It has been one year since talented Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput passed away. Sushant successfully transitioned from a career on television to becoming a film star. Unlike many of his peers, who despite being watched by millions on TV could never find a solid footing in Bollywood, Sushant managed to carve a niche for himself in the film industry.
The actor had a glorious filmography, with roles ranging from intense to glamorous, which was only possible because he took risks in his career. From doing films based on taboo topics like Shuddh Desi Romance to taking a big risk early in his career with MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Sushant did it all. On his first death anniversary, here’s a look at how he never shied away from taking big risks in his career.
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 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. While it turned out to be a perfect debut for the Sushant, it was a risk for the actor and the makers as well, as the cast was relatively unknown.
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. While it was not a massive success, it was appreciated for taking on the risky and almost taboo subject of live-in relationships and pre-marital sex.
In 2014, which was still early in his career, Sushant went on a different path and played a side character in Raj Kumar Hirani’s PK. The film, starring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma talked about caring for humanity beyond borders and religions and questioned superstition. Despite his screen-time being short, the actor managed to deliver one of his most memorable performances as Pakistani poet Sarfaraz Yousuf.
In 2015, Sushant led Dibakar Banerjee’s film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy where he appeared as the famous sleuth from Bengal. While the film did not do well in the box-office, it gained a separate fan base. Sushant was also praised for the performance and critics gave it rave-reviews.
Sushant’s biggest hit as a lead and his most memorable role was in 2016 when 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. While MS Dhoni’s turnout was phenomenal, the film was probably the biggest risk of his career that paid off.
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.
In 2018, Sushant starred in the hit film Kedarnath, directed by Abhishek Kapoor. The film 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. The Titanic-esque treatment of the film, the inter-religious love story, along with the muscular soft-boy charm of Sushant gained him a lot of fan-following. Both Sushant and Sara underwent a lot of physical challenges while shooting the film. A lot of it was shot underwater, and Sushant also had to carry Sara and other actors on his back.
Sushant started 2019 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. Sonchiriya, too, has since then gained a cult status among fans.
While Sushant was mostly a part of critically acclaimed films, his 2019 film Drive was panned by critics and audiences alike. Directed by Tarun Mansukhani, this heist film skipped theatrical release and streamed on Netflix instead. However, it was one of the top 10 films watched on Netflix in India that year.
However, the actor redeemed himself with Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore, which became one of the highest points in the actor’s career. It showed Sushant as Aniruddh, who takes a trip down the memory lane with his friends, after a tragic incident. 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 mellow 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. The film, which also starred Shraddha Kapoor, Prateik Babbar and Tahir Raj Bhasin, was undoubtedly a feather in Sushant’s hat.
After his tragic and untimely death in 2020, his last film Dil Bechara was released. The film, directed by Mukesh Chhabra is the Hindi remake of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The film’s production was challenging for Sushant and his co-star Sanjana Sanghi, and went through many delays. However, after the release, Dil Bechara became the most watched film on Disney+ Hotstar.
Sushant Singh Rajput passed away on June 14, 2020. He was 34.
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