Sushant and I met years ago. May of 2013, to be precise. If you are aware of my writing and know that I wear my heart on my sleeve, please read this. In 2013, my life went through a traumatic phase of multiple setbacks and lows. But this is not about all that. It is to reflect on mental health in the midst of this illusionary industry of which a bright young man has now gone. When I decided to sell my house in 2013, my broker after months of trying, called me one day, and said, ‘sir offer aaya, lekin aapki asking price se thoda kam’. I was going to cut the phone, but he interjected to say, ‘Sir ek baar mil lo, woh jo abhi Kai Po Che! (2013) picture aayi hai na, uska hero hai Sushant Singh Rajput’. I immediately said yes to the offer. It made me feel relevant to showbiz, that’s how far out I was made to feel. Silly thought perhaps, but not half as ridiculous as everything I was going through. A dead end career low, crippling mental health, dwindling appearance, mother in law at her last stage, etc. The deal was set. my wife (Mansi) and I met Sushant and his then girlfriend along with our brokers in a Malad office. Though he was already famous before KPC, this one film changed his life, and my two releases from a few years prior dusted off faster than powder on a mirror. In that first meeting, I knew everything about him and he didn’t know me at all. How could he, no one did. I would hardly look him straight because of my own busted self esteem, and Mansi barely spoke a word. I remember him asking me what I do, and I hesitantly said, ‘Uh, well, umm, actually I’m also an actor’. His warm ‘aah ok’ seemed sympathetic. Perhaps only an actor can empathise with the plight of an actor’s anonymity. I was no one, no where close, even when it always felt like the success was ‘just around the corner’. All I could loosely examine over the course of the next two days was his bustling confidence, glowing smile, that gifted thick mane mopping over his aviators and picture perfect physique. Not to say that I didn’t have all those attributes just a few years prior. But I had seized to be that Prashantt due to extended circumstances of the times. I confess, I’ve been at the brink and brunt of mental health collapse, and jealousy has plagued me more than I’d wish upon an enemy. In fact, only until recently, when I came upon this quote that if you are going to compare yourself to someone else, make sure you compare it in totality, or else don’t. As soon as I signed the agreement, I was free to leave. He on the other hand, had a dozen officers awaiting selfies and a mini photo blitz. I stopped to see all that with a fading twinkle in my eyes, ‘mera din kab aayega’. Never to think ‘uska aisa din aayega’. What he did yesterday, has fortunately never crossed my mind. But I lament in accepting that so often, I, too, wished that it would all somehow end. Life can do that sometimes, this industry often so. Yesterday’s numbing tragedy has sealed the fact that crores, a fancy car, fame, followers, industry acceptance, and all that glitterati doesn’t add up to absolute contentment, if at all. Lets hang up the fallacy. I cannot come to terms with him having lost life’s juice when it seemed to me that his cup must be overflowing.
Sushant, your untimely passing will inspire many to timely check in on their close ones. I myself have been called by a few since yesterday, I thank you for that… Thoda aur jee leta, roothe khwaabon ko manaa leta. Chal, see you around the corner. And this time i hope the corner is far off.
Prashantt Guptha is an actor, who has worked in movies such as Issaq (2013), Neerja (2016) and The Tashkent Files (2019)