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Gajodhar Bhaiya : The Life of Raju Srivastav

21 Sep,2022 06:42 PM, by: Prasanta Nath
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 Today, stand-up comedy is one of the most popular genres of entertainment. We’re all familiar with the likes of Vir Das, Abhinav Singh Bassi, Kenny Sebastian, and more. There’s a lot of demand and interest among the public for stand-up shows, getting more and more people to try out their luck in comedy today. However, India wasn’t primed with a ready audience for stand-up gigs a few years from now. It was the likes of Raju Srivastava who revolutionised the comic scene in India and introduced change in the way humour was perceived in the nation.

 

He was fondly remembered by his signature character ‘Gajodhar Bhaiya’ and his untimely demise at the age of 58 has come as a shock to India. Raju Srivastav was one of those comic personalities who won the hearts of his fan with his raw humour and incredible acting skills.

Satya Prakash Srivastav adopted his stage name ‘Raju’ to advance his career in the entertainment industry. He began his career in Bollywood with small roles. His first appearance was in the film Tezaab, and he went on to perform small roles in several other films like Maine Pyar Kiya, Main Prem ki Deewani Hoon, and so on. 

His career took off after he was crowned "King of Comedy" on the renowned comedy show "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge." Raju Srivastav was a well-known personality in the entertainment world at the time, and he received offers from numerous films and TV shows.

 He also appeared in the popular comedy show "Comedy Circus," which featured many current celebs such as Kapil Sharma, Krushna, and Sudhesh. Raju has also appeared as an actor and comedian in films like as Amdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiya, Big Brother, Bombay to Goa, Toilet- Ek Prem Katha, Firangi, and many others.

 Raju and his wife were on the sixth season of Nach Baliye, a couples dance show on StarPlus, in 2013. He has also appeared on Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma, and in the show Mazaak Mazaak Mein, popularly known as 'The Indian Mazaak League’.

However, Raju didn’t only limit his career to the entertainment industry. Rather, he expanded his base by venturing into the political field in 2014 when he was fielded by the Samajwadi Party in Kanpur for Lok Sabha elections. However, on March 11, 2014, Srivastava returned the ticket, stating that he was not receiving enough support from the party's local units. Prime Minister Narendra Modi later chose him to participate in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. He has been advocating cleanliness through his events in several cities since then. He had created a number of music videos to promote hygiene. He also appeared in several TV commercials and a social service message film for Swacha Bharat Abhiyaan.

But as it happens with several famed celebrities, Raju Srivastav also faced threats and criticisms for his comical stunts. In one instance, he was said to receive threatening phone calls in 2010 for cracking jokes about the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.


Despite these obstacles, Raju continued to be an audience favourite for his comic performances that struck a chord with the Indian crowd. From struggling to create a career in the entertainment industry during his earlier days to emerging as one of the mega comic stars of India, Raju Srivastav has not only paved way for the comedy platform, but has also inspired innumerable youths to try their hands at comedy.

The comic died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on 21st September, after suffering a heart attack on August 10. The nation has lost one of the realest gems of the Indian entertainment industry. But his humour will continue to make us laugh for years to come. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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