Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput dies aged 34

Narendra Modi and Bollywood stars have paid tribute to the ‘Chhichhore’ actor

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Actor Sushant Singh Rajput has died at the age of 34, Mumbai police have confirmed.

His body was found at his home on Sunday afternoon, and an official investigation into the cause of death is underway.

Rajput was known for his roles in Kai Po Che!M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and Sacred Ties. Most recently, he starred in Drive and Chhichhore.

This news has left me shocked and speechless

A star of both TV and film, Rajput's first breakout role was as Preet Juneja in drama series Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil, from 2008 to 2010. From there, he went on to star in movies such as Kai Po Che! and Shuddh Desi Romance in 2013, and the following year, he appeared in comedy drama PK with Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Anushka Sharma.

One of his most renowned film roles was his work in biopic M S Dhoni: The Untold Story. At the time of the film's release, Rajput told The National that the time he spent with Dhoni in preparation for the role taught him to "live in the moment and have faith in my beliefs". He said the film, about the rise of the cricketer, made him realise "that nothing is impossible".

His career was showing no sign of slowing down in 2020. Dil Bechara is scheduled for release this year, and IMDB states Chanda Mama Door Ke is currently being filmed. He was also due to star in Rifleman and Takadum, two films in pre-production.

His final post on Instagram was on Wednesday, June 3. He wrote: "Blurred past evaporating from teardrops / Unending dreams carving an arc of smile
And a fleeting life / negotiating between the two".

The accompanying picture was one of himself and his mother, who died in 2002.

In January 2016, he spoke to the Hindustan Times about his mother's death, saying of his life's "weak moments".

“There [have been] quite a few of them. The first one was when I lost my mother [in 2002]. It was a terrible feeling. It still feels terrible,” Rajput said. “That was my first encounter with [a family member’s] death. When things like this happen, you realise the impermanency of everything. It changed something in me. I am not the same person I was before she passed away.”

An ambulance carrying the body of Indian Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput is seen leaving after he took his own life, near his residence in Mumbai on June 14, 2020.
 A young Bollywood heartthrob lauded for his portrayal of cricket star M.S. Dhoni on the silver screen has taken his own life, Mumbai police said on June 14, the latest in a string of deaths to rock India's entertainment industry. "Police found Sushant Singh Rajput's body at his residence on June 14 afternoon," Mumbai police spokesman Pranay Ashok told AFP, confirming that the 34-year-old had taken his own life. Rajput, renowned for his numerous hits on the big and small screens, reportedly battled depression. / AFP / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE
An ambulance carrying the body of Indian Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput from his Mumbai home. AFP

Tributes to Sushant Singh Rajput

High-profile names, including Indian politicians and Bollywood stars, have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the actor.

Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, wrote that he was “shocked” by Rajput’s death. “A bright young actor gone too soon,” Modi said in a Twitter tribute. “He excelled on TV and in films. His rise in the world of entertainment inspired many and he leaves behind several memorable performances.”

The actor Akshay Kumar reflected on watching him in Chhichhore, saying: "Honestly, this news has left me shocked and speechless ... I remember watching #SushantSinghRajput in Chhichhore and telling my friend Sajid, its producer, how much I'd enjoyed the film and wish I'd been a part of it. Such a talented actor ... may God give strength to his family."

Ajay Devgn sent his “deepest condolences” to Rajput’s family in a tweet.

Actress Aindrita Ray wrote that he was “gone too soon”.

Vivek Oberoi said he was at a “loss of words” after hearing that Rajput had died at home.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui called Rajput not only a “beautiful actor” but also “a good friend”.

Actress Swara Bhasker noted that the young actor has “such a long, long way to go”.

It has been reported that Rajput suffered from depression, and many of the tweets paying tribute to him speak of the importance of seeking help for mental illness.

Someone Exactly Like You author Esha Pandey wrote: "Do listen to people who are struggling and most importantly don't judge. Listen. And if you are depressed seek people out. Talk. Don't bottle it up".

India’s Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, wrote: “This unfortunate death of a young [and] successful individual brings issues related to mental health, particularly in these times, to the fore.”