STRASBOURG (France): The International Space University (ISU) in France has paid homage to late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The 34-year old actor allegedly committed suicide at his Bandra residence in Mumbai on Sunday. Incidentally, he was wearing an ISU t-shirt during his last moments.
In a statement issued on its official twitter handle, the agency said, it is deeply saddened by the demise of the actor, who was supposed to visit the campus last year but was unable due to a scheduling conflict.
We @isunet are deeply saddened by the dramatic news on the death of well known Indian actor @itsSSR
Mr Singh Rajput was a believer and strong supporter of STEM education and was following ISU on social media. https://t.co/E3GZFHdZdo pic.twitter.com/PAqwY5MGoB
— Space University (@ISUnet) June 15, 2020
Here is the complete text of the ISU message:
We are deeply saddened by the dramatic news on the death of well known Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Mr Singh Rajput was a believer and strong supporter of STEM education and was following ISU on social media. He had even accepted an invitation to visit ISU’s Central Campus in the summer of 2019 but other agenda priorities prevented him from travelling to Strasbourg.
Our thoughts are with Sushant Singh Rajput, his family and his friends. His memory will remain among his thousands of followers across India and all over the world.
Sushant was fascinated with science and held a deep interest in astronomy. As part of his research for the film “Chanda Mama Door Ke”, he also visited NASA in 2017. The actor also owned a Meade 14″ LX600 telescope.
Sushant enrolled at Delhi Technical University (DTU) in 2003, which was then known as Delhi College of Engineering but left the course to pursue his showbiz dreams. Even after leaving the four-year degree course, he remained fascinated with science and had a deep interest in astronomy.
Sushant stayed in NASA to train for his role as an astronaut for the film, which was eventually shelved. The actor also owned Meade 14” LX600 telescope.
16-Year-Old Indian-Origin Boy Making Musical Waves In Switzerland
Studio recordings with and for other artists continue to fill his weekends with his passion for music.
Up above in the world so high, in Zurich, Switzerland, to be precise, an Indian-origin boy Aakash Sethi is making sure that the lockdown period would go down in his memory as the time when he first wowed the world with his music creation and production skills.
His mother, Aradhna, says, “It’s a passion that gets him up at all hours of the day, motivates him to just be on the job almost 24X7! He loves it. And even times his sleep pattern according to what raspiness or freshness he needs in his voice. Daily life situations, a fireplace, a rustling leaf — they all seem to inspire him to open his notes app and instantly write his ‘lyric of the moment’. Obviously, as his mother, I am super proud of him”.
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And yet, he could well be mistaken for a regular Swiss teen.
After completing his nine years of obligatory schooling in the Swiss education system in June 2020, Aakash has cleared his entrance exam and been admitted into grade 10 at the local high school to pursue education according to his line of interest and competence: Computer Sciences and Information Technology.
Alongside his school activities and academics, he continues to attend Piano lessons and Karate, which lends a fine balance between studies, sport and the arts.
Studio recordings with and for other artists continue to fill his weekends with his passion for music.
Here’s a little chat with the rising star of an already accomplished family *:
You might be perhaps a bit too young to be able to answer this question in precise words, or, perhaps, with even precise awareness of it, but we have to ask this: Why did you get into making music?
AS: Out of all the creative things I have done, music kept drawing me back. I have always been very interested in the voice. It is capable of doing so many different things so I wanted to test that. I have also been playing the piano for nearly a decade. That definitely gave me a solid start.
Although I haven’t been producing for too long, I quickly realized how interesting and complex it is. It really grabbed me and never let go.
What inspires and motivates you?
AS: Lyrically, I’d say experiences, people and experiences with people. I love writing heartfelt lyrics that can make you feel something. Conceptually it’s different artists and producers from all around the world. People like Post Malone, Troye Sivan, Miley Cyrus and my friends/family are the ones who keep me motivated. Their styles and opinions intrigue me.
You are just 16. So, most probably, you would have begun understanding ‘guiding inspirations’ merely a couple of years ago. In the light of that, would you say you have any definite role models as yet?
AS: I have lots of role models. Moreover, it’s the different qualities in people that I look up to. The first few people that I think of are Meo, Sebastian, Eyelar and Valentin. Over time I have learnt an unfathomable number of things from these people. Eyelar has always had an answer for any question regarding the Industry. Meo inspired a new way of songwriting, Sebastian’s creative envisioning regarding photography and videography always amazes me and Valentin has always been able to answer my questions and give me tips on anything that has to do with music production.
With technology becoming infinitely more accessible today than, say, during your parents’ time, the competition too has become immense. In that sea of talent, what makes you stand out as an artist?
AS: Although I haven’t found my ideal sound yet I’d say there are two things. Definitely my age and the fact that I do everything myself. I’m only 16 so I still have a lot to learn… but the fact that I am doing absolutely everything from writing to singing and producing is pretty crazy. Especially to an outsider!
I’d also say my lyrics. I have a knack for constructing complex, thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics with a dark undertone.
What are your music-related plans for the future?
AS: My plans include writing with people that I want to write with and bettering my voice as well as my productions. I’m really looking forward to social life in regards to music because I definitely want to collaborate more. Whether it’s with producers, writers or other artists. It doesn’t matter.
What is your whole process of creating music like? What is the thought process, what are the steps of execution etc?
AS: Normally I start off with a short lyric, or a metaphor that I like. I construct a concept if it isn’t already clear. Then I make a simple beat which consists of maybe a piano and a set of drums at most. I come up with some demo lyrics and records those. Then I work on the production. I add layers and use effects to give the result some movement. At this point, I finish the lyrics and create a structure. I record the lead vocals first, then I come up with up to four harmonies and record those. I don’t think about a music video at all. I focus on the concept and the message of the song.
Had it not been for COVID lockdown – would you have made as many songs as you have?
AS: (Chuckles) Probably not. COVID-19 removed school hours from my life so I had tons of time on my hands. I wasn’t just going to sit around and let go of that opportunity! I wrote around fifty songs during the pandemic, which by the way is still ongoing so keep your masks on! I even got to know some people through social media. I got the chance to partake in Zoom release parties and join songwriting courses. All these things really kept me going!
* Aakash’s mother, Aradhna Sethi, an elected member of the Council of Social Welfare (township), is an author and a marketing and communications coach. She runs a monthly online magazine for the Indian diaspora in Switzerland called, Namaste Switzerland. Aakash’s father, Anil Sethi, is a published management author and teaches entrepreneurship at the renowned ETH. He is an advisor for startups, keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur and advisor to the United Nation’s Initiative, Defeat NCD Partnership. The family also includes Aakash’s 14-year-old sister Aanya Sethi, who has also sung with him and shared his joys and inspiration related to music.
Legendary Indian Classical Vocalist Pandit Jasraj Dies At 90
Pandit Jasraj was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour.
NEW JERSEY (United States): Pandit Jasraj, one of the world’s most prominent Indian classical vocalists passed away at the age of 90 due to cardiac arrest, says his daughter Durga Jasra. “With profound grief, we inform that Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj ji breathed his last this morning at 5.15 EST due to a cardiac arrest at his home in New Jersey, USA,” a statement issued by his family said, newswire agency PTI reported.
Born in Haryana in 1930, his musical career spanned eight decades. In the year 2000, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the maestro’s death has left a deep void in the country’s cultural sphere:
The unfortunate demise of Pandit Jasraj Ji leaves a deep void in the Indian cultural sphere. Not only were his renditions outstanding, he also made a mark as an exceptional mentor to several other vocalists. Condolences to his family and admirers worldwide. Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/6bIgIoTOYB
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 17, 2020
President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed his condolences and posted that the revered vocalist had “enthralled people with soulful renditions.”
