Sidharth Shukla started his acting career with the TV show Babul Ka Aangann Chootey Na (2008), where he played a benevolent rich man who falls in love with a girl from a middle class family. He marries her with a promise to share her responsibilities towards her dependent family members.
In 2012, Sidharth entered the long-running show Balika Vadhu as District Collector Shivraj Shekhar. He was the soft-spoken, educated an progressive man who married a woman separated from her first husband. Anandi’s first husband Jagya was shown as the guy who abandoned her for another woman and Shiv was painted in a good light in contrast. Shiv was also worshipped by the villagers for his dedication to their development.
The love his character received on screen also rubbed off on Sidharth in real life. He gathered immense love for this role from the viewers. Not only did his fan following increase, it also earned him widespread recognition, including several awards and nominations. Even his exit sequence was shot as an act of sacrifice - his character died fighting with terrorists. Soon he became one of the most popular actors on TV.
All this recognition soon got him movie offers. Sidharth made his Bollywood debut in the romantic comedy Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania playing the character of Angad Bedi, an NRI doctor and fiance of the female protagonist, played by Alia Bhatt. This role seemed to be an extension of his image built from Balika Vadhu – he was the guy you would want to take home to your parents. He was Mr Right, while Humpty Sharma (Varun Dhawan) was Mr Wrong. Humpty and his lackeys go about looking for flaws in him to make himself look like a better groom, but they fail to find anything wrong about Angad.
He was probably getting too tired of his good guy image that several TV shows had painted, and chose the perfect platform to come out of that mold. He became a contestant on India’s biggest reality show Bigg Boss Season 13, and viewers got to see the real Sidharth Shukla.
He became one of the key contestants of the season soon after entering. He was seen involved in multiple fights, and was a topic of discussion for a long time. He managed to piss off a bunch of co-contestants, including Rashami Desai, Asim Riaz and Rohan Mehra.
He got into regular fights with Rashami, his former co-star from the TV show Dil Se Dil Tak. They reportedly had ugly fights on sets of that show as well. Before working together on Dil Se Dil Tak, Sidharth and Rashami were rumoured to have dated each other. However, things turned ugly soon after repeated rumours of fights resulted in Sidharth’s replacement in the show.
Actor Kunal Verma had then told the Times of India, “He (Siddharth) is an unprofessional maniac and a psycho. I think he needs psychiatric treatment again. I heard he had gone to rehab once and I think he needs to visit it again.” In 2014, Siddharth was also booked for drunk driving, where he ended up paying a fine of Rs 2000. Then again in 2018, the actor was arrested for rash driving.
On Bigg Boss 13, he had offended Mahira Sharma too by saying that her shoes are better looking than her face. His offensive statements, not just against the women contestants, often caused outrage inside and outside the Bigg Boss house. His anger issues got so out of hand that even show host Salman Khan had to reprimand him on multiple occasions.
The actor made no efforts to maintain his good guy image and played the game the way it demands. And it sure paid off, as he was announced the winner of season 13. He also went back into the house as a Toofani senior in season 14 of Bigg Boss, and continues to be one of the most popular Bigg Boss stars.
Despite everything, his fan following has never wavered. Sidharth is still one of the most talked about television stars. His every move makes headlines, he is immensely popular on social media and fans are always speculating about his love life. Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore Sidharth Shukla.