The shocking suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput on Sunday cut short an interesting acting career that included mainstream and offbeat roles.
Rajput was 34. He was born in Patna on January 21, 1986. He enrolled at Delhi College of Engineering and, according to an interview he gave Times of India in 2013, was the national Olympiad winner in Physics. Instead, he chose to pursue acting, training with Barry John’s theatre group in Delhi and picking up dancing skills from Shiamak Davar’s company in Mumbai.
In his most well-known roles, Rajput was cast as an earnest and sincere young man at odds with the rules of life, but approaching them with a fearless yet cautious attitude. He first made his mark in television before conquering the big screen. Here are some of his best performances.
Manav in Pavitra Rishta (2009-2011)
Rajput’s boy-next-door charms coupled with his character Manav’s sincerity and seriousness as a husband made him an instant success on Hindi television. Having established his acting credentials with this show, Rajput set out to prove his dancing talents with the reality shows Zara Nachke Dikha 2 and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4.
Ishaan in Kai Po Che! (2013)
Rajput made his Hindi film debut as Ishaan, the cricket-obsessed and hot-tempered one in a trio of friends, in Abhishek Kapoor’s adaptation of the Chetan Bhagat novel The 3 Mistakes Of My Life. Rajput held his own in a film with an ensemble cast that included Rajkummar Rao.
Raghu Ram in Shuddh Desi Romance (2013)
Rajput’s next release featured him in a traditional romantic role. Raghu (Rajput), unsure of matters of the heart, finds himself in the midst of a complicated love triangle.
Byomkesh Bakshy in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015)
In Dibakar Banerjee’s stylised take on Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s classic Bengali sleuth, Rajput played a young Bakshy as brash and fearless but also green behind the ears.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)
Rajput brought earnestness and a nervous intensity to his portrayal of one of Indian cricket’s biggest success stories. In Neeraj Pandey’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Rajput’s near-accurate depiction of Dhoni’s batting style, especially the helicopter shot, found praise among cricket fans.
Lakhna in Sonchiriya (2019)
In a film packed with heavy-duty actors, Rajput stood his ground as Lakhna, the conscience-keeper of a band of Chambal bandits. Abhishek Chaubey’s study of compromised morality featured Lakhna as an unlikely hero.
Anni in Chhichhore (2019)
In Nitesh Tiwari’s box-office hit, Rajput plays Anni, one among a colourful bunch of engineering students who are called losers by their peers. Anni and his friends eventually overcome their complexes and reunite to give life lessons to Anni’s young son, who has attempted suicide.