Remembering Sushant Singh Rajput, the actor: His underrated performances in movies

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Last year, on June 14, the entire nation shared a moment of shock collectively as we heard of Sushant Singh Rajput passing away. Whether or not you were an admirer of Sushant Singh Rajput, the loss of young talent was mourned. It took many fans some time to come to terms with the reality of his demise. While some remembered Sushant for his intelligent mind, many others for his dance, his songs, his philanthropical work, and of course, the talented actor that he was. There is and will be no doubt of Sushant Singh Rajput being a powerhouse of talent, his dedication and hunger to do something different reflected in his choices and body of work. It hurts to wonder what newer things he would have brought to the table, if only.

On Sushant Singh Rajput’s death anniversary today, one can trace his rise from Television to films. Unlike many journeys, Sushant’s rise to stardom was organic. While talking about Sushant’s film trajectory, one can never isolate his stint in Pavitra Rishta which made him a star on the small screen overnight. While Television heroes quintessentially were meant to be the ‘angry young man with an obnoxious attitude’, Sushant as Manav was warm, empathetic, and charming. As Manav, Sushant brought about a revolution of sorts in the way leading ‘romantic’ men were portrayed on the small screen. One can remember the vulnerability and shyness, the subtle charm and maturity Sushant brought to Manav. Ok. enough said. There is no way one won’t tear up remembering his small screen stint which acted as his launchpad in showbiz.

Shortly, after being our Manav for years, Sushant Singh Rajput took a leap of faith and decided to give films a shot. Guess what? He succeeded. Who can we attribute this one in a million story of success to? There is no one way to dissect or study his gradual rise in the film industry amid all the big guns doing their thang. Sushant got his perfect launch with Kai Po Che which continues to remain one of his solid performances to date. With Abhishek Kapoor, Sushant’s synergy onscreen made us all look at our ‘Manav’ in a different light. That’s when we as the audience started to shed our image of Sushant in our minds and see him as a performer. The nuances and freshness Sushant brought as Ishaan Bhatt made filmmakers take notice of this phenomenal performer he was. But, somehow we don’t talk about it as much, do we?

His second film which really stood out for me was Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! What an awfully underrated movie this is! Directed by Dibaker Banerjee, Sushant was seen playing our homegrown detective in this film. Set in the 1940s, the amount of effort taken to stay true to the timeline and location is worth a note. The film was supposed to be turned into a franchise. The entire idea behind Dibaker’s Byomkesh Bakshy was to create an Indian detective series that could be an example for the world, but sadly, this remained one of the most underrated movies. Sushant Singh Rajput’s efforts to look and be the part is undeniable and the extent to which he went to be ‘that’ detective is noticeable. He was an actor first, a star second. His constant hustle to do differently is what made him stand out.

Despite these underrated performances, Sushant Singh Rajput found his first huge box office success with Dhoni: The Untold Story. Yes, he was undoubtedly amazing as captain cool but another one of his most subdued performances continues to be in Kedarnath. While Dhoni was this extremely charming guy, as Mansoor Khan, a local Muslim porter in Kedarnath, Sushant’s performance was stoic. It takes a hell lot of skills to manage to give that level of controlled performance onscreen. Unfortunately, subtle and subdued performances hardly get their due credit.

Kedarnath was followed by Sonchhiriya and boy, by this time Sushant had completed reinvented himself as an artist. To shed the inhibitions of a star and get into the skin of Lakhan, a dacoit in Bundelkhand, Sushant Singh Rajput was impeccable and how. The film, of course, did not get its credit due to its niche audience but let’s all accept it for the gem it was.

Another one of his charming acts was in Chichchore, by Nitesh Tiwari. From playing a college student to a father hoping for the resurrection of his bed-ridden child. The film speaks about hope and not giving up. After playing a dacoit, and a local boy, Sushant struck a balance to return onscreen as a charming lad in Chichchore.

These are some of his underrated but great performances which remind us of the actor that he was and will continue to stay alive in our hearts.

Sushant Singh Rajput was last seen in Dil Bechara.

Also Read: Sushant Singh Rajput: Abhishek Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar, Pulkit Samrat remember the late actor on his first death anniversary