July 14 marks one month since Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide. But even now, his death has left more questions than answers.
His suicide at age 34 triggered an avalanche of speculation and discussions about the state of the film industry and the toxic working culture in Bollywood. Here’s what we know and what we don’t know about the tragic case...
1. Sushant Singh Rajput, 34, died by suicide on June 14. He was found hanging from his ceiling at his residence in Bandra.
2. He used a green cotton nightgown to hang himself from the ceiling. But the police is yet to determine the tensile strength of the cloth that was used by the actor, who weighed approximately 80kg. We are yet to find out if the cloth the actor used to hang himself with had the ability to bear Rajput’s weight. Tensile strength measures the maximum load that a material can support without fracture when stretched.
3. Rajput’s funeral was held on June 15 in Mumbai and had limited attendees including Kriti Sanon, Shraddha Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi and producer Ekta Kapoor. Even though it was held amid the COVID-19 pandemic, fans questioned why more celebrities didn't show up to show their respects.
4. Mumbai Police is in charge of investigating the matter and are looking at ‘every angle’ including professional rivalry. They are yet to establish whether professional rivalry and deliberate sabotaging of his career was one of the reasons behind Rajput’s depression and suicide.
5. The detailed post-mortem report mentions asphyxia or suffocation due to hanging as the cause of his death. The final report also mentions that there were ‘no signs of struggle found before death’ and nothing was found, including dirt from his nails.
6. As of July, the Bandra Police in Mumbai have questioned and recorded the statements of 35 people including director Shekhar Kapoor, alleged girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and ‘Dil Bechara’ director and casting expert Mukesh Chhabra.
7. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was also questioned and his statement was recorded. Rohini Iyer, who runs a talent management company; flatmate Siddharth Pithani; Aashish Singh, Director-Original Films at Netflix and formerly of YRF; ‘Dil Bechara’ co-star Sanjana Sanghi; and filmmaker and friend Sandip Ssingh were also called in to record their statements.
8. On July 10, Salman Khan’s former manager Reshma Shetty — who helped Rajput reportedly get four brand endorsements — was questioned by the police and her statement was recorded. According to reports, she claimed that she only met Rajput twice in her career and had no idea that he suffered from depression and wasn’t sure if anyone was targeting him specifically.
9. A few journalists were also summoned by Mumbai Police in connection to the articles and blind items (reports that speak about a star without naming them, but shame them) written about Rajput. The police are yet to find out if those malicious pieces of gossip had a detrimental effect on the actor’s mental stability. He was brandished as a ‘womaniser’ and ‘skirt-chaser’ in several blind items.
10. The Mumbai Police has acquired a copy of Rajput’s contract with production houses such as Yash Raj Films. Rajput worked with the production house in films including ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ (2013) and ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ (2015). His third film with the banner was supposed to be Shekhar Kapur’s ambitious directorial venture ‘Paani’. However, the project got stalled after YRF reportedly backed out.
11. The Mumbai Police are yet to find out about all the events featured in the CCTV footage of the actor’s residence. According to reports, there was no CCTV installed at his house but the building had one. The police have currently seized the recording of the cameras in the buildings.
12. Sushant Singh Rajput’s death spawned several conspiracy theories. Apart from that, discussions were reignited about industry insiders and outsiders, nepotism, gangs powered by powerful producers, and actors and directors dictating the working culture in Bollywood. There’s a large section of Rajput’s fans who believe that his suicide isn’t an open and shut case.
13. Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhishek Trimukhe spoke to reporters in India about the speculation that Rajput’s death and his former manager Disha Salian’s suicide is connected. He believes that they are not linked.
“It’s just a theory. I have spoken to the concerned DCP where Disha Salian’s suicide has taken place, but there is no link between the two,” Trimukhe said. “Yes, Disha Salian had met Sushant once and in the last phase, he was managed by Uday. Disha was in Uday’s team and working for Sushant. Besides that, there is no link.”
14. The DCP also maintained that they are handling his case sensitively. But they are yet to find out if Rajput had changed his SIM multiple times in the last six months. According to Shekhar Suman, there was something suspicious in the actor changing his SIM ‘50 times’.
“If something comes forward, the police will definitely inform the media and public. There are many theories being floated on social media about this case but be assured that the Mumbai Police is handling this sensitive case in the most professional manner. Have faith in the system as the police will uncover the truth.”
15. The hashtag #PMMODICBIFORSSR trended on Twitter this week with fans urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into the death. A cross-section of his fans have also demanded that the CBI step in for greater clarity and transparency.
16. Several politicians including Sanjay Nirupam claimed that Rajput lost seven films in the last six months and it was the industry’s “ruthlessness [that] took the life of one talented person.”
17. Rajput’s colleagues such as ‘Kedarnath’ director Abhishek Kapur spoke about how the actor did not get support from the film fraternity and that his decay was a “systematic dismantling of a fragile mind”. Meanwhile, director Kapur tweeted: “I knew the pain you were going through. I knew the story of the people that let you down so bad that you would weep on my shoulder.”
18. Actress Kangana Ranaut has posted videos rubbishing the reports claiming Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide. According to her, he was pushed to a breaking point by some powerful forces in Bollywood who tried to deliberately derail his Bollywood career and began smear campaigns against him.
19. Actress and BJP MP Roopa Ganguly, who played Draupadi in the hit mythological TV series ‘Mahabharat’, has been urging the CBI to intervene. On June 25, she put out a video in which she wondered how Rajput’s Instagram account was still active after his death.
20. Another BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has hired an advocate to look into Rajput’s case and has now written to the Police Commissioner of Mumbai regarding the forensic investigation of the available electronic data of all the people linked to Sushant Singh Rajput’s case.