Actor Amitabh Bachchan did something straight out of a movie for Raju Srivastava when the comedian was in hospital days before his death. ‘Big B’ sent a voice note for Srivastava, urging him to open his eyes and resume life, just as his character, a doctor, does for a terminally ill man, played by Rajesh Khanna, in ‘Anand’ (1971).
Raju Srivastava was a lifelong fan and perhaps the most prominent mimic or ‘duplicate’ of Amitabh Bachchan. They had another special bond – both were from UP and Amitabh Bachchan’s original family name was Srivastava.
Ina tribute on his blog, Amitabh Bachchan said he was asked to send a voice note to awaken the late comedian while he was being treated at AIIMS in Delhi. He did not expressly name Raju Srivastava.
“Another colleague friend and creative artist leaves us.. a sudden ailment and gone before time .. before his creativity time completion .. each day in the morning with him in spirit and information from near ones .. they got advised to send a voice to awaken his condition .. i did .. they played it for him in his state in his ears,” Mr Bachchan wrote, claiming that “on one instance he did open his eye a bit, and then went away”.
“His sense of timing and the colloquial humour of his birth shall remain with us .. it was unique, open frank and filled with humour .. he smiles from the Heavens now and will be the reason for mirth with the God’s,” Mr Bachchan further wrote.
Raju Srivastava had said in an interview, “I became a fan of mimicry and comedy when I saw Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Deewar’. To the extent that I used to get his posters and put them up at my house. I had his hairstyle and started imitating him.”
At 58, Raju Srivastava died on September 21. He’d been on life support ever since he was admitted to the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on August 10 following a cardiac arrest.
He was in the entertainment industry since the 1980s and got widespread fame after participating in the reality show ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ in 2005.
He is survived by his wife and two children.