Filmmaker Abhishek Kapoor, who worked with actor Sushant Singh Rajput on the films Kai Po Che and Kedarnath, has said that he was a troubled man, whose mind was systematically dismantled by the industry. Abhishek was speaking to Enquiry, on YouTube.
“It’s a systematic dismantling of a fragile mind,” he said. “Sushant was brilliant, he was an engineer, he was into astrophysics and quantum physics. But because we couldn’t box him into stereotypes we called him ‘off’. He was off, just off your radar. There’s this thing that if you’re not like us then you can’t be with us. There are so many camps that if you’re not part of a camp, even if you’re in the middle of a room, you will be ignored. It is true, especially for actors. I, as a filmmaker, can isolate myself. I can warn a young actor but he cannot see it at the time because the lights are so bright. You lose yourself.”
The actor was found dead at his Mumbai home on Sunday, at the age of 34. The police has said that he died by suicide and was depressed.
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“He was very troubled while we were shooting for Kedarnath,” Abhishek continued. “But when we shot, he was 100% there. He never threw tantrum, it was cold, he had to carry Sara on his back, and he never said no if I asked for retakes. I couldn’t pay much attention to him during the shoot, but I knew we would reconnect if he wanted to.”
Kedarnath served as the film debut of Sara Ali Khan, and Abhishek said that Sushant felt that all the media attention had diverted towards her. He became reclusive.
“I had not spoken to him for about a year and a half,” Abhishek said. “There were times, you talk and then you’d go away to do a film. He must have changed his number 50 times and I remember when Kedarnath was coming out, the media had just slammed it. I don’t know what happened, he could see that he was not getting the kind of love because everything was centered around Sara that time. He was just kind of lost. When the film released and it did really well, I sent him a message.”
Abhishek added, “The message said, ‘Bro I have been trying to reach you, I’m not sure if you are upset, or just busy, but call me so we can chat. We made a super film together, again. If we are not going to celebrate it then what the hell are we going to celebrate in life? So please call me, I love you.’ He didn’t respond. He didn’t respond on his birthday. I said to myself just let it be. I could see he was not in a good place but you cannot cross a line. You have to meet someone halfway. You can reach out to someone but only to an extent. If you give unsolicited advice, it is never appreciated and it loses its value. Sometimes I used to think I should call him but then I used to think when he calls me, I’ll get a hold of him. He never called.”
Abhishek was one of the few industry personalities present at Sushant’s funeral. He was cremated at Mumbai’s Vile Parle crematorium on Monday. The actor was known for his acclaimed performances in films such as MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Sonchiriya, Kai Po Che, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! among others.
If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist. Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918
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