Sushant Singh Rajput
Sushant Singh Rajput at the promotions of M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story
|Born||21 January 1986|
|Alma mater||Delhi Technological University|
|Years active||2008 – Present|
Sushant Singh Rajput (born January 21, 1986) is an Indian film actor, dancer, television personality, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. He started his career with television serials, including an award-winning performance in the soap opera Pavitra Rishta (2009–2011). He then entered Bollywood, playing one of the three male leads in the drama Kai Po Che! (2013), for which he received critical acclaim as well as three Best Male Debut awards. His other notable roles since then have included the male lead of the romantic comedy Shuddh Desi Romance (2014) and the titular detective in the thriller Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015). In 2016, Rajput appeared in sports film M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, in which he essayed the role of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The film was a commercial success and earned him critical acclaim.
NITI Aayog, the policy think-tank of the Indian government, signed him recently to promote the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP). Apart from acting and running innsaei ventures, Rajput is actively involved in various programmes like Sushant4Education, as a part of efforts to help young students.
Rajput was born in Patna, Bihar, India. His ancestral village is Maldhiha in Bihar’s Purnea district. One of his sisters, Ritu Singh, is a state-level cricketer. His mother’s death in 2002 left Rajput devastated and it was in the same year that the family moved from Patna to Delhi.
Rajput attended St. Karens High School in Patna and Kulachi Hansraj Model School in New Delhi. He secured admission in the Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) class in Delhi Technological University which was earlier known as Delhi College of Engineering. He was also a National Olympiad Winner in Physics. In all, he cleared as many as eleven engineering entrance exams, including that for the ISM Dhanbad. However, he completed only three years of the four-year course before dropping out to pursue an acting career.
While a student at Delhi Technological University, Rajput enrolled in Shiamak Davar‘s dance classes. It was only later that the idea of making a career in acting came to him, as some of his fellow students in the dance classes happened to be interested in acting and were attending Barry John‘s drama classes. Influenced by them, Rajput also joined the acting classes. Here, he found his passion for acting: “I found the experience liberating. I realised that I could communicate with the audience. I knew I wanted to do this forever.”
Within a few months of joining the dance class, Rajput was selected to be a member of Davar’s standard dance troupe. In 2005, he was chosen to be one of the group of background dancers at the 51st Filmfare Awards. In 2006, he was part of the troupe that went to Australia to perform in the cultural program at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. By this time, he was tired of engineering, where he was failing papers and had no real interest in the subject. He was happy and successful in the dance and drama classes, and decided to do what he was good at. He dropped out of engineering and devoted himself full-time to dancing and acting.
To make a break into films, Rajput moved to Mumbai and joined Nadira Babbar‘s Ekjute theatre group, which he remained a part of for two and a half years. During this time, he was featured in a TV advertisement for Nestle Munch, which became famous throughout India.
In 2008, the casting team of Balaji Telefilms saw Rajput’s personality and acting talent while he was on stage for one of Ekjute’s plays. They invited him to audition for them and Rajput landed the role of Preet Juneja in Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil. His character was killed quite early in the show, but he was such a popular character with the viewers that he was brought back for the series finale in the form of a spirit, looking on as his family celebrates after going through difficult times.
In June 2009, Rajput began starring in Pavitra Rishta as Manav Deshmukh, a serious and mature character working as a mechanic to help support his family. His work in this serial received wide appreciation, and Rajput received three major television awards for best male actor and most popular actor. This performance was his breakthrough and gave him a stepping stone into films.
In May 2010, Rajput joined the dance reality show Zara Nachke Dikha 2. He had already proven his acting talents by winning awards for his performance in Pavitra Rishta, and he wanted to establish that he had good dancing skills and could be trained further. In Zara Nachke Dikha, Rajput was a part of the Mast Kalandar Boys Team. He did the shooting for both Pavitra Rishta and Zara Nachke Dikha 2 at the same time. On the Mother’s Day special episode, his team dedicated a performance to his mother, who had died in 2002.
In December 2010, Rajput participated in another dance-based reality show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4, where he was paired with choreographer Shampa Sonthalia. In October 2011, Rajput decided to quit Pavitra Rishta to pursue a film-making course abroad.
Film career (2013–Present)
Rajput auditioned for Abhishek Kapoor‘s Kai Po Che! and was selected to play one of the three leads, along with Rajkumar Rao and Amit Sadh. Based on the Chetan Bhagat novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life, the film proved to be a critical and commercial success. Rajput’s portrayal of Ishaan Bhatt, an ex-district level cricketer who is a victim of politics in the cricketing selection fraternity, was praised. Critic Rajeev Masand wrote: “…it’s Sushant Singh Rajput, making his film debut as Ishaan, who it’s hard to take your eyes off. The actor has an indescribable presence and it’s clear from his confidence and distinct likeability that a star is born.”
Rajput’s second movie was Shuddh Desi Romance, alongside Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor. Directed by Maneesh Sharma and produced by Yash Raj Films, the film deals with the subject of live-in relationships and was completely filmed in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Taran Adarsh from Bollywood Hungama praised Rajput’s performance, saying: “After leaving a tremendous impression in his first Hindi outing, Sushant Singh Rajput… brings a lot of freshness with his unpretentious and spontaneous act.” Sukanya Verma from Rediff stated: “After a dynamic debut in Kai Po Che!, Rajput channelises his abundant energy to convey the childlike ineptitude of a man who wears his heart on a sleeve.” Sushant’s next role was in Rajkumar Hirani‘s 2014 film PK. Although his role was relatively minor, the film gave him the opportunity to work with Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma. Upon its release, the film proved to be the one of the highest-grossing Indian films.
In 2015, Rajput’s sole release was Dibakar Banerjee‘s mystery thriller Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015), in which he portrayed detective Byomkesh Bakshi, created by Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. The film was produced jointly by Yash Raj Films and Banerjee’s own film production company Dibakar Banerjee Productions. Set in Kolkata in the 1940s, the film was released on April 03, 2015 and met with mixed to positive reviews from critics.
In 2016, Rajput appeared in Neeraj Pandey‘s biographical sports film M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, in lead role of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The film was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of 2016. Rajput’s performance was widely praised by the critics and his portrayal of the cricketer was applauded even before the film’s release. For his performance in the film, Rajput got his first nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.
In 2018, Rajput will appear in Tarun Mansukhani‘s action comedy Drive opposite Jacqueline Fernandez. He was to appear in a science-fiction space film, Chanda Mama Door Ke, along with R. Madhavan, but the film was shelved temporarily due to budget issues. Rajput will appear in Abhishek Kapoor‘s Kedarnath, opposite newcomer Sara Ali Khan. He will also appear in Abhishek Chaubey‘s Sonchiriya opposite Bhumi Pednekar. He has also signed on to star in Mukesh Chhabra‘s remake of The Fault in Our Stars. He is also set to essay 12 real-life characters, including political strategist Chanakya, poet Rabindranath Tagore and former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam, in a biopic series on Stories of India. He has also committed to star in Nitesh Tiwari‘s Chhichhore opposite Shraddha Kapoor.