The Real Act: Sushanth Singh Rajput’s Death And Performing Through Depression

This is a personal blog from a member of our social media team’ – Maha Sami

“Tum itna jo muskura rahein ho.. kya ghum hai jisko chupa rahe ho”
­­­–Jagjit Singh

The death of Sushanth Singh Rajput came as a huge shock to the film industry & Bollywood fans. It’s been a month since this heartbreaking news flooded our social media newsfeed but I’m sure that many of us are still as devastated as the first day we read about his untimely death. Two words are being heard repeatedly due to this: nepotism and depression. While nepotism does exist in the film industry in an obvious way, I’m here to talk about the latter.

Often times depression can be mistaken as being just plain “sad.” Even for me, acknowledging the term depression took me a long time. To be more accurate, I only understood that term after the greatest achievement of my life—that is, becoming a mother. Doesn’t make sense, does it? How can someone suffer from depression after being blessed with a child? I have the biggest joy of my life on one side, and this unrecognizable deep sadness on the other.

Similarly, how does a famous actor who has achieved a lot in his career and earned recognition for all his various roles be suffering from depression? Sushanth Singh Rajput was a very talented actor. If depression had a face, it probably wouldn’t have been his ever-smiling one. Yet, he suffered. We don’t know entirely what other factors contributed to that condition, but the truth is his death has left many of his fans confused. “Why him? He had everything going for him! He is good looking… makes no sense.”

Just like a mother suffering from postpartum depression, an actor (or anyone for that matter) can also suffer from that mental pain despite having it all. Because the reality is, depression doesn’t mean just being plain “sad.” It’s not there to gain sympathy, it isn’t an excuse to get attention. But it does attack you out of nowhere—the lingering emptiness, the sudden identity crisis. It doesn’t see how perfectly beautiful your child is or how successful you are at your workplace or how many awards you have won. And for family, friends, even fans, it is hard to see the reality behind the glamour and material achievements. I’ve been guilty of that, too. The least we can do is recognize this pain in our loved ones and in ourselves.

We need to open up conversations that could probably end up saving someone’s life. I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk to a loved one or anyone you’re comfortable with about this. It surely helped me see light at the end of the dark tunnel. But we need to be that person for others, too. Listen to their language, ask people directly how they are feeling, and point people to resources if you have any inkling they need support.

Rest in peace, Sushanth Singh Rajput. Thank you for gifting the film industry with your brilliant performances in Kai Po Che!, MS Dhoni, Chhichhore and many others. Can’t wait to watch his last movie, Dil Bechara. Hope you all got a glimpse of his trailer.