Movie stars are our imaginary friends. Ones we have, but never see. So, when one of them decides to cut short to his journey on this planet, it’s a personal loss. Our hearts cry out, asking for reasons, watching for news and reactions. It becomes a personal drama we enact in our own timespace.
Sushant Singh Rajput was that friend. That Bihari cousin that made it to the silver screen. We saw him in Kai Po Che and he became my son’s favourite. I liked his little protruding canine that marked a stunning smile. The muscular moulds under his shirts, that would even get the likes of Madhuri Dixit blushing, as he mimed a song to her in some award show. We liked his Shuddh Desi Romance, the liberal boy and the liberal girl in the Pink City, dancing off Jaipur rooftops in colourful choreography.
A class topper, a chiselled face, a Patna-born, Delhi-educated, B-town ‘becomer’. Everyone said their piece about his death today (14 June, as I write this). From a trembling Anupam Kher, to female co-stars whispering their messages to ‘Sush’ on their social media accounts, to the self-important SRK whose obtuse “He loved me so much” comment had me tittering through my tears. Because, oh yes, I cried. I hugged a pillow and cried, like his death happened to me. Like the boy I saw grow up from the rooftops and flying kites of Kai Po Che, to impersonating India’s larger-than-screen figure of M.S. Dhoni was someone I knew.

I don’t care to reason why his death has me so tearful and tattered. I scrolled through a number of tributes to make sure of the ordeal was real. I checked his last post on his Instagram account. I followed Tweets and news headlines, up till a Mumbai photographer put up an advice against people sharing a picture of his corpse. Then I saw the damned picture and my heart broke further. As if ‘death by hanging’ wasn’t grim enough, this immoral photo taken of Sushant, as someone found him shortly after the alleged suicide, will be etched on my mind for some time. It reminds me seeing photos of Irish bride Michaela Harte’s dead body. There is no point to even comment on the depraved nature of those capable of this disrespect and degeneracy.

“Blurred past evaporating from teardrops
Unending dreams carving an arc of smile
And a fleeting life,
Negotiating between the two…”
(Sushant Singh Rajput)

I weep for Sushant as another fallen soldier. Someone who lost the battle to depression. Someone who no one saw beyond the swashbuckling smile and sculpted physique. I can only fathom what a death like his means to me: the end of strength, the end of sense, the end of purpose, the end of ‘the point’. It becomes the end of the journey. We cannot judge, for we do not know. ‘Gone too soon’ is as meaningless as shouting out: ‘why?!’ I’d rather echo Randeep Hooda: “…hope there is peace”.