Sushant Singh Rajput Wiki
Sushant Singh Rajput (21 January 1986 – 14 June 2020) was an Indian actor who is best known for his work in Hindi cinema. Rajput started his career with television serials. His debut show was Star Plus's romantic drama Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil (2008), followed by a starring role in Zee TV's soap opera Pavitra Rishta (2009–2011).
Rajput made his film debut in the buddy drama Kai Po Che! in 2013. He then starred in the romantic comedy Shuddh Desi Romance (2013) and as the titular detective in the action thriller Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015). His highest-grossing releases came with a supporting role in the satire PK (2014), followed by the titular role in the sports biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016). For his performance in the latter, he received his first nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Rajput went on to act in the commercially successful films Kedarnath (2018) and Chhichhore (2019). His last film, Dil Bechara (2020), was released posthumously on Hotstar.
NITI Aayog, the policy think-tank of the Indian government, signed him to promote the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP). Apart from acting and running a technological startup, Rajput was actively involved in helping young students. He was also the co-founder of an AI and technology company and a charity based company for social work.Rajput died by suicide at his home in Bandra, Mumbai in June 2020, at age 34.
Early life and education
Sushant Singh Rajput was born in Patna in the state of Bihar to Krishna Kumar Singh and Usha Singh. He was the youngest of five siblings and had the nickname of Gulshan. One of his four sisters Mitu Singh would become a state-level cricket player. He attended the St. Karen's High School in Patna. His family moved to Delhi following his mother's death in 2002 where Rajput completed his schooling in Kulachi Hansraj Model School.Rajput was reportedly an avid reader who was deeply interested in astrophysics and won the National Olympiad in Physics. He secured an admission in the Delhi College of Engineering (later renamed to Delhi Technological University) to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering. According to Rajput, he did not have any interest in engineering but his family gave him no option which left him dissatisfied. He instead wanted to become an astronaut and later an air force pilot but was also interested in Bollywood, being a fan of Shah Rukh Khan.
2006–2011: Early career and television
During his course at the Delhi College of Engineering, Rajput enrolled himself in Shiamak Davar's dance classes. Soon afterwards, he also began attending acting classes under the theatre director Barry John. Rajput later stated that he found the experience to be liberating and wanted to continue doing it forever. He notably featured as a background dancer in the Dhoom Again song of Dhoom 2 and in Ashwariya Rai's performance at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. In 2006, he dropped out of his engineering course during his fourth year to begin a career in arts and performance. He moved to Mumbai, took up odd jobs and small roles while working in the theatre industry. In Mumbai, Rajput joined Nadira Babbar's theatre group called the Ekjute in which he remained for two and a half years.Rajput was spotted by a casting team of Balaji Telefilms while he was working at the Prithvi Theatre. He was subsequently called for an audition and cast as a second lead in the television series Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil in 2008. He had secured the role of Preet Singh Juneja, the step brother of the lead named Harshad Chopda and entered the show in its seventh episode. The character was killed early in the show, but due to popularity among viewers was brought back in the series finale as a spirit looking on as his family celebrated coming out of difficult times. The performance had made an impression on the producer Ekta Kapoor who vouched for him to be cast as the lead in another series Pavitra Rishta, reportedly against the wishes of the hosting channel, Zee TV.In Pavitra Rishta, Rajput was cast as Manav Deshmukh who was an "ideal son and husband" and co-starred along with Ankita Lokhande. The role was reportedly a breakthrough for him and for which he won various television awards, including his first award for best actor in the Indian Television Academy Awards 2010. Notably, he won three major television awards in the categories of best male actor and most popular actor. In 2010, he joined the dance reality show Zara Nachke Dikha in its second season as part of the Mast Kalandar Boys team. On the Mother's Day special episode, the team dedicated a performance to Rajput's mother who had died. Later in the same year, he also took part in the fourth season of another dance competition reality show called Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa and was paired alongside the choreographer Shampa Sonthalia; they emerged as the runners up of the season.Rajput continued to act in Pavitra Rishta from its first airing on 2009 till his exit in 2011, having played the part of the protagonist of the series for two and a half years at the time of his exit. He had stated that he intended to move to the United States to study filmmaking and had already gained experience behind the scenes in the film Raaz 2, where he was an assistant director. Rajput made a later reappearance in the final episode of Pavitra Rishta in 2014 after gaining critical acclaim in Bollywood.
