Actor Sushant Singh Rajput, over the years, had spoken candidly about issues pertaining to the film industry, such as nepotism and the ‘insider-outsider’ debate. He had also spoken about things that mattered to him, like respect, happiness and friendship. In a series of interviews to Hindustan Times in 2016, before and after the release of his breakout film, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Sushant addressed his ongoing relationship with fame and success.
Asked if it is difficult to make friends in the film industry, the actor had said, “It is possible. Time, trust and mental security are the most important prerequisites to forge a good, long-lasting friendship, and it has nothing to do with the industry you work in.”
He said that in the long run, it doesn’t matter if one is an outsider in the film industry, or born to a film family. “Only one thing can protect you from this prejudice — be really good at what you do and be professional,” he had said. “We have some of the biggest success stories of outsiders, and unfortunate ones of insiders. So, in the long run, it doesn’t matter.”
But the actor did feel that nepotism was a dangerous practice. “Over a period of time, if we keep giving chances to people who don’t have any talent or skills, then eventually, we will create an unbalanced equation,” he had said. “The whole industry will collapse because the target audience is being exposed to wonderful international cinema and talent. We are yet to reach that tipping point, but we must never take the audience’s understanding and our relevance for granted.”
Sushant died by suicide on June 14, at the age of 34. He was suffering from depression. His death has reignited the debate around nepotism in the industry, and also the importance of spreading awareness about mental health.
Asked if it is lonely at the top, he had said, “No, neither success nor failure nor even the state in between is lonely. Usually, people have such a complaint [that success is lonely] because they think that the incentives one would get after becoming successful would change their lives, which is never true. The fun that you have while doing the things you enjoy is the incentive, and that’s what life is all about. All the extra amount of recognition and money is for your PR agency and your CA to handle. They aren’t meant to deal with your loneliness.”
He said that while there are perks to stardom, like being made to feel important, “There is a sense of pride in being accepted because of your talent and the hard work you put in. The bad part is that, as a kid, you think that, one day, you will get famous and rich, and that will be the answer to everything. But when that actually happens, you realise how wrong those perceptions were.”
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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