Tuesday marks two years to the day actor Sushant Singh Rajput died. The actor was 34 when he was found dead in his apartment on June 14, 2020. The actor, who worked in just under a dozen films in his brief career, was known as the few names who made it big in the Hindi film industry with no inside connections. In an interview a few years before his death, Sushant had actually spoken about how he ‘survived’ in Bollywood as the proverbial outsider. Also read: Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister Shweta Singh Kirti pens note on his second death anniversary: ‘‘You’ve become immortal’

Sushant was born and brought up in Patna and later moved to Delhi for studies. He reached Bollywood after a successful career in TV. Amid debates about nepotism in the film industry, Sushant was often cited as an example of a ‘self-made star’, one who was successful despite not being aligned to any supposed power centre or camp.

In an interaction with Times of India in 2017, Sushant was asked if he deliberately stayed away from the ‘so-called camps in Bollywood’. The actor laughed and responded, “There are camps, I didn’t know? Nobody told me. Clearly, I am not important enough.”

When asked if it was tough to do his thing without even being aware of these camps, Sushant said, “There are many number of correct things to do and they change. But there is one correct thing that stays correct all the time: If you happen to do your job properly and professionally, you take less time to add more value, you will be hired no matter you are an ally or not. This is what it is and this is why I have survived, not that I was intending to survive. But I have because I do my job very well. When I do it, I am nowhere else–presence over productivity.”

Sushant was found dead in 2020 at his Bandra residence. His death was ruled suicide, leading to an outpouring of grief from fans and Bollywood. However, it later snowballed into a controversy about nepotism, drug use, embezzlement, and even abetment to suicide. The CBI was brought to investigate the actor’s death from various angles. The Enforcement Directorate and Narcotics Control Bureau also did separate investigations in connection with his death.

Sushant was an engineering student in Delhi, when he dropped out to pursue a career in entertainment. After appearing as a background dancer in Dhoom 2, he began his career as an actor with the TV show Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil in 2008. He found mainstream success and fame with Pavitra Rishta. In 2012, he made his film debut with Kai Po Che. Over the years, he appeared in films like PK, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, and Raabta. Also read: Sara Ali Khan makes a promise to Sushant Singh Rajput on his 2nd death anniversary, gives him credit for her many firsts

His biggest success was the biopic of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Titled MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, the 2016 film earned 216 crore at the box office. His subsequent films Kedarnath ( 102 crore) and Chhichhore ( 215 crore) were also successes. His final film–Dil Bechara–released a month after his death on the streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar.

If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist. Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918

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