2011–2015: Film debut and Yash Raj Films
In 2011, Rajput was spotted by Mukesh Chhabra, the casting director of Kai Po Che!, who invited him for an audition. He was in the process of enrolling for a course in filmmaking at Stanford University but decided to accept the offer. He was subsequently cast in the role of Ishaan Bhatt, a district level cricketer who is a victim of politics in the selection fraternity and one of one of the three leads, along with Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh. The film was directed by Abhishek Kapoor and based on the Chetan Bhagat novel called The 3 Mistakes of My Life, which dealt with the life of three friends affected by the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and the 2002 Gujarat riots was released in 2013 and became a commercial and critical success. Rajput notably received a nomination for the Filmfare Awards in the category of best debut actor for his performance in the film.Following his first casting and before the release of his debut film Kai Po Che!, Rajput was signed in by Raj Kumar Hirani for a role in the Aamir Khan star-ed film PK. In the film, he was cast as the boyfriend to Anushka Sharma's character of a journalist. He also entered into a deal with Yash Raj Films beginning with the starring role in the film Shuddh Desi Romance. The film was a romantic comedy, where Rajput played the character of Raghu Ram Sitaram, a tour guide who fell in love with a woman on the way to his own marriage, it featured Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor. Shuddh Desi Romance was released in 2013 and became a sleeper hit. Following the release of his first two films, Rajput was described by the veteran director Shekhar Kapur as "one of the most inspiring young actors to emerge out of India." The film PK was later released in 2014 and became the highest grossing Indian film.In June 2013, Yash Raj Films and Dibakar Banerjee Productions announced the joint production of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! with Sushant Singh Rajput in the starring role. Rajput began working on the new project following the release of his second film Shuddh Desi Romance. The film was a mystery action-thriller featuring Byomkesh Bakshi, a fictional detective originally created by the Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Dibakar Banerjee, the director of the film and the IP rights holder of Byomkesh Bakshi stories had signed him in to play the part of the protagonist. Before the release, Rajput made a special appearance in the police crime drama CID in the character of Byomkesh Bakshy. The film was released on 3 April 2015, and failed to perform well in the box office but still received a positive critical reception. In September 2013, Rajput was also cast by Shekhar Kapur for his upcoming project Paani, a film set in the future which showcased a world where wars where being fought over water. The film was initially reported to be starred by Hrithik Roshan and then Vivek Oberoi but finally went to Rajput after Yash Raj Films entered in its co-production and opted for his inclusion. He had reportedly been attending workshops with Kapur for 10 months before the project was suspended in 2015 when the production house Yash Raj Films backed out of it. In the aftermath, Rajput ended his contract with Yash Raj Films in the same year.
2015–2018: Dhoni biopic, Raabta and Kedarnath
In 2011, a biopic on the life of the Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was conceived by Dhoni's manager, Arun Pandey. The project was initially faced with various difficulties including objections from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Dhoni's demand for a large royalty. On 25 September 2014, Sushant Singh Rajput was announced as the actor who would play the role of Dhoni in the biopic which was now titled M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and directed by Neeraj Pandey. The film was centered around the life of the cricketer beginning with his childhood in the city of Ranchi and finally leading up to the 2011 Cricket World Cup victory for India under his captaincy. Incidentally, Rajput wasn't adept at cricket and had to train regularly in the game for 13 months as well as capture the playing style of Dhoni for his portrayal in the film, he was coached by Kiran More who reportedly trained him in the manner of a professional sportsperson rather than as an actor. The film was produced by Arun Pandey with Fox Star Studios and released on 2 October 2016. It became the 5th highest grossing Bollywood film of that year. Rajput received critical acclaim for his performance and nominations to a number of prestigious awards, including the Filmfare Awards, the International Indian Film Academy Awards and the winning nomination at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. He also made a cameo appearance in the comedy film Welcome to New York, which was released on 23 February 2018 and where the lead characters met Rajput but confused him for Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
During the release of M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Rajput in an interview had stated that he was signed up to do five more films; namely Raabta, Takadum, Chanda Mama Door Ke, another biopic of an athlete and a film produced by Dharma Productions featuring Jacqueline Fernandez. Earlier in 2014, reports had emerged that Rajput was being signed in alongside Alia Bhatt for the starring roles in the largest budget production of the producer–directors Homi Adajania and Dinesh Vijan. In an announcement in February 2015, the film titled Raabta, produced by the Vijan owned Maddock Films and co-directed by Adajania and Vijan was publicised where Rajput and Bhatt were in the lead role. Bhatt however decided to opt out of the project in the same year, and the role of the female lead eventually went to Kriti Sanon.The second biopic that Rajput was to feature in was tentatively titled as Murli: The Unsing Hero, where he would play the role of the disabled