On June 14, 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the world, Indian cinema lost one of its most resolute artists, Sushant Singh Rajput. The sudden demise of SSR, who was found hanging in his room, sent waves of grief across countries. Fans and admirers of the young actor had a visibly disturbing time coping with the news of SSR’s death. With SSR’s death, the floodgates around the mental health discussion opened once again, only to last a few months until the mystery death took an ugly turn.
In the past year, SSR’s ‘mystery’ death sparked a plethora of conspiracy theories that victimised Bollywood artists and other renowned personalities. However, over the past months, artists from different walks of life have come up with the most creative ways to immortalise the lost, young star.
On SSR’s one year death anniversary, we look at how artists came together to pay their homage to the late actor.
[hq]Sushant’s Wax Statue[/hq]
In June 2020, Kolkata-based sculptor Susanta Ray crafted a wax statue of the late actor. He also informed that to create a wax statue weighing almost 22 kilos, he required 10 to 12 kilos of wax, iron rods to make the structure, separate materials for hair, eyeballs and eyelashes, and other items. “I have never met Sushant Singh Rajput. I made his wax statue only by seeing his photographs. Also, the statue has been made after his death, so the question of taking measurements doesn’t arise. It has a height of 5 feet 10 inches, waist is 34 inches and weighs approximately 22kg,” the 64-year-old artist told reporters and further added, “I share my first name with Sushant and we both are artists. I am a sculptor and he was an actor. That is how I connected with him while making his statue. Because if you don’t get into a person’s character while making their statue, you cannot bring life in it.”
[hq]Sushant’s Emotion with Pet Dog[/hq]
In the same month, a portrait of Sushant reaching out to his pet labrador Fudge, who could be seen devastated at the loss of his owner, went viral. This came after photos and videos of Fudge looking sad and waiting for the actor to return did rounds on social media. The artist, Sritam Banerjee from Kolkata, later opened up about his admiration for the late actor. Talking to Times of India, he said, “I am beyond a fan of him (Sushant). The word ‘fan’ might not be applicable here! He was an emotion to me. Somewhere I can relate myself to him strongly! I still can’t believe it! Unimaginable.”
[hq]Sand Artists Pay Tribute to SSR[/hq]
In Puri, sand animator Manas Kumar Sahoo paid tribute to Sushant Singh Rajput with his heart-touching sand art. Drawing the smiling face of SSR, he added a note that read, “You will always live with us.” Adding some candles and flowers, the artist wrote on the other side, “Tribute to Sushant Singh Rajput.” Similarly, renowned sand artist and Padma Shri awardee Sudarsan Pattnaik also paid homage to the late actor through sand art and the video of the creation soon went viral. “Shocked and stunned to know about the demise of #SushantSinghRajput My condolence for his family. My tribute through SandArt installation. We will miss you #RIPSSR,” the artist had written.
[hq]Lord Kartik Depicted in SSR’s Face[/hq]
In September, another Kolkata-based artist Manas Rai had painted the face of SSR on an earthen plate, depicting the face of Goddess Durga’s son, Kartik. Speaking to reporters, he said, “Sushant Singh Rajput was a very good artist. He had a lot to give but sadly he passed away. If a movie would have been made on Kartik, Sushant would have been the apt choice.” Others further added that year SSR’s face was created in place of Lord Kartik, to pay homage to the lost young soul.
[hq]Nepali Artists Pay Tribute to SSR[/hq]
In November, a group of Nepali artists, identifying themselves as Changa Productions paid a musical tribute to SSR through several song renditions from his movies. The songs included Jaan Nisaar, Kaafiraana from Kedarnath, Kaun Tujhe, Besabriyaan, Jab Tak from MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Phir Kabhi from Raabta, Kal ki Baat Hai and Khairiyaat from Chhichhore and Manjha from Kai Po Che. The tribute, that went viral was soon endorsed by friends and families of Sushant.
Besides a few of this prominent and viral art, the entire year saw many events of tribute to SSR by artists from across the country.