Music legend and unparalleled classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj’s passing makes me sad. Spanning a distinguished career of over 8 decades, Pandit Jasraj, a Padma Vibhushan recipient, enthralled people with soulful renditions. Condolence to his family, friends & music connoisseurs.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 17, 2020
Film Review: Dil Bechara Makes You Relive Your Most Glorious Loss
The film was meant to be Sushant’s final act. Watch it, if only to see how God designs things.
Excerpt: Cancer can be painful, in every which way. Death, for those around the severely pained, in contrast, can often be a case of pain alleviation. Because the loss, for them, makes way for the restoration of ‘the good in entirety’, which was being disfigured bit by bit, right in front of their fatigued eyes. Director Mukesh Chhabra’s Dil Bechara, an average film that is replete with cinematic licences, is precisely that restoration — the ‘reclaiming of the real memory’ of a bright young actor from amid the macabre talks around him at the moment.
Review: Based on novelist John Green’s 2012 bestseller The Fault In Our Stars (also a 2014 Hollywood hit of the same name), Dil Bechara is a story of Kizie Basu (debutant Sanjana Sanghi) and Immanuel Rajkumar Junior a.k.a. “Manny” (Sushant Singh Rajput), two young people leading life amid extraordinary circumstances. Kizie is fighting cancer while Manny has fought and beaten cancer a few years ago.
Mounted on technical finesse in the form of fabulous cinematography (Satyajit Pande), unforgivingly razor-sharp editing (Aarif Sheikh) and embellishing background score (A R Rahman), the contrived nature of the storytelling is best exemplified by a mesmerising single-take title song/dance number pictured on the breathtakingly-rhythmic late actor. Most admirers of the talented late star would want to, and definitely, play it over and over again. But there is absolutely no reason for the film to have that song!
And that stands true for many things about the film. Forced and less than believable.
The original story is good — poignant and enduring. But this film fails at times in adapting it to the Indian milieu (as in the ‘smashing windows with eggs’ after a breakup of Manny’s friend Jagdish Pandey (Sahil Vaid) sequence or the almost ‘pop culture’ cancer support group meetings), and at other times in providing the requisite gravitas to an aspect of immense/principal pertinence to the movie (as in the film’s integral track of Kizie being overwhelmed by a song, leading right up to the three-minute cameo by an established Hindi film star, or the struggles of Kizie and Manny in trying to live ‘normal lives’ amid the challenges).
However, when it does not try to change too much from the original, it breaks magic on screen — especially in the ‘obituary speech before death’ sequence. One silent place, three good friends, two of whom read the obituary of the third one.
The only other scene — apart from the naturally dramatic scenes of illness and physical pain (well-created, nonetheless) — that helps lift the film to its potential is the late-night interaction between Manny and Kizie’s father, played by legendary Bangla cinema actor Saswata Chatterjee, where the former opens up about his successful but very costly fight against cancer.
Everything else, for some reason, is either rushed or imposed. Fortunately, with it being just 1 hour 40 minutes long, you can blame it for anything but being a drag.
Sanjana Sanghi is adequate. In a movie in which she is present from the first to the last one, in which even the narration is by her, and in which the character of the lead star is also defined by his interaction with her, she doesn’t emphatically grab the opportunity by the throat. She is good; but, perhaps, just about that.
With the country still not completely out of the shock of Sushant’s death, dissociating cinema from real life in many scenes of the film becomes nearly impossible.
There’s even a dialogue in the film (NOT by Sushant): “Khud ko maarna saala illegal hai, toh jeena padta hai [It’s illegal to kill yourself, so you’ve to live].”
The late star is enchanting when playing the hyperactive loverboy and exhilarating when being a silent sufferer. He would be remembered for this film for a long, long time. Albeit, it might also be because of irrational reactions (too) from all the viewers to his performance in the light of his passing. For that precise reason, this review too would not be writing more about his, what felt like, a stellar performance.
Verdict: Quite like the biggest opening for a movie streaming on Disney-Hotstar platform and a ridiculously high 9.8/10 rating on IMDB, the memory of Sushant Singh Rajput lords over everything in the film. And for that reason alone, you might want to watch his swansong. It helps that he is his usual good.
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