Take mental health seriously

Take mental health seriously

Usama Malick writes about mental health and the life of Sushant Singh Rajput

Sushant Singh Rajput, a young Bollywood actor, recently died after committing suicide, allegedly after falling in a deep depression. “Police found Sushant Singh Rajput’s body at his residence on Sunday afternoon,” Mumbai police spokesman Pranaya Ashok told reporters, and went on to say that the actor had taken his own life. Singh was just 34.

Singh did not develop a flair for acting in his childhood. Rather, he began dreaming of working as an actor much later in his life when he was studying engineering from Delhi Technological University, New Delhi. Somewhere in between the pursuit of this degree, he found his calling. And it was all about becoming an actor of one of the world’s top film industries: Bollywood.

He quit his graduate studies midway to pursue a career in dance and acting. Singh began his acting career with a number of soap operas on television that eventually gained the attention of filmmakers. He got his first big break in B-town in 2013 with the movie Kai Po Che — a perfect fusion of cricket, love and politics — where he proved his mettle in acting. This film won critical acclaim at the Berlin Film Festival. He was playing beside Amit Sadh and Rajkumar Rao. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! – movie based on a fictional detective –  was also a hit at the box office. His film Shudh Desi Romance — produced under the banner of Yash Raj Films—was also a very entertaining film.

He continued to get good offers and his popularity began to transcend borders when he played the role of a cricketer representing the life of a former test and ODI match skipper of Indian National cricket team namely Mahindra Singh Dhoni aka M.S Dhoni with great aplomb in the biopic M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story .It was declared a worldwide hit with a whopping box office collection of 216 crores INR (Indian rupees).

Next year, in June 2017, his movie Raabta, was initially released in India. In the beginning, it gave the producers a silver lining by garnering a tad more than 26 crores INR. But soon after the first week of its release, there was a tangible diminution in the footfalls of visitors to the cinema houses which ultimately became the reason of its tanking at the box office. The producers ended up earning just 39.5 crores INR collectively.

In the following years, he was successful in making his presence felt in the industry with the movies like Kedarnath , Chhichhore, Drive, Paani and finally his last film Dil Bechara that was due for release on May 8 but got delayed due to the lockdowns because of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the makers of his last movie, it will be released online, just like his latest movie was streamed on Netflix. As the fate would have it, he himself didn’t survive to see its release.

The Kedarnath actor had a very sensitive personality. His first girlfriend from the entertainment world was Ankita Lokhande. After six years of a long-term relationship, he parted ways as Ankita wanted to start a family and the actor was not ready. As the shooting of the film Raabta began in 2015, Sushant and Kriti Sanon (actress of this movie) gave a complete year to this movie and in the meantime they developed feelings for each other which they never made public. Once Kriti said in an interview that she was fond of Sushant. Such a statement lent credence to the rumours of them being in a relationship. But soon Sushant moved on. However, they have been close friends since then.

After breaking up with Kriti Sanon, he fell for Rhea Chakraborty—another Indian film actress. As per reports the couple was also planning to tie the knot and as a token of their love they had already moved in to Sushant’s house and quarantined themselves together. It is also being said that there were also some apprehensions among them vis-a-vis their relationship. And before committing suicide, Sushant phoned two persons, both didn’t attend his call and Chakraborty was one of them. Due to this reason, she was also summoned by Mumbai Police to get her statement recorded. For a long time, he had been battling depression by taking antidepressants, trying meditation and other ways to rid himself of this fatal disease. If Chakraborty had picked up his call, he might have still been among us today.

Almost all the Bollywood celebrities as well as the prime minister of India mourned his sudden death by taking to Twitter and other social media apps. Bollywood Nawab Saif Ali Khan’s statement with regards to the death of Sushant Singh has been exceedingly realistic as he held a mirror in front of the Bollywood fraternity by calling them hypocrites. “Nobody cares for you in the industry” he further added. He unveiled a slew of such harsh but true facts about the film industry while giving interview to Hindustan Times.

A-list Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone —who had herself been diagnosed with clinical depression—grieved the loss of Sushant’s life by urging people to realise the threat posed to our lives by mental illness. The actress was given an award for her powerful campaign to create awareness among the masses about mental health issues by the World Economic Forum. In her acceptance speech she said that “after every forty seconds, someone, somewhere in the world commits suicide.”For the time being, she is the founder of Live, Love, Laugh Foundation and a mental health ambassador in India. Given the dire importance of mental health, we all should avoid tabooing the people suffering from any mental illnesses. In fact, we should rather try to make such people sit in our company, hear their problems attentively and must not leave them alone.

The last rites of Sushant Singh Rajput were performed at the Vile Parle Crematorium on Monday and only family members were allowed to attend and perform the rites. Until his death, he had everything – respect, fame, fortune and what not. But he was in dire need empathetic company. Nobody extended a helping hand to bring him out of the crisis he was in. He will live on in the hearts of millions of his fans across the globe eternally. Adieu, young man. This cruel world didn’t deserve you.

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