It is unbelievable that a budding star actor suddenly fades away so unceremoniously. It was suicide or anything else? Not still clear. There are umpteen questions around the sad end of Sushant Singh Rajput, which still cry to reason out what might have happened; everybody is groping amid darkness of facts and fiction and anticipation and truth, and even emotional public outburst or media trial. But Shatrudhan Sinha, a popular and well known face of yesteryear in the Bollywood has articulated what a large number of youth think about Sushant Singh- “He personified the longings of the contemporary youth.” He also cautioned against finger pointing to some individuals till the investigating agencies find the real reason of what happened.
There are people who do not believe that such a gutsy guy can ever commit the cowardice of suicide. There are others who believe that the guy could not bear the burden of his own dreams and aspirations and decided to hang his shoes perturbed by the cunningly ugly world of glamour and glitterati where everybody had been competing for wealth and recognition with the wild “animal instincts” guided by “everything is fair in war and love.” Some others feel that at one point he was overwhelmed and bogged down by a surging gust of feeling of being alone, desolate and forlorn in the unscrupulously competitive matinee world where family connections, legacies and god fathers count more than “talent and promise” of an artist. He decided “ye Dunia Agar Mil Bhi Jaye To Kya Hai “(Even if I win this world, what end does it serve)? They say that boycotting the alleged manipulators of Hindi film world should not be boycotted for an actor’s own failure to “endure” the pains of the selfish and insane world around and “hold on” in his journey for excellence. This is something which happens to all those who try to rise and shine in their chosen endeavours. Circumstantial and social constraints come in the way of all the aspirants and dreamers, what is new in that? And if somebody buckles (which some believe is the case with Sushant), none other, but Sushant himself should be blamed for this!
The 34–year old actor Sushant Singh Rajput wrote a great story about his will power, guts and indefatigable passion and resolute and firm belief in his dreams; he did it what many just dream- got money and recognition so quick but by dint of his own virtues and efforts! A large chunk of the modern youth in India likes this style of “chasing the dreams” and there lies the great hope for our country and society, which today collectively aspires for realizing the goal of the next level of happiness. Sushant was an icon of the youth of this generation, indeed!
Nevertheless, the young icons also have their own stress factors and their own perceptions of the purpose and timelines of the journey of life. Most of the times such people are very strong, firm, confident and patient enough to endure the difficulties in their way, but at times they are alone. This loneliness comes in the lives of all the dreamers who are often too pure and visionary to fit into the mores and ways of their times- there is no guarantee for anybody that your ideas and works are understood and appreciated by the people around you the way you would like it to be—it’s bugger “envy”, “jealousy” and “greed” which is true in the mundane life than high ideals and expectations! The young generation should be mentally prepared to face this ugly side of the generally beautiful world of our perceptions. Positive thinking does not mean that you remain oblivious to the ugly side of the “animal spirit” of the human world. Answering ugliness by goodness or badness is a choice, but recognizing and understanding that ugliness is as true in real life as beauty is important. Sushant committed suicide or not is a matter of investigation, but if it was a suicide, there must be some kind of “unreal expectation” from this ugly selfish world mired in cut-throat completion of power and wealth. Here only proof of your excellence is that “you draw a bigger line in front of a smaller one” and people become armless and surrender because they can do no more harm to you. Then why take the agony of “outside noise” or “deliberate indifference” or “disgrace” to your good performances. Your performance, after a point becomes so eloquent that anybody cannot stop your shine and glory from recognition. There are many examples where people swallowed indignation and humiliation, but continued their efforts and struggles silently till it became so loud that they did not require to prove anything; their work became telling! Your “masterpiece life speaks for itself”. Being hungry for endorsement may be natural, but beyond a limit it is a disease. Many say that Sushant was not given any big award or recognition for the excellent roles he played in many pictures. Who the hell is bothering about it and why? Can anybody say that he was not a great actor for his age? If this was the reason he committed suicide, if at all he did, it was a kind of wrong understanding of the world around us. There are still large numbers of people who like “Dhoni” and “Chhichhore.”
Was it less for Sushant at his age? From his dance lessons and background dance behind popular actors of Bollywood to prime time soap opera on television and further to films, he showed his excellence and unrelenting approach in pursuing his dreams. He did not need any proof. He was tall and full of art and substance in his acting.
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). He made his film debut in the buddy drama Kai Po Che! (2013), for which he received a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut. 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 star in the commercially successful films Kedarnath (2018) and Chhichhore (2019). His last film, Dil Bechara (2020), was released posthumously on Hotstar.
There are reasons to doubt something fishy in the whole episode of Sushant’s death. How can a man change so substantially from strength to weakness, diametrically opposite of the perception that he made and commanded? We may watch his video in which he has addressed IIT students about his philosophy and search in life. In the speech he did not undermine the importance of money and recognition as two important goals of life. He asserted that once you realize these goals you get accustomed to these things, but a “sense of missing” still lurks. He says that there is too much focus and obsession about “success” in modern life and he was told by everybody to make it the only goal in life. However, he concedes that the true purpose of life is to do what gives you unfathomable happiness and to listen to your conscience and inner voice regarding it rather than following the socially imposed meaning of success. He says that this requires overcoming the fears and take a call to pursue your inner call and chosen dreams. He says, take the inner calls even if people around you criticize your decisions and have doubts in you. Believe in yourself and give all your blood, sweat and tears for the passion and dream you cherish. But the typical prerequisites to drive your journey of life should not be traditional attributes like hard work, dedication, patience and perseverance alone, it should be the amount of happiness and excitement you derive in the chosen act and journey. It is more important. Living for happiness and excitement in howsoever small things you love or like is more satisfying and fulfilling than remaining tugged with the past or pursuing the misty future. “Present you” is a better proposition than the “future you”; and the happiness and excitement of the present moments mean “living” your life to the fullest. This should be the goal of life rather than obsession with the typical societal meaning of success (he meant money and recognition). Can we believe it is the same man who suddenly changed and deliberately decided to hurt himself to the extent of committing suicide? There are reasons to doubt. The character and thought processes of an individual do not change overnight. But life is a mysterious journey. We do not know when some astray impulses overpower our wisdom and character and we are pushed into decisions which tantamount to our own unbecoming. Accidents do happen. Washir Badra, an Urdu poet says about such accidents very succinctly thus: “Barsaat me bhi saadab belein sookh jati hain; hare bhare pedon ke girne ka bhala koi mausam hota hai (The green creepers dry even during rains, is there any time for lush green trees to fall?)?”
Sometimes we find reasons for Sushant’s death in the unfriendly environment and surrounding which broke him. It is not apparently the character of the man as seen through his past journey. If at all this is the reason, it is not a reason that should drive us to extremes. This is not wise. Saints like Sadhguru, therefore, advise that we should not try to control the outer world which has many factors beyond our reach; rather we should try to control our own inner self, which gives us everlasting joy, happiness and fulfillment. We cannot control how the world moves, but we can control our choices and perceptions. We are still not sure that Sushant failed in doing so. May be or may not, but there is a lesson for all the aspiring youth.
That is: Although, prevalent modes of “networking”, “favouritism,” “nepotism, “cronyism”, treachery etc. may seem to many aspirants of success and dreamers a “key” or “strategy”, or index of “intelligence” or “smartness”, or “soft skills” etc., the attributes known by so many other decent names. But they can never be substitutes of talent, hard work, patience and perseverance. In the end the man whose personality did not have the hero material and the voice was unsuitable for being an anchor on All India Radio is by far established as the most outstanding of all the so called “zubli kumars”- should we retell Amitabh Bachchan’s story again how he rose, fell and again rose like a phoenix and still did not require to prove anything? The “princelings” may have more access to certain privileges, but access does not make geniuses; no other arena than film industry stands as the best evidence to this reality, remember Irrfan Khan? The topper of the IAS 2019 examination is son of a farmer from Haryana. And an Uttarakhand girl also makes it to the list of successful IAS aspirants whose father had to come several kilometers downhill so that he can get mobile tower/signal and congratulate her daughter for the success. We are talking about the miracles of our times and not the Mahabharata period. Mr. M. S Dhoni who retired recently from international cricket is another man with infinite athletic spirit and nonchalant cool mind that enabled him to play winning innings and take crucial decisions at important times. And regarding our own Prime Minister, despite the possibility for many of us of having disagreements with him on several issues, we must concede that he is an outstanding example of patience, perseverance and endurance that enabled him to rise from “chaiwala” background to this stature. We would be waiting to know what throttled the spirit of Sushant. Irrespective of the outcome of the investigations, the event again gives a compelling reason to us to stand tall in all the situations, especially in adversity. Nobody can degrade us till we do not slide in our own eyes. And so trying and trying again, with the spirit of “never say die” is the path, rather than inflicting self harm or quitting.
Life is a beautiful journey and we should relish each fleeting moment of our present life. We should feel and experience the excitement of life. Sushant called it a more worthy goal than onerous and monotonous obsession called success. Enjoying the journey and process of life is far more worthy goal than the outcomes. Sushant died supposedly by suicide at his home in Bandra, Mumbai in June 2020, but this youth Icon’s death has left many questions in our mind about the moral and ethical principles that drive or should drive our lives. He lives on, and will live on, not only in his artistic contributions and beautiful ideas, but also in the moral and ethical questions about life and career.
Nevertheless, Sushant broke many hearts by failing himself to keep his own promise. He ended less than a role model. After all who else is responsible for our life, precious life? Bad company, betrayal or lack of judgment about friends, clarity about purpose of life- the reason of accident could be anything, but there is no justification of failure to keep our promises with our own self. A brave boy who dared and left an assured possibility of career as an engineer and chose what he loved, carved a niche, excelled and succeeded in the mundane sense, but in the end betrayed his own promise. Sometimes all of us fail to resolve the contradictions and dilemmas of our lives, but the proof of our wisdom is that we fall seven times and get up eight times. That is the beauty of life. Sushant failed or he was killed we do not know. But it is sad.