I am unable to bring myself to the fact that the young Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide last week, on 14 June 2020, even after being at the peak of his glorious career. A young, cheerful boy with a cherubic smile is now no more amongst us. What could have gone wrong, we do not know, but his death has sent shock waves among his family, friends, and followers.
He was a boy from a humble background, like any of us. He belonged to Bihar and pursued his degree from Delhi. He worked hard his way to enter into the Indian Film Industry and become a part of it like many others who dream of something big for themselves while struggling to stay afoot in an unforgiving industry like this. He started as a TV actor and gradually became the part of big screen and then there was no looking back and he gave hit movies year after year.
But what went wrong with such a stellar actor who was doing great in his career? Why was he left with no work since the last year? Did he offend someone big? Was he not doing good? We do not know yet.
I would not say that others have a cake walk while making it big in any profession but the Indian Film Industry has been witnessing quite a number of struggles since many decades now. Sushant Singh Rajput was not the only one who fell prey to the Bollywood bullying. It has been happening all the time with those who have no godfather in the film industry. The kingpins of the bullying are a few top notch houses of bollywood who have the power to reject or select anyone for their projects. But I am not here to talk about these bullies or give any importance to them, since the justice will prevail, sooner or later.
I would rather ask myself and from those who are reading this, how far ‘people of prominence’ can go to abuse this power they have? While I was talking to one of my acquaintances about the demise of Sushant, one weird thing that I came across was to hear that Sushant was beginning to throw too much of tantrums while on a film set. I heard the person patiently but I couldn’t get his traumatic death out of my mind even after hearing such heartless nonsense about him.
I wondered to myself, if it is the sole right of the big stars, the privileged ones, the ones who have a legacy of being the sons of so-and-so, to throw tantrums and enjoy their stardom while imposing it shamelessly on the commoners as well as the lesser mortals around them? Wasn’t Sushant ‘eligible’ for throwing these tantrums which were actually not inherited by him but earned in fact?
There were other gossips that started pouring in about the poor boy, like he was into substance abuse, he went through many failed relationships, he had fewer friends etc.etc. My only question to these rumors (unless proven otherwise) is, would such things have been discussed about a celebrity from a privileged background unlike Sushant who was just a commoner?
How easy it becomes for us to blame someone for his/her mental state. Blame the person for his lifestyle, his failed relationships, or for what he has done to himself. We need to put an end to such misinformed, biased and speculative behavior of ours.
Whenever I think of Sushant, I just imagine only one thing—what he might be thinking in his last hours before he committed suicide? What might have forced him to take such a step, on that very in day, in that very hour? Why was he so alone even after having friends and family around him? Was that not enough for him?
All the answers have gone with him now and we are here only to speculate. But introspection and speculation should be there in our hearts for someone who left so early and at the peak of his career.
The rumours are now getting build up against some bigwigs who denied him every opportunity to grow further (since he was already doing so good in his career). The big houses of Bollywood who can make or break a person’s career, came under the radar after an FIR was filed against them for bullying, cornering and harassing a new comer who was constantly rising and growing in his career, sidelining the big start even! Not one, not two, not three but all in all 7 film contracts were snatched from him by pulling a few cords here and there, which these big starts and big houses are very good at.
I would call it a systematically cornering of a deserving and worthy person from his job and leading him to do nothing but commit suicide. I ask my readers, what would you have done in such a situation where people are silently cornering you just because you are, time and again, proving to be better than them. The inferiority complexes of certain actors, who were once the bigwigs of Hindi Film Industry, became the reason of him being targeted. He was gradually becoming to be the preferred actor, for audience as well as the directors, as against the older ones who ruled the big screen for decades.
It became difficult to leave the high throne of popularity and fame by these bigwigs and so, instead of accommodating a newcomer, appreciating his talent, they though it better to make him disappear altogether.
One might argue that it was very stupid of him to commit suicide instead of fighting the odds. I agree. But we get to know the person better when we are in his position, isn’t it? And all people are not alike. Everyone has different ways of dealing with their pain, their issues. Some are lucky to have someone so close to them to talk to and reach out for advice, a valuable one. But not all are so lucky. Sushant was the unlucky one, may be.
Now when he is gone, many of us still are unable to digest this fact that he is no more among us. I feel it my responsibility towards a fellow human I have know, just like many of you, with his stellar performance and intelligence, to make amends to his early and tragic demise by keeping in mind that we would look around us, reach out and feel for others who might be going through the similar situation.
For the starters, we should pledge not to bully anyone even lightheartedly. No matter how nonchalant the pun is, it might cause a great deal of trauma and pain to the other person(s). We may be mentally strong, confident and communicative in our attitude and behavior, but being compassionate is the biggest asset that we must hold.
It takes just a moment to think back and ask yourself, before we bad-mouth about the other, “should I say that? How will he/she feel about it?”. Taking a moment and reflecting back on our actions, our words, before we say something to another person, is not very difficult thing to do.
I deeply feel for Sushant Singh Rajput, the all rounder, who excelled in whatever he did in his lifetime. I have seen the amount of love he received from his Alma mater, Delhi Technological University, Delhi (formerly Delhi College of Engineering) when he visited the campus last year. The pride in his eyes and that of the students was worth watching for. The gleeful smile that he had all this while was worth anything for the fellow students then.
Had they ever wondered that it was the last and final time they would be meeting their role model! It would take a lot of time to have this feeling of emptiness sink in our hearts for a young star of merely 34 years to have left us that too so tragically. He was the pride of not only the ones who were his fellow batch mates, but also for the ones who came after. It is a rare thing, one of its kind, to have someone from amongst us, to reach to the heights of glory and success. Sushant Singh Rajput was a true inspiration for many such aspirants who are now left with a lurking question before them, “If this can happen to him, what would than happen to us?”
Many strugglers who have been trying to make it big in the Indian Film Industry, are now being called back by their parents. His death has brought out the venom of these big houses of bollywood, in open. His death must be taken as a lesson by everyone, what shines is not always gold.
(I have been teaching in DTU university since last 2 years now and it feels all the more difficult for me to imagine the fact that one who roamed in these very corridors once, is now gone for ever. It doesn’t matter whether how many of us have met him, but he was one of us.)
RIP Sushant Singh Rajput. You will be remembered, always.