‘Balika Vadhu’ actor and ‘Bigg Boss’ winner Sidharth Shukla dies at 40
Mumbai: Popular television and film actor Sidharth Shukla, who became a household name with his role in the long-running TV show “Balika Vadhu”, died on Thursday. He was 40. Shukla, who is survived by his mother and two sisters, was dead when he was taken to Cooper Hospital in Juhu around 10.20 am, authorities at the hospital said.
Though some reports suggested a heart attack, the cause of his sudden death, which sent shockwaves through the industry and TV fandom and ignited fresh debate on the pulls and pressures of showbiz, is not immediately clear. “He was brought dead to the hospital. The cause of the death will be known after the post-mortem is conducted… it will take some time,” Cooper Hospital Dean Dr Shailesh Mohite said. The hospital’s Dr Jitten Bhavsar said Shukla — who won “Bigg Boss 13” in 2020 and joins the ranks of actors on the cusp of fame who went too early — was declared dead by the principal medical officer when he was taken to the hospital around 10.20 am. “We are now waiting for the police ‘panchnama’, then a post-mortem will happen,” Bhavsar said.
The Mumbai born actor’s family issued a statement through his PR team requesting the media to draw a line and “give his family and loved ones space and let them grieve”.
“We are all in pain. We are as shocked as you are. And all of us knew Sidharth was a private person, so please respect his privacy, his family’s privacy. And please pray for his soul to rest in peace,” it said.
Shukla began his career as a model and made his acting debut with a lead role in the TV show “Babul Ka Aangann Chootey Na”. He later appeared on shows such as “Jaane Pehchaane Se… Ye Ajnabbi”, “Love U Zindagi” but it was “Balika Vadhu” that made him famous.
In a tragic coincidence, his co-star from the show, Pratyusha Banerjee, also died way too young. She was only 24 when she was found hanging in her apartment in Mumbai in 2016. Other than “Bigg Boss 13”, Shukla participated in other reality shows, including “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 6” and “Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 7”. In 2014, Shukla made his Bollywood debut with the Karan Johar-produced “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania,” where he had a supporting role opposite Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt.
The tributes poured in, from shocked viewers who had watched him on so many shows, from his colleagues and from stars big and small. “Bigg Boss” host Salman Khan wrote, “Gone too soon Sidharth…You shall be missed. Condolences to the family. RIP.”
Dhawan posted an emotional note on Instagram, sharing pictures with him and co-star Alia Bhatt from the promotions of “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”.
“RIP brother. You are loved by so many and you touched so many with your kind heart and beautiful personality. Today heaven has gained a star and we have lost one. My deepest condolences to the family and loved ones,” Dhawan wrote.
Bhatt added, “Sid. One of the warmest, kindest and most genuine people I’ve worked with… always smiling and always positive! My heartfelt condolences to his family, loved ones and his fans who loved him so so deeply! Rest in peace!”
Madhuri Dixit, a judge on the sixth season of dance reality show “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa” on which Shukla was a contestant, said that she was yet to come to terms with the news.
“It’s just unbelievable and shocking. You will always be remembered…,” she stated.
Ajay Devgn said Shukla’s passing away at a young age was devastating. “Life and death are both baffling. But when someone as young as Sidharth Shukla passes away with suddenness, one is very sad… Condolences to his family.”
Calling his death “unfair”, actor Rajkummar Rao said, “Gone too soon Sidharth. Rest in peace brother. You will be in our hearts forever. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans.”
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta described Shukla’s passing away as extremely tragic. “No age to have a heart attack. No age to go. This is extremely sad and disturbing. Hope this time for sadness, reflection and mourning does not get converted into a Tamasha by some idiots,” Mehta wrote.
“OMG! This is so shocking! Words will fail to describe the shock and sense of loss of his near and dear ones! May he rest in peace,” actor Manoj Bajpayee said.
Actor Riteish Deshmukh said he was “shocked beyond words.” “Gone too soon…. Condolences to his family, loved ones. – He was loved by millions. Siddharth Shukla you will be missed – rest in peace brother. Om Shanti.”