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Sushant Singh Rajput is a promising newcomer in bollywood
The word “earnest” often comes up in conversations about Sushant Singh Rajput; it is used to describe his on-screen performances or to explain his strengths. Perhaps, it’s the actor’s earnestness that has landed him roles in coveted movies such as Rajkumar Hirani’s Peekay and Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, in which he plays the titular role.
That earnestness comes through when we meet him at the YRF office. In a display of courtesy that is rare in the industry, Rajput refuses a snack offered to him, as the guest seated across the table has declined one. “I am, anyway, supposed to lose weight for my next film. You’re helping me in that,” says the soft-spoken actor.
The other opinion, says a prominent industry member, is that the 27-year-old is “too young to be interesting”. The actor, in fact, admits to being “boring” and “predictable”. But his journey from Delhi College of Engineering to Bollywood is nevertheless intriguing.
Born into a middle-class household in Delhi, Rajput was fascinated by Bollywood, but never aspired to be a part of it. With four elder sisters, he was over-protected and grew up to be a shy and introvert boy, with very few friends. Influenced by his academically-inclined siblings, he chose to study engineering. “But there are so few girls in engineering colleges that I thought Shiamak Davar’s dance classes would give me an opportunity to interact with some,” says Rajput in jest, only to add on a serious (or earnest) note, “Dancing made me realise that I need not speak to express myself.”
Rajput then began exploring the performing arts. He joined the Barry John Acting Studio, even as he continued to dance as part of Davar’s company. But he also skipped most of the lectures, he tells us — choosing instead to devour paranthas at Delhi’s famous Moolchand paranthawala or at the dhabhas in Murthal, a small town in Haryana.
The days he spent in college, Rajput says, also inspired his performance in Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che, his debut film. His Ishaan, an amateur cricketer in Ahmedabad, refuses to follow a calculated path to success and instead chooses to coach a Muslim cricketing prodigy even at the height of communal tension in Gujarat. “The bond Ishaan shares with his friends somewhere drew from my equation with friends. I could connect with the character who is driven by selfless passion