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Happy Birthday Sushant Singh Rajput: From Kai Po Che to Chhichhore, How Taking Risks Paid off for Him

Image: Instagram/ Sushant Singh Rajput

Image: Instagram/ Sushant Singh Rajput

Sushant Singh Rajput has gone through several highs and lows in his Bollywood career. But despite that, the actor has managed to carve a niche for himself as one of the most sought after actors in the industry.

Antara Kashyap
  • Last Updated: January 21, 2020, 8:11 AM IST
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Sushant Singh Rajput is one of the very few examples of how an actor can transition smoothly from stardom in television to stardom on the silver screen. Unlike many of his peers, who despite being watched by millions on TV could never find a solid footing in Bollywood, Sushant has managed to carve a niche for himself in the film industry. In fact, he is one of the most sought after actors right now.

On Sushant's 34th birthday, let us look at his career trajectory to see how despite highs and lows, he has still managed to stay relevant at a time where there is so much competition. It is also important to note that unlike many male leads in Bollywood, Sushant does not come from a film background.

The actor started his career with the 2013 film Kai Po Che. He had previously acted as Manav Deshmukh in the hit TV soap Pavitra Rishta with ex-girlfriend Ankita Lokhande. Directed by Abhishek Kapoor, Kai Po Che was based on the Chetan Bhagat's novel The Three Mistakes of My Life. The actor shared the screen space with two very talented actors, Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh and stood out in his own right.

His debut got him a lot of praise. In the same year, the actor was a part of the Yash Raj Film directed by Maneesh Sharma called Shuddh Desi Romance starring Vaani Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra. Though there was a lot of buzz around it, it failed to do well commercially. However, it was based on the risky subject of live-in relationships.

He was then part of a hit film in 2014. Although he was not the lead, he starred as Sarfraz Yousuf in Rajkumar Hirani's PK. The film talked about caring for humanity beyond borders and religions and questioned superstition. It became a blockbuster and reportedly made Rs 854 crores in its lifetime.

In 2015, Sushant led Dibakar Banerjee's film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! where he appeared as the famous sleuth from Bengal. However, the film did not gain commercial success. Sushant's biggest hit as a lead and his most memorable role was in 2016 where he played the former Indian cricket captain, MS Dhoni, in Neeraj Pandey's film MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. The actor worked really hard for this role and it paid off. The film became a superhit and launched the actor to stardom.

However, the film following MS Dhoni: The Untold Story did not do well as expected. He starred along with Kriti Sanon in Raabta, a film about reincarnation directed by Dinesh Vijan. Sushant gave up his chocolate-boy image for Raabta and amped up his personality by looking glamorous instead. But the film still could not do well.

This was followed by his 2018 hit Kedarnath, directed by Abhishek Kapoor, which also marked the debut of Sara Ali Khan. The film was a love story set in the backdrop of the disastrous Kedarnath floods which claimed the lives of many. In the film, he played Mansoor Khan, a Muslim porter who falls in love with Mukku, the daughter of a Hindu priest. The Titanic-esque treatment of the film, along with the muscular soft-boy charm of Sushant gained him a lot of fan-following. The film was also risky, as a lot of the scenes were shot underwater, which exploited the range of the actors.

2019 was a bunch of hits and misses for Sushant. He started his year with Abhishek Chaubey's Sonchiriya, a film revolving around a group of dacoits from Chambal in the 1970s. The film boasted of an impressive cast of Manoj Bajpayee, Bhumi Pednekar, Ashutosh Rana, Ranvir Shorey among others. The film became critically acclaimed but did not make a lot of money at the box-office.

He was then a part of a "masala" film titled Drive opposite Jacqueline Fernandez. Directed by Tarun Mansukhani, this heist film skipped theatrical release and streamed on Netflix instead. Though it was one of the top 10 films watched on Netflix in India this year, it did not get good reviews at all.

Finally, the actor's last release- Nitesh Tiwari's Chhichhore, became one of the highest points in the actor's career. It showed Rajput as a middle-aged man Ani, who takes a trip down the memory lane after a tragic incident involving a friend. The actor had to play a middle-aged man and a college student simultaneously. This film took everyone back to their college days and filled the audience's heart with nostalgia. Chhichhore had a very cold opening at the box office but just by positive word of mouth, the film went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of 2019.

Sushant is next gearing up for the release of Dil Bechara, opposite Sanjana Sanghi. The film, directed by Mukesh Chhabra is the Hindi remake of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. After delays in the schedule. The film will be released on May 8, 2020.

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