Bollywood stars attend Rajput's funeral as death sparks mental health debate
Bollywood stars joined family members on funeral Monday for actor Sushant Singh Rajput, whose death at 34 triggered shock waves in the Indian film industry and sparked a national debate on mental health.
Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on Sunday. The police said he committed suicide.
Rajput, a star of hits on the big and small screens, died just days after the shock death of his former manager Disha Salian.
Among those attending the funeral was Shraddha Kapoor, who starred with Rajput in his latest film release, "Chhichhore", which dealt with social pressures and mental health.
Others, including actress Kriti Sanon and producer Ekta Kapoor, joined Rajput's family in heavy monsoons to pay their last respects when his body was cremated according to Hindu rituals.
The death of the young actor has sparked an emotional discussion about mental health on social media. Stars like Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma have posted messages about the importance of seeking help.
Padukone, who previously shared her fight against depression, tweeted with the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone.
"As a person who has had mental illness, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get in touch," Padukone tweeted.
"Speak. Communicate. Express. Seek help. Remember you are not alone. We are there together. And above all, there is hope."
Sharma, the wife of the actress of the captain of the Indian national cricket team, Virat Kohli, has also expressed his condolences.
She too had previously opened up to fighting fear.
"Sushant, you were too young and brilliant to go so quickly. I am so sad and upset to know that we lived in an environment that could not help you with problems you might have had."
Rajput was born in the eastern state of Bihar and graduated in engineering to pursue a career as an actor and dancer.
He took his big break in 2013 with "Kai Po Che", a film about cricket, love and politics, which was recognized at the Berlin Film Festival.
He was praised for his portrayal of Indian cricket hero Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 2016 hit "MS Dhoni: The Untold Story".
He told AFP about the emotional roller coaster ride he experienced while filming, which also showed the ex-skipper's heartache when his former girlfriend died.
"It was very difficult because after the preparation I was in my head and everything that happened actually affected me," he said.
His most recent films were the comedy drama "Chhichhore" and the action film "Drive" - both released last year.
He had worked on a number of projects including a Hindi remake of the Hollywood romance "The Mistake in Our Stars" entitled "Dil Bechara" ("Poor Heart").
Bollywood is still struggling to cope with the loss of two lights, Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor, who died in April after long illnesses.
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