MUMBAI • A young Bollywood heartthrob lauded for his portrayal of cricket star M.S. Dhoni on the silver screen has died, Mumbai police said yesterday.
“Police found Sushant Singh Rajput’s body at his residence on Sunday afternoon,” said police spokesman Pranaya Ashok, confirming that the 34-year-old had taken his own life.
Rajput, renowned for his numerous hits on the big and small screens, had reportedly battled depression. He died just a few days after the shock death of his former manager Disha Salian.
“It pains us to share that Sushant Singh Rajput is no longer with us,” Rajput’s management team said in a statement. “We request his fans to keep him in their thoughts and celebrate his life and his work like they have done so far.”
“This is just so shocking. A wonderful talent. RIP Sushant,” actor Abhishek Bachchan tweeted.
“I will miss him so much,” Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan said in a Twitter post, alongside a selfie with Rajput. “His energy, enthusiasm and his full happy smile.”
Fellow star Akshay Kumar wrote on Twitter that he was “shocked and speechless… may God give strength to his family”.
Bollywood is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of two luminaries, Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor, in April.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed shock over the death of Rajput. “A bright young actor gone too soon… His rise in the world of entertainment inspired many and he leaves behind several memorable performances,” Mr Modi said on Twitter.
Earlier this month, 42-year-old Wajid Khan, one of the top composers of Bollywood dance songs, died after contracting the coronavirus, according to media reports.
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours)
Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Tinkle Friend (for primary school-aged children): 1800-274-4788
Celebrated filmmaker Basu Chatterjee also died earlier this month, at the age of 90.
Rajput, born in Patna in the eastern state of Bihar, quit his studies in engineering to pursue a career in acting and dance.
He got his big break in Bollywood in 2013 with Kai Po Che!, a film about cricket, love and politics that won acclaim at the Berlin Film Festival. His most recent films were the comedy-drama Chhichhore and action movie Drive, both released last year.
In 2016, Rajput told Agence France-Presse of the emotional roller-coaster he went through filming the biopic of Indian cricket hero Dhoni. The movie, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, included retelling the death of the retired skipper’s former girlfriend. He said: “It was very difficult because, after we did the preparation, in my head I was him and everything that was happening was actually affecting me.”
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS