Mumbai: Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death on Sunday has once again put spotlight on the importance of mental health care with celebrities including Anil Kapoor, Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, Richa Chadha, emphasising upon supporting those facing troubled times.
Known for films like “Kai Po Che!”, “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”, “Chhichhore”, Rajput was found hanging at his Bandra home, the police said. He was 34.
Soon after the news of the actor’s demise started circulating, many from the film fraternity urged people to be more sensitive, empathetic and available to their close ones who might be silently suffering.
In an Instagram post, Johar said he “blames” himself for not being in touch with Rajput for the past one year.
I have felt at times like you may have needed people to share your life with but somehow I never followed up on that feeling… Will never make that mistake again. We live in very energetic and noisy but still very isolated times some of us succumb to these silences and go within. We need to not just make relationships but also constantly nurture them, the filmmaker wrote alongside a picture of him with Sushant.
He said that the actor’s death is huge wake-up call for him.
“Sushant’s unfortunate demise has been a huge wake up call to me to my level of compassion and to my ability to foster and protect my equations. I hope this resonates with all of you as well… will miss your infectious smile and your bear hug,” the producer, who backed 2019 film “Drive” starring Rajput, added.
Kapoor said the news of Rajput’s demise was “shocking and incredibly heartbreaking” and appealed those who need help to reach out to somebody they trust.
“I didn’t know him personally, but I’ve watched his films and it was clear to see how talented he was… The fact is, we never really know what anyone is feeling in the deep recesses of their hearts.
“If you feel like you’re drowning please please please reach out to someone you trust, whether that is a friend, family member or a professional,” the actor tweeted.
Anushkha Sharma, who worked with Rajput in PK , said it’s devastating that the actor couldn’t get the help he needed.
“Sushant, you were too young and brilliant to have gone so soon. I’m so sad and upset knowing that we lived in an environment that could not help you through any troubles you may have had. May your soul rest in peace,” the actor-producer said.
In a subsequent tweet, Sharma said it’s important to be sensitive towards Rajput’s family and friends.
“I urge everyone to respect their emotions and let them grieve,” she wrote.
Richa Chadha said the entertainment industry comes with tremendous pressure and the conversation regarding mental health should take centre stage.
“Happiness doesn’t lie in money, fame and things. It’s something that needs cultivating like a habit, especially in our field of work, almost daily. If we can withstand the pressure! Audience, press, peers, please be kind… #MentalHealthMatters. RIP friend, see you soon,” she added.
Veteran actor Shabana Azmi called Rajput’s death “deeply tragic”.
“What? Why? Psychiatrists say suicide can be prevented if those around can read the signals and seek medical help and counselling. What a loss for the film industry,” Azmi tweeted.
In times of troubles, it’s necessary to look out for support, said filmmaker Anubhav Sinha.
“Each one of us has that one good friend at least. Lean on. Reach out. It is okay to talk and ask for a hug,” he tweeted.
Actor Bipasha Basu said mental health is something that “needs to be taken seriously in the country”.
“The society and families need to understand when one needs help and how to help them. Meditation should be taught as a compulsory subject to kids right from the age we start teaching them,” she said.
Reflecting on Rajput’s death, filmmaker Rahul Dholakia said, “We are so busy in our own lives that we see the signs only after we post #RIP on social media.”
Filmmaker Kunal Kohli said Bollywood is an “unforgiving industry” where one can reach incredible highs and absolute lows in an instant.
“Where from fans to peers we all put us on a pedestal and drop us in an instant. It affects us all and probably did affect him too. What we the reason I never put him as someone who would take his life. Why? We’ll never know.”
Kohli said the actor’s suicide shows how things pile up and impact people in “ways we can’t even imagine”.
The filmmaker said people need to reach out to each other as soon as they can and not wait it out.
“What’s the point of tributes now to #SushanthSinghRajput? It’s too late. We fight. Bicker. Back bite. Are lazy about calling each other. Hesitant to Praise each other. We need to change this. Do it today when people need to hear it (sic),” he added.