New Delhi | Shobhit Sujay: On the morning of April 6, 1993, this 12-year-old boy must have woken from his sleep to one of the most shocking real life events he had witnessed till then. A beautiful actress who was loved and adored by youngsters and elders alike had met a sudden death at the age of 19, sending cinephiles across the country as well as beyond it in a tizzy. It must have been tough for him to believe that Divya Bharti, whose strides towards stardom were the talk of the town, had met a sudden unfortunate fate. He must have never even imagined that almost 28 years later in 2021, Indian film and TV buffs would experience a similar shock, but the victim this time around would be him. Yes, we are talking about popular actor Sidharth Shukla, who breathed his last at the age of 40 earlier on Thursday.

When he made a heroic entry in one of India’s longest running TV shows Balika Vadhu by jumping off a moving vehicle to save the leading lady, he almost immediately struck a chord with the audience. His good boy charm and portrayal of an astute civil servant impressed the prime time viewers, following which began his journey as a successful television actor who was destined to make it big. After getting an overwhelming response from television serial viewers, it was a natural progression for him to enter Bollywood. In Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan-starrer ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’, he made an appearance as a formidable opponent to Humpty Sharma who had all the backing of the girl’s family.

Surprisingly, instead of loathing the leading man’s nemesis, the audience went gaga when Sidharth made the cameo appearance and shook a leg alongside Varun and Alia. The message was clear, Bollywood buffs were ready to welcome the talented actor with open arms even on the bigger screen.

But it seemed that TV and films were not enough for the adrenaline seeker, who now made a move towards the world of reality television. He started with the seventh edition of Khatron Ke Khiladi, a show designed to let celebrities face their worst fears. Hardly anyone had speculated that Sidharth would emerge as the winner of the show. Just a few years later when he entered the house of Bigg Boss during the 13th edition of the show, many considered it a suicidal move for his career. Their argument, which wasn’t actually unwarranted, was that the way he would appear on Bigg Boss would be detrimental for the impression he had created as everyone’s favourite ‘Shiv’ of Balika Vadhu. Well, it the concern actually turned out to be futile because when the show reached its finale, it was Sidharth who got to lift the winner’s trophy.

Today when he has left for the heavenly abode, he has created a sense of void in the Indian entertainment industry. There are not many who start their career with a television serial, successfully enter Bollywood and also bag trophies in reality shows. Even now that he is no more with us, we cannot stop but wonder as to who would fill his shows in his upcoming projects, which reportedly include a film with Prabhas and Saif Ali Khan, and a thriller series starring the likes of Pankaj Tripathi. As they say, the show must go on and it will go on, but with Sid gone from our midst, the show will never be as complete as it would have been with him.

This article has been written by Shobhit Sujay. He is a senior journalist with over a decade long experience at top Indian newsrooms. A Bollywood buff at heart, Shobhit has also made his acting debut with short film Chaipatti.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed are of the author and do not reflect the opinions or views of the organisation.)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma