As India comes to grip with the sudden demise of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, former India wicket-keeper Kiran More, who had coached Sushant for nine months for the role of MS Dhoni, in the biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, said he is in 'shock' and 'disbelief'. Rajput, 34, committed suicide by hanging himself at his Mumbai residence on Sunday morning, the police said.
Sushant Singh Rajput became a household name in 2016 when his portrayal of the reel MS Dhoni was liked by one and all. The biopic received a huge success and many credited the young actor's performance as 'Dhoni' for it.
"Shock and disbelief are the two words I can remember. When you work closely with such a young talent, the question you will always ask is why? Why he has taken this step?" More told PTI.
"We lost a lovely kid, a hardworking, educated and successful person." More recalled the time he spent with Rajput while preparing the Patna-born actor for Dhoni's role in the 2016 blockbuster.
"He was really involved, he used to train just like a cricketer. He practised regularly for nine months for the role. He mastered Dhoni's helicopter shot," the 57-year-old former national selection committee chairman said.
"Wicket-keeping is a completely different ball game. He got hit many times in his hands, arms, thighs but by the end he was absolutely ready to play.
"It was an unbelievable journey cut short," More said.
Year's after the film's success, Sushant had said that Dhoni himself had told him that he was good enought to Ranji Trophy. "Dhoni after watching me play had said that Sushant can easily play Ranji Trophy," Sushant had said with a wide grin during promotion of his last released film 'Chhichhore', where cricket was a part of the climax.
MS Dhoni's biopic and 'Chhichhore' were not the only films in which Sushant had his association to cricket. In his first film, Kai Po Che, he played the character of a fast bowler, who had failed to realise his dream but lived it by coaching a talented young kid.
More stressed on the importance of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. people have been forced indoors by a lockdown and fear of infection and experts have warned that the situation can lead to mental health issues.
"Mentally we have to be strong, especially the way things are going currently. We need to keep good connection with our family and friends," More said.
"It is especially very important for people who are staying alone. We need to keep ourselves engaged in something what we love to do," the diminutive former India stumper added.