(B Someshwar Rao)
THAT CAPTIVATING SMILE is for ever gone. Everyone has to go someday, but no one thought suicide will be the end for actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Though I never write obituaries of people I did not meet, by downloading stuff from Google, and stick only to personal reminiscences, Sushant, remembered as the hero of a TV serial Pavitr Riste and for playing cricketer M. S. Dhoni in a popular biopic, is somehow seen by everyone as a personal acquaintance – the quintessential boy next door. That could be because he did not come from one of the famous Bollywood families or a political dynasty, that opened the film industry’s doors to many. From a middle class family of a Bihar town, Patna, he came to the City of Dreams hoping to be a film star, which he did become the hard way.
But this is not about suicide, not a Sushant I never met.
As I had written before, suicide is a thought that crosses everyone’s mind at least once in a lifetime. There are still people left on the planet because almost everyone refrains from it, thinking it is not the solution for their problems, knowing the emotional, economic and other scars it would leave or believing in the Hindu theory that it is a great sin. Or, as in most cases, they lack the courage to take that final and irreversible step; it takes great courage to do it. A lot of thinking and unending desperation alone can lead to suicide; rarely is a sudden impulsive act like some murders. If there is a switch by pressing which humans could end their lives without any economic, emotional or social repurcussions, most people would feel at least one like pressing it. Film lyricist Shahir Ludhiyanvi asked in a song in Pyasa: ‘Ye dunia agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai?’ (what if you get the world you sought). Some may feel ‘Ye dunia agar mit bhi jaye to kya hai?’ (what if the whole world is wiped out?). While some feel the world and life are beautiful, many feel it is an unjust and ugly world, made worse by human greed.
Sushant’s suicide was the least expected. Sudden, shocking, sad and surprising were the expressions used by most celebrities who condoled his death. Many were puzzled to ask: Why? It could not be for want of success or fame. He achieved much more than many who came to the tinsel town hoping to be heroes and ended up as extras. His heroine of Pavitr (sacred) Riste (relationship) Ankita Lokhande – who had great chemistry with him though their relationship (they were a couple once) did not remain so sacred as they broke up – recalls that he was ambitious but did not care much for fame or money. What then could have driven him to suicide? She recalled how he left the serial Pavitr Rishte when it was topping the charts and he himself was regarded the top TV star.
Another film star, Deepika Padukone of Bangalore, feels it was due to depression. One would have thought the daughter of a world badminton champion who had riches and fame as a star, had no reason to be depressed. But she did go through that and had the courage to admit it. Sushant was very disturbed about the death of his mother, to whom he referred in his last tweet, but that did not appear to be the cause of his suicide.
Could it be the impending pandemic of loneliness predicted by Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of USA or lack of love and people reaching out to him, as suggested by another film personality, Karan Johar? Sonu Sood, a Nagpur engineering graduate turned film ‘villain’ doing commendable work in helping migrant labour hit by the current Covid-19 pandemic, tweeted that he spoke to Sushant just the night before the end.
A single sparrow like Sonu does not make the spring. The present pandemic has made too many people extremely lonely – in a world where face to face human contact and the warmth of relationship are being devoured by electronic social media. This is the main lesson one has to learn from the present disaster. Humans need socialization, love, relationships and people to talk to, Their absence, especially during the lockdown days or even otherwise, may cause a crisis.
Will we overcome it?