Actor Amitabh Bachchan was doing something straight out of a movie for Raju Srivastava when the comedian was in hospital just days before his death. ‘Big B’ sent a voice message to 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 arguably the most prominent impersonator or ‘duplicate’ of Amitabh Bachchan. They had another special bond – both were from UP and Amitabh Bachchan’s original family name was Srivastava.
In a tribute on his blog, Amitabh Bachchan said he was asked to send a voice message to wake the late comedian while he was being treated at AIIMS in Delhi. He did not explicitly mention Raju Srivastava.
“Another fellow friend and creative artist leaves us.. a sudden ailment and disappeared prematurely.. before his creativity completes the time.. every day in the morning with him in the mind and information of loved ones.. they were advised to make a voice to wake up his condition…I did…they played it for him in his state in his ears,” wrote Mr Bachchan, claiming that “at one point he lost his eye a little opened and then left.”
“His sense of timing and the casual humor of his birth will remain with us.. it was unique, candid and full of humor.. he now laughs from heaven and will be the reason for mirth with the Gods,” 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 got his posters and put them up in my house. I had his haircut and started imitating him. ”
Raju Srivastava, aged 58, died on September 21. He had been alive since he was admitted to the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on August 10 after a cardiac arrest.
He has been in the entertainment industry since the 1980s and rose to great fame after participating in the reality show ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ in 2005.
He is survived by his wife and two children.