Actor Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide at his Mumbai home on Sunday. He was 34. He is survived by his father and four sisters. Sushant had appeared in films like Kai Po Che!, Shhudh Desi Romance, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! and M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story.
His last releases were Sonchiriya, Chhichhore and Drive (on Netflix). The actor had started his career on television, appearing on the shows Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil and Pavitra Rishta. We spoke to some of his friends and collaborators in the aftermath of his demise.
I met him last on March 4, a few days before the lockdown. I’ve been unable to reconcile the times we’ve spent together with his urge to end his life. He was dealing with depression for sure, but at the same time had a vigorous desire to create and live. Our conversations would last for hours.
He’d bring his lens of astrophysics to my cognitive biology. I’d mention the neurobiology of behavior and he’d talk about infrastructure we wanted to lay down together. He wanted to be in zero gravity and learn how to fly…
Sushant was one of the first actors to commit to my upcoming script, Emergence. He wanted to be in my web show, Saheli and play an astronaut in Khusboo’s (Ranka) film.
Two weeks ago, we discussed a horror script I had written during the lockdown. He wanted to come down to Goa and shoot it with me. He also wanted to do a parallel non-fiction version of our upcoming sci-fi comedy series, with him being the host.
The question of whether life is transient or permanent has kept us awake for thousands of years. At its simplest, there’s continuity in the form of ideas, concepts, memories, and inquiries that a person has poured into the zeitgeist. We achieve meaning by making our lives about things that are much bigger than us. I think Sushant did that.
Screenwriter Siddarth Singh of Siddharth-Garima duo (Raabta, 2017)
It is so shocking and difficult to believe. Sushant was a fabulous guy. Everything seemed to be going well with him. We’d seen him closely and there were no signs of him being depressed as such. I guess we’ll never know what went on behind his smile.
He was a good actor, always willing to experiment. He really loved the script of Raabta. Although the film did not work, he had chased it for a year and was excited about the project. We will always cherish him in our memories.
Alka Amin, co-actor (Kedarnath, 2018)
The Sushant I remember was happy and full of life. He was a forward-looking person. He’d talk happily about his future plans for his life and career. During Kedarnath, we were shooting high up in the mountains.
It was a remote location and you couldn’t move around. Between shoots, Sushant would keep us entertained by playing Antakshari. He enjoyed reciting sher aur shayari (Urdu poetry). He would sit around with his kafila (group) and sing. He really loved to sing.
Mohammad Samad, co-actor (Chhichhore)
I am deeply disheartened and sad. I pray for him and his family. He was a fantastic actor, very calm on set. He treated me well and spent a lot of time with me.
There is a small scene in Chhichhore which I couldn’t get right and he helped me figure it out. I had also spent a day with him at his home for a party. He was sweet enough to invite me and I had a great time.