- Raju Srivastava stepped into politics in 2014
- Raju served as the brand ambassador of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Indian comedy lost its brightest star in the form of Raju Srivastava, who passed away at around 10:30 am on Wednesday in AIIMS, New Delhi. Srivastava’s journey to become one of the most widely recognized Indian comedians was filled with struggles and new inventions as an artist and a person.
Raju was born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh to a government employee and poet, Ramesh Chandra Srivastava and housewife Saraswati Srivastava.
At birth, Satya Prakash Srivastava (old name of Raju) dreamed of becoming a comic artist since childhood and he moved to Mumbai in the 1980s to give his dream a definite shape.
Initially he struggled to find work as comedy was a new art to the mainstream at that time. To meet his needs, Raju started driving an auto-rickshaw, but kept his passion alive by performing in stand-up shows, for just Rs 50.
A few years later, he got a small role in the 1988 Bollywood film ‘Tezaab’. After this she did another minor role in Salman Khan starrer ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’.
Srivastava continued to do low-profile gigs, including appearing in Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Baazigar’ until Doordarshan’s ‘Tea Time Manoranjan’ in 1994. Later, she got a role in ‘Shaktimaan’, which was arguably India’s first sci fi (science fiction) show.
He then grabbed the nation’s attention in ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’, where he finished second runner-up, but won the title of ‘King of Comedy’ in the spin-off show ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’.
Then he also appeared in the third season of reality television shows ‘Bigg Boss’, ‘Nach Baliye 6’ and ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’.
Later in 2014, he forayed into politics and fielded for the Lok Sabha elections from Kanpur on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
However, he returned the ticket saying that he was not getting enough support from the local units of the party. After that, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on March 19, 2014.
Later, he served as the brand ambassador of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and became the president of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council. In that capacity, he laid the foundation for the upcoming Noida Film City project.
Battling the odds, but on his own terms, was Srivastava’s lifestyle. At the end of it a human, he lost his last battle, lasting more than 43 days, against death. But his work has assured him of immortality.
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