It would be a big understatement to say that Sushant Singh Rajput had come a long way. Born in Patna, Bihar, Sushant, an introvert and shy kid, showed enough courage to lean into his fears by putting on some of the most memorable characters of recent times, and wrote one of Bollywood's most enigmatic stories.
In his eight-year-long career, Sushant might not have received many awards for his performances, but he still saw himself as the grateful and hopeful aspiring artiste. With no godfather in the industry, he simply proved that with hard work and determination, dreams could come true. And, any obstacle could be overcome.
His death by suicide has shaken several young actors who left their families, and successful TV careers behind to struggle and make a name in Bollywood.
In a recent interview with us, actress Mrunal Thakur, who made a successful transition from television to the big screen with an international production Love Sonia, said that Sushant's journey motivated her to take this giant leap of faith.
View this post on Instagram
Your rise in the world of Bollywood inspired me and many millions. Sushant, you were our leading light and there is now a huge void left behind you. Weren’t we supposed to be an army together to encourage people from small towns to chase their dreams? I hope you've found peace, you moon child! I plead to the media to let his family and friends grieve in peace.
"He (Sushant) stood by his decisions and made sure that he opened the path for other TV actors who were extremely capable. We just needed that one person to start that revolution. And, I think those differences and demarcation between TV actors and film stars are finally rubbing out. As you see, more and more TV actors have started debuting in films. So, I'm really glad," Mrunal told us.
Similarly, Sushant was an inspiration for former TV star Radhika Madan, who has now established herself as one of the most sought-after actors in Bollywood.
In an Instagram post, Radhika, who made an impressive film debut with Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, recalled how people would tell her to stick to television as making it in Bollywood was not an easy job. But Radhika would always give them Sushant's example. She mentioned that Sushant made all of it look "possible" and "achievable" with his dedication to his craft.
"I remember when I was transitioning from television to movies people always used to say don't do it, it's tough out there, your show was a hit already so why do you want to start from scratch again? And I remember always giving them Sushant's example. He made it look possible and achievable. He inspired many actors like me," Radhika wrote.
Another TV star who turned to Bollywood, Mohit Raina said he took the plunge from the small screen with Sushant as inspiration.
"You inspired millions, I know you tried hard to inspire yourself. Hope you find peace now my friend," Mohit said.
I took the Plunge from TV taking you as my inspiration . You inspired millions,I know you tried hard to inspire yourself . hope you find peace now my friend SSR 💔 ॐ शांति pic.twitter.com/HwCRzrIFCi— mohit raina (@mohituraina) June 14, 2020
Amol Parashar, in a series of tweets, said that Sushant "fought the hard fight" on the behalf of many young aspiring actors, and unknowingly gave them hope on days they had run out of it.
Amol also pointed out that the uncertain path of this profession has led many young actors, who are still struggling to make it big, to contemplate quitting. He then urged them to keep on moving and continue Sushant's dream along with realising their importance of self-worth.
Young actors are shaken, including me. In a manner and degree that is a little unexpected and unexplained. I can feel it in my bones and flesh, I have seen it in the eyes of the few people I have seen since yesterday, I have heard it in the voices of friends I have spoken to.— Amol (@amolparashar) June 15, 2020
"We know what you are trying to tell us here. To not leave each other alone, to not be hard on ourselves. And to grow aware that in the end your self-worth is not about the size of your car, or the brand of your watch, or what other people think about your life and successes," Amol tweeted.