chhabra’s Dil Bechara, released on July 24 on Disney+Hotstar. The film set the record for the biggest movie opening ever for the streamer with 9.8 score out of 10 on IMDb.