Raju Srivastava biography: From driving an auto to bit roles in Bollywood films to becoming the King of Comedy, a look at India’s favourite comic’s life journey

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India’s comedy king Raju Srivastava left for the heavenly abode today at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. His family confirmed that the comedian died in Delhi at the age of 58. He was admitted to AIIMS Delhi on August 10 after experiencing chest pain and collapsing while working out at the gym. The stand-up comic had a long and illustrious career which ranged from Bollywood films to TV shows to reality shows.

Raju Srivastava’s real name was Satya Prakash Srivastava and was often credited as ‘Gajodhar Bhaiya’, after one of his famous characters in his stand-up comic acts. Raju was born on December 25, 1963 in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Known for his exemplary observational skills which he exhibited in his stand-up comic acts and stupendous comic timing, Raju Srivastava ruled the comedy circuit for decades and was well-loved by audience of all ages. His life journey was an inspiration to youngsters, fans and budding comedians. Read on to more about the comedy star’s life.

RECOMMENDED READ: Real name to making debut in Tezaab, 10 lesser-known facts about Raju Srivastava

Raju Srivastava- Early Life

Born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on December 25, 1963, Raju Srivastava belonged to a middle-class family. His father, Ramesh Chandra Srivastava was government employee and poet, affectionately known as Balai Kaka. Raju Srivastava’s real name was Satya Prakash Srivastava but was well-known by his stage name as well as affectionately called Gajodhar Bhaiya and Raju Bhaiya.

Raju Srivastava stood out in school due to mimicry

Raju was adept at doing mimicry in school and that is how his career also started. In an interview with Dr Vivek Bindra, Raju recalled how his school principal supported his mimicry. “While others would make fun of my mimicry, my principal really supported me. I was also called to the mohalla (local) 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,” he said. While he was well-known for mimicking Amitabh Bachchan, he also had narrated a funny story from his young days when he had used mimicry to propose to a girl. He said in the Dr Bindra interview, “I proposed to a girl in Shashi Kapoor’s voice. Instead of seeing the message, she was enthralled by my mimicry. She started asking me to imitate more actors. I told her ‘I love you’ in Shatrugan Sinha and Dharmendra’s voices too. But she missed the entire point!”

Raju Srivastava’s early career in Bollywood in the ‘80s and '90s

Soon after completing his graduation, Raju Srivastava came to Mumbai to try his luck in films. Reportedly, when he came to Mumbai, he drove an auto for some time till he got work in movies. The report also mentions that he would do stand-up comedy shows for even Rs 50 when he was struggling. He grabbed small roles in Hindi films. His first role was in the film Tezaab, in 1988 in which he played Anil Kapoor’s college friend. Even in his tiny role he left a mark and garnered applause. He continued doing small roles in other Bollywood films such as Maine Pyar Kiya, Baazigar, Abhay, Big Brother and Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa.

The Great Indian Laughter Challenge

Star One’s show titled The Great Indian Laughter Challenge proved to be a major turning point in the comedian's life. He participated in the first season of the show in 2005 and became a household name with his clean comedy that could be enjoyed by all age groups. He became a famous name in every household and his ‘Gajodhar Bhaiya’ character received terrific applauses from the viewers. Raju Srivastava won the second position in the show but was the outright winner when it came to popularity and was crowned the ‘King of Comedy’. He was also a favourite with Indian politicians who shared a laugh with his jokes when he mimicked them. He is known for his political mimicry and has done impressions of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav and even PM Narendra Modi.

Other TV Shows

After receiving immense applause from The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, Raju Srivastava participated in many mainstream reality shows like Bigg Boss, Comedy Circus, Raju Hazir Ho, Laugh India Laugh, and Comedy ka Maha Muqabala. He also tried his hand at the dance reality show, Nach Baliye, in which he participated with his wife Shikha as a couple. The ace comedian also worked with Kapil Sharma on popular shows like Comedy Nights with Kapil and The Kapil Sharma Show.

Raju Srivastava- Political Career

Raju Srivastava was also actively involved in politics. He joined Samajwadi Party in 2014, when he was elected by the party for the Lok Sabha elections from Kanpur. However, the comedian-actor wasn’t satisfied with the support of party’s local units and returned the party ticket. However, things turned in his favour soon as he found support and like-mindedness in Bharatiya Janata Party and he joined them in 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made him the brand ambassador of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the comedian promoted cleanliness through events and music videos. He also promoted cleanliness and hygiene through TV commercials. He also served as the chairman of the Film Development Council of Uttar Pradesh.

Spouse and Family

Raju Srivastava’s father’s name was Ramesh Chandra Srivastava. His mother’s name was Saraswati Srivastava. He also has a younger sibling, Deepu Srivastava. Raju Srivastav married Shikha from Lucknow on July 1, 1993. Together they have two children, Antara and Ayushman.

With Raju Srivastava’s demise, India has lost a great comedian who never failed to bring a smile on his audience’s face. RIP!

 

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