Rajat Sharma

Sidharth Shukla: Difficult to believe that he is no more

rajat-sir A pall of gloom has descended on Mumbai’s film and TV industry after the sudden death of 40-year-old popular TV actor Sidharth Shukla due to a massive heart attack. Sidharth was a fitness freak, he was physically fit and had no previous heart ailments. When news came of his sudden death, most of the people could not believe it.
Sidharth Shukla had earned plaudits for his role in ‘Balika Vadhu’, a popular TV serial, and his career was on the ascendant. At that time, we, at India TV, had honoured him with Yuva Award, an award for upcoming artistes in the field of cinema, television, music, business and other genres.
That was my first meeting with Sidharth, eight years ago. He was passionate about his work in the field of acting. His popularity was at its peak among TV serial viewers. I had then told him, “it is easy to become successful, but it is hard to consolidate your success”. Sidharth had then told me, “Sir, I never bear any tension, I never worry, but I shall keep your advice in mind”.
Last year, in 2020, Sidharth was declared winner of the TV contest Bigg Boss 13. For twenty weeks, he exercised utmost patience, gave exemplary performance and earned encomiums from viewers, to win the contest. His popularity grew, and there was grapevine talk about his affairs with female artistes, including Shehnaz Gill. But, Sidharth maintained his cool. He never blew up.
At the Bigg Boss contest, I had held an ‘Aap Ki Adalat’, where I had put questions to Sidharth. I was impressed by his quick repartees. He appeared to be the smartest of the lot in the Bigg Boss house. His self-confidence impressed one and all, and I had then predicted that he would surely win the contest. He did.
The ‘Bigg Boss’ Salman Khan praised Sidharth for his talents. Throughout the show Sidharth looked mentally strong and physically fit. Today, when I heard news of his sudden death, it was a shock to me. His passing away at a young age feels one with sadness.
Normally, people at the age of 40 rarely suffer a cardiac arrest. Sidharth took care of his physique, had regular intake of high protein diet, followed a daily three-hour workout regimen, and had no previous history of ailments. During the Covid pandemic, I have known several persons who, after their recovery, undertook strenuous workouts and had to be hospitalized. There have been cases of heart attacks too.
Sidharth Shukla never got infected with Coronavirus, during his stay in Mumbai. His immunity worked for him during the second wave of pandemic, and yet, he had a cardiac arrest now. He was physically strong, mentally fit, never underwent stress, and worked like a normal human being. He had a happy family life. He had a close bonding with his mother. His father was suffering from lung cancer and doctors had given him two years’ time. His father survived for seven years. Sidharth lived a happy life with his mom and two sisters, but the sudden cardiac arrest has now brought agony to the family.
At the age of 25, Sidharth started his career with modelling. He won an international modelling contest in Turkey in 2005. He worked for music videos and ads. His talents were soon discovered and he got a chance to act in TV serials. His acting debut was in the serial ‘Babul Ka Aangann Chhootey Na’. He appeared in shows like “Jaane Pehchaane Se..Yeh Ajnabi” and “Love U Zindagi”, before he hit the blockbuster ‘Balika Vadhu’ that made him a household name.
One of his last public appearances was in the ongoing Bigg Boss OTT. His role in Karan Johar’s fil “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya” drew acclaim. He also won the TV contest ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 7’. During Bigg Boss 13, India TV website used to conduct regular polls among viewers about the best contestant, and Sidharth used to win hands down. He used to get the largest number of votes and tweets from viewers.
During the Bigg Boss contest, his physical fitness got more praises compared to his good conduct. That is why, news of his sudden death due to a cardiac arrest shocked many. Millions of his fans were grieved when they learnt news about his sudden death.
On Wednesday night, Sidharth had a normal dinner and went to sleep. On Thursday early morning, he complained of chest pain and collapsed, according to Mumbai Police. His mother, sister and brother-in-law were present at that time. A doctor was called in. He found the actor had no pulse beat. Sidharth was taken to Cooper Hospital, where he was declared ‘brought dead’.
Before the autopsy, doctors and police officials found no external injuries on his body. The autopsy was completed on Thursday night, but the exact cause of death will be established only after viscera analysis. The autopsy finding by a team of three doctors reportedly says, “no external or internal injuries were found.”
The sudden demise of the actor has stumped everybody. I spoke to several doctors on Thursday. Most of them said, howsoever physically and medically fit one may be, whatsoever precautions one may take about diet and lifestyle, a cardiac arrest is difficult to predict. If you feel uneasiness in your chest or in your head, consult a doctor immediately. Do not ignore it because of assumptions that it could be due to hyperacidity.
Once heart attack is ruled out, there is nothing much to fear. But it will be incorrect to presume that just because I am young, and I do not have any previous history of heart ailment, I will never face a heart attack. Doctors say that heart attack can occur to even a normal, healthy person. If not treated in time, it can become fatal. Unfortunately, this is what happened to Sidharth Shukla, who had hardly spanned half of his life.
My thoughts are with his mother and sister, who gave him utmost love, care and affection. Sidharth too loved his mother deeply, and used to speak about her too often. The death of a young son can play havoc with a doting mother and I know, her pain at this point of time, is unbearable. We can only pray to God to give strength and fortitude to his mother and sister to face the grievous loss.

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