On June 14 last year, the 34-year-old actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his apartment in Bandra in Mumbai. He had acted in a total of 12 films, with critically acclaimed performances in Kai Po Che, Kedarnath, and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. His untimely death was mourned by millions of his fans and supporters around the world. On his death anniversary, we look back at some of the rare qualities that set Sushant Singh Rajput apart from other actors in the Hindi film industry.
Sushant Singh Rajput excelled in academics
The deceased actor excelled in studies, which had earned him a seat at the renowned Delhi College of Engineering (also known as Delhi Technological University or DTU). He had an All India Rank of 7 in the DTU Entrance examination in 2003. In his pursuit of engineering, he had cleared a whopping 11 entrance exams including that of ISM Dhanbad. Sushant Singh Rajput was also an Olympiad Winner in Physics.
He was forced to leave engineering to pursue his career in acting. Recounting his experience in 2017, he said, “It was 2006, my final year in college when I dropped this bomb at home. They were shocked! So shocked that they couldn’t say anything and I took their silence as their approval…. It was hard at that time but now it’s different. My dad loves it when, on his walks, people call out to him, show him some recent clipping on me…he is really proud of me. But even today, almost all our conversations end with ‘beta, degree le leta.”
The 34-year-old actor was also offered a scholarship from the prestigious Stanford University. But, he declined the scholarship, dropped out of college and headed to his 1RK rented room in Versova. Sushant Singh Rajput was later given an honorary degree on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of DTU in 2015. He had recounted, “I am shocked with the invitation. Despite being a bright student, I left engineering in my third year to pursue my dream — Bollywood. It’s really touching that my engineering college wants to give me an honorary degree on their 75th anniversary.”
SSR wanted to be a pilot in the Indian Air Force
SSR wanted to be a pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF). While speaking to Hindustan Times, he had said, “Engineering wasn’t my choice. I wanted to be an astronaut, and later, an Air Force pilot. I remember tearing up my Top Gun poster when my parents told me that was not going to happen. Apparently, I was going to be an engineer. Maybe the drama I did that day should’ve given everyone a clue! But truly, I was gutted.”
In a tweet in 2018, Sushant Singh Rajput had tweeted about fulfilling his dream of spending atleast one day every 6 months with the Indian Armed Forces.
Dream 80/150— Sushant Singh Rajput (@itsSSR) December 9, 2018
Spend at least one day, every six months with Indian Armed Forces and try to learn from the mindset of the Heroes and serve them with due respect ✊ in any way possible. #indianairforce #indiannavy #indianarmy.adgpi #bsf_india #indian_paramilitary_forces 🇮🇳 🎖️🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/ek6mNKs4ct
Pointing it out as Dream 80/180, he had written, “Spend at least one day, every six months with Indian Armed Forces and try to learn from the mindset of the Heroes and serve them with due respect in any way possible.” His fascination for the armed forces was evidently visible from his tweet.
Sushant Singh Rajput had a penchant for astronomy
SSR was intrigued by astronomical science so much so that he had purchased one of the highly advanced telescopes, the Meade 14″ LX-600. He had placed the telescope near the window of his house and watched the Saturn’s rings and stars in his spare time. Interestingly, Sushant Singh Rajput had also purchased a ‘lunar land’ on the far side of the Moon called the ‘Sea of Muscovy’ from the International Lunar Lands Registry. The property was registered on June 25, 2018.
His co-star and veteran actor Manoj Bajpayee recounted, “What I automatically recall about Sushant is his how much interested he had about everything in life. He was always curious to learn about everything — the unknown, space, about quantum physics, about acting, about filmmaking.” In a video shared by Hindi Today, SSR was seen passionately explaining about the position of planets in the solar system.
Sushant Singh Rajput was not a beneficiary of nepotism. He did not attend the prestigious National School of Drama (NSD) or the FTII (Film and Television of India). The deceased actor, represented the hope of millions of middle-class individuals, hoping to make it big in Bollywood. Unlike other actors with negligible knowledge of the world, SSR was an avid-reader of non-fiction books. Far from the echelons of glamour and party, Sushant Singh Rajput would devote his spare time to reading and watching the stars. This made SSR an actor with a difference.