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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Raju Srivastava: A smile from Hindi heartland


The King of Comedy’ Raju Srivastava passed away here on Wednesday, at the age of 58, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Raju’s health deteriorated on August 10 evening while he was running on a treadmill at a South Delhi gym. He felt severe chest pain following which he suddenly collapsed and was rushed to AIIMS by his trainer. He underwent an angioplasty.

Known as ‘Gajodhar’, Raju was born on December 25, 1963, in Kanpur as Satya Prakash Srivastava. He is survived by wife Shikha and two children, Antara and Ayushman.

He ventured into stand-up comedy with the talent show ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ in 2005, and finished as second runner-up, subsequently taking part in the spin-off, ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge-Champions’, in which he won the title of ‘The King of Comedy’.

His social media bio says: “Living Life with a Mission to bring a Smile on Everyone’s Face”. Fellow comedians thanked him for inspiring a generation of stand up comedians. He curved a niche for himself in the world of stand-up with his timely jokes and comic presence on topical issues.

He was described often as “an observational comedian”, who was known for “his acute scrutiny of various Indian aspects of life”.

He began his career by doing small roles in Bollywood films.

He had a part in the Rajshri Productions movie ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, and other small roles in various movies such as ‘Baazigar’ and ‘Bombay to Goa’. He was also seen in ‘Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya’, ‘Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon’, ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ among several others.

In the TV, his last stint was ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ in 2016-17.

On the political front, Raju was fielded by the Samajwadi Party from Kanpur for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. But on March 11, 2014, he had returned the ticket. He joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on March 19, 2014.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also nominated him to be part of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’. Since then he has been promoting cleanliness through his events in different cities.

He had made various music videos for promoting cleanliness. He had also shot various TV commercials and social service message video for the campaign.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah condoled the demise of Raju and said, “Renowned comedian Raju Srivastava ji had a distinctive style, he impressed everyone with his amazing talent. His death is a great loss to the world of art. I extend my condolences to his family and fans. May God give them the strength to bear this grief.“

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “I am deeply saddened by the demise of renowned comedian, Raju Srivastava ji. Apart from being an accomplished artist, he was also a very lively person. He was also very active in the social field. I extend my condolences to his bereaved family and fans.”

BJP National President J P Nadda said, “I am shocked to hear the news of the demise of well known comedian Raju Srivastava ji. Raju Shrivastava has left a mark in the world of comedy. My condolences to his family and fans in this hour of grief.“

Union Minister for I&B, Anurag Thakur said, “Saddened by the demise of Raju Shrivastava ji, a great artist, a lively person and an inspiration to many with his artistic talent. His passing is the end of an era of a genre of comedy, it is not possible to fill the void created by his death. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and their fans.”

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