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Raju Srivastava regains consciousness after 15 days | Here’s a closer look at his journey…

Raju Srivastava: The man who rose from humble beginnings to big innings…

The journey of Raju Srivastava stands as a testimony to the dreams harboured by many of transcending the ladder of ordinary life.

Raju Srivastava

Ace comedian Raju Srivastava finally regained consciousness on Thursday, after battling for life over 15 days at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He became a household name after making millions laugh with delight in the popular show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge in 2005. Even though he didn’t win the show, his sense of humor and excellent comic timing stood out with the audiences.

This year on August 10, while working out on the treadmill, he had suffered a heart attack at a gym in New Delhi. Srivastava was immediately rushed to AIIMS where he was put on ventilator after undergoing an angioplasty.

Doctors said the comedian had developed swelling in his brain during the treatment and he is stated to be critical. Currently being treated in AIIMS, his brother Deepu Srivastava informed that Raju is recovering under the care of the best medical professionals and ‘will soon come back winning the battle and will entertain everyone with his comedy.’

Early years  

Srivastava’s journey so far has been quite diverse as well as inspiring for many. Born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on December 25, 1963, he was quick to display artistic inclinations. As a young school boy, Srivastava would often mimic famous actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha and Dharmendra. He was also famous for his cricket commentary in the local cricket matches. Art came easily to him, as it ran in his blood. His father Ramesh Chandra Srivastava, known as ‘Balai Kaka,’ was a famous Hindi poet.

While others laughed at his mimicry attempts in school, his principal recognised the creative streak in him. In an interview with Dr Vivek Bindra, Raju recalled, “While others would make fun of my mimicry, my principal really supported me. I was also called to the mohalla (local area) cricket matches for my commentary. I wouldn’t say much about the shots being played, but spoke about the players, as I knew them personally. That is what attracted people to my style.” Srivastava got a taste of early praise which helped propelling him forward in his respective field.  

New beginnings in Mumbai

The support he got from his school principal boosted his morale and ushered in driving him to the city of dreams, Mumbai. In his early days, he drove an auto rickshaw to make ends meet. He’d even do stand-up comedy for amounts as meagre as ₹50. After struggling for years, he made his debut in the movie Tezaab (1988) and bagged roles in the Hindi films like Baazigar (1983), Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989), Main Prem ki Diwani Hoon (2003), and the more recent Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017).

His fame constantly rose, and his roaring popularity landed him reality shows such as Bigg Boss (2009) and Nach Baliye (2013-2014). Above all, the niche he created in stand- up comedy through his unique speaking style and content delivery continues to garner him immense praise and appreciation to this day.

Tête-à-tête with Politics

Raju Srivastava got the opportunity of venturing into politics when he was fielded by the Samajwadi Party for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Kanpur. However, citing a lack of support from the party’s local units, Srivastava returned the ticket and joined Bharatiya Janata Party on March 19, 2014.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had nominated him to be a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, after which he had been actively doing his bit in promoting cleanliness through various events. He also sang the song ‘Namo Namo’ from the album ‘Mera Swachh Bharat’.

Special gesture from Big B

Raju Srivastava’s condition is improving but while he’s still hospitalized, his fans have been sending prayers and blessings from all over the world. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, too, had sent his wishes for Srivastava’s speedy recovery.

As Srivastava is an ardent fan of Amitabh Bachchan, he was being made to listen to an audio by Big B as doctors had recommended that listening to a loved one’s voice would improve his brain functions. Bachchan in the audio recording said, “It’s enough Raju. Rise up Raju, and keep teaching us all to laugh.”

Small start, big rise

The journey of Raju Srivastava stands as a testimony to the dreams harboured by many of transcending the ladder of ordinary life into something more fulfilling. His work speaks volumes about his perseverance and talent, which makes him stand tall even in times of uncertainties.

Also read: Nagpur audience relive nostalgia with timeless ghazals at Pankaj Udhas’ live in concert

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