jawan turned paralympics gold medalist Murlikant Petkar. In June 2016, Rajput along with Parineeti Chopra and Irrfan Khan were also announced as the lead of the Adajania directed film called Takadum with shooting scheduled to begin in October but the project was being put on hold due to issues related to script re-adaptation. Meanwhile, the announcement of Rajput's role in Chanda Mama Door Ke had come in September 2016. In the film which was to be directed by Sanjay Puran Singh, Rajput would have starred alongside Nawazuddin Siddiqui and R. Madhavan and was cast in the role of an astronaut, for which he was even sent to NASA on a training module in 2017.Raabta was released on 9 June 2017, which subsequently received mixed reviews from critics and ended up a flop in the box office, unable to recover its large production cost. It was a time transcending love story, where Sushant Singh Rajput played the role of two characters who were reincarnations of each other. While the filming was primarily carried out in the city of Budapest, Hungary, in the Indian state of Punjab and in the island country of Mauritius. Earlier in March 2017, Rajput had also began shooting alongside Jacqueline Fernandez for Karan Johar's Dharma Productions film, by then titled as Drive. The film was directed by Tarun Mansukhani and was a prequel to the 2014 film Bang Bang!, that had featured Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif. Part of the shooting occurred in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel which was promoted by the Government of Israel as a part of its tourism and diplomatic initiative. The release was initially scheduled for 2 March 2018, but in a February announcement, the date was moved to 7 September 2018. The release was however postponed for a second time with no fixed release date due to creative disagreements between the director Mansukhani and the producer Karan Johar.In the meantime in March 2017, Rajput was signed in by the director Abhishek Kapoor and the producer Ekta Kapoor for their film called Kerdarnath. It was a love story set in the backdrop of the 2013 floods in Uttarakhand, where Rajput co-starred with Sara Ali Khan. He played the character of Mansoor, a Muslim porter who was also a devotee of Lord Shiva and whose livelihood revolved around the Shiv temple at Kedarnath. The shooting of the film began in September 2017. During the shooting, Abhishek Kapoor who had previously been the director of Rajput's debut film Kai Po Che!, stated that Rajput was in much better form for Kedarnath and expected it to become an even bigger success. The film however soon became embroidered in controversy as the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that it was promoting Jihad by showing an interfaith couple and called for the imposition of a ban on it. In the end, the film was banned from screening in 7 out of 13 districts in Uttarakhand and released on 7 December 2018. Despite the ban, it became a commercial success, although it didn't completely meet the projected success in the box office. Following the release, it was the second highest grossing among Rajput's starring films after the Dhoni biopic.
2018–2020: Entrepreneurial debut and later career
In May 2018, Rajput co-founded Innsaei Ventures, a technological startup. In September 2019, he started another tech company called Vividrage Rhealityx Pvt Ltd; he served as one of the three directors of the company, along with actress Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik Chakraborty. In January 2020, Rajput started a social work company Front India for World Foundation where he again served as one of the three directors of the company.In 2019, he appeared in Abhishek Chaubey's Sonchiriya opposite Bhumi Pednekar. He appeared in Nitesh Tiwari's Chhichhore opposite Shraddha Kapoor that released on 6 September 2019. Later that year, he starred in Drive alongside Jacqueline Fernandez, which was released on Netflix.In 2020, he starred in Mukesh Chhabra's remake of The Fault in Our Stars titled Dil Bechara. The film was slated to be released in May of that year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It released on Hotstar and became the most viewed film for that platform, with 95 million viewers within 24 hours.In 2016, it was announced that Rajput would appear in two films: Chanda Mama Door Ke, a science-fiction space film, along with R. Madhavan; and Takadum, a musical drama, opposite Irrfan Khan and Parineeti Chopra, supposed to be directed by Homi Adajania. He later withdrew from the former, citing date conflicts. He was also set to essay 12 real-life characters, including political strategist Chanakya, poet Rabindranath Tagore and former Indian president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in a biopic series on Stories of India.
Rajput was in a publicised relationship with his Pavitra Rishta co-star Ankita Lokhande for six years. They broke up in 2016.Rajput loved astronomy and astrophysics, and purchased a Meade LX-600 16" telescope, placing it in a window of his house to observe the rings of Saturn. In preparation for his role as an astronaut in Chanda Mama Door Ke, he was given the opportunity to train at NASA. He intended to go back and complete the certificate of instructor training, aspiring to be chosen for the 2024 Artemis program. In 2017, he funded the trip for two students to the US Space Camp Center, under his education programme called Sushant4Education.On 16 July 2020, more than a month after Rajput's death, Rhea Chakraborty identified herself on social media as his girlfriend. On 26 August, the Narcotics Control Bureau, India's national drug law enforcement agency, registered a first information report (FIR) against Chakraborty and four others after the Enforcement Directorate, India's national economic law enforcement intelligence agency, found that drugs had been supplied to Chakraborty and Rajput. Specifically, the FIR invoked sections of India's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act dealing with cannabis.