Satya Prakash Srivastava, who became famous as Raju Srivastava all over the world, came from a middle-class family in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and went on to leave an indelible impact on the lives of billions of people all over the world. He left for his heavenly abode earlier today. At the age of 58, the actor-comedian battled for over 40 days in the hospital. He will be missed deeply and so will be his brand of earthy humour.
Raju Srivastava breathed his last at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He was rushed there on August 9 after he complained of having chest pain. Reportedly, he had collapsed in a South Delhi gym where he was working out. He had to be immediately put in the Intensive Care Unit and soon afterwards doctors reported that he was brain dead, and was put on a ventilator.
Raju Srivastava became a household name for his humorous style which was way different from what Indian audiences had seen or heard before. There had been comedians doing gigs and bits which pertained to the urban populace, but it was Srivastava who took this humour to the rural heartlands of the country. He started telling stories which people had not heard before, and that made him stand out in the crowd of stand-up comics.
The urban populace loved him because his earthy stories were pretty alien to them, and through his eyes, they could see a different world from the small towns of India. The people from these smaller towns loved Srivastava for the brilliance in which he brought relatability to the characters. From Amitabh Bachchan to even a poor farmer in the heartlands of the country has been a fan of this brand of Raju Srivastava’s humour.
Can anyone not know ‘Gajodhar Bhaiyya’? The character became so relatable that it made Srivastava a household name.
In one of the interviews, Raju Srivastava mentioned that Amitabh Bachchan was related to him as a very distant relative. But when he landed in Mumbai, he didn’t ever want to take advantage of that and always wanted to make a mark on his own. He kept working on his craft and after lots of struggle, he attained so much popularity that even the great Amitabh Bachchan couldn’t stop talking about him and laughing at jokes profusely.
It was indeed the way Srivastava imitated Bachchan’s deep baritone that got him noticed worldwide. He was invited to numerous stage shows in India and abroad and people wished to see him perform in the voice of Big B. Soon after performing on various stage shows his talent started getting picked up by television and film producers.
He appeared in television comedy shows on Doordarshan. Soon afterwards, was seen doing small roles in films like ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Baazigar’, 'Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa', 'Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon', 'Big Brother' and 'Bombay To Goa', among many others.
However, it was ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ which made him a superstar in the world of comedy. Till before that people knew of him for his comedy gigs, but not many knew him by his name. After ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ he was everywhere and people just wanted to listen to him and his brand of comedy for hours. Even though he didn’t win the title in that show, soon afterwards a spin-off of the same show happened called ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge – Champions’ where he won the title of ‘The King Of Comedy’.
After the immense popularity, he even decided to take part in the TV reality show ‘Bigg Boss 3’ and later with his wife, Shikha, in the dance show ‘Nach Baliye 6’. He even came on ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’ for a few seasons.
While his comedic prowess was growing, not many had thought that he would also decide to jump onto the bandwagon of politics. His name was associated with the Samajwadi Party and later with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi made him a part of the Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan.
Raju Srivastava is survived by his wife, Shikha, and their child Ayushman and Antara. There is no doubt that he will be missed deeply not just by people from the film industry, but even by people all over the world. He was someone who lived with a smile always and lived only for spreading laughter to the world.