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Remembering Sidharth Shukla’s Meteoric Rise from Shiv in Balika Vadhu to Biggest Reality Star

Sidharth Shukla’s sudden demise on September 2, 2021, sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. He was probably the most popular television figures of recent times, having tasted success from his very first show. The audience loved everything about him, embracing his screen roles as well as his reality show image equally. Sidharth started his acting career with the TV show Babul Ka Aangann Chootey Na (2008), where he played a benevolent rich man who falls in love with a girl from a middle class family. He marries her with a promise to share her responsibilities towards her dependent family members.

In 2012, Sidharth entered the long-running show Balika Vadhu as District Collector Shivraj Shekhar. He was the soft-spoken, educated and progressive man who married a woman separated from her first husband. Anandi’s first husband Jagya was shown as the guy who abandoned her for another woman and Shiv was painted in a good light in contrast. Shiv was also worshipped by the villagers for his dedication to their development.

The love his character received on screen also rubbed off on Sidharth in real life. He gathered immense love for this role from the viewers. Not only did his fan following increase, it also earned him widespread recognition, including several awards and nominations. Even his exit sequence was shot as an act of sacrifice – his character died fighting with terrorists. Soon he became one of the most popular actors on TV.

All this recognition soon got him movie offers. Sidharth made his Bollywood debut in the romantic comedy Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania playing the character of Angad Bedi, an NRI doctor and fiance of the female protagonist, played by Alia Bhatt. This role seemed to be an extension of his image built from Balika Vadhu – he was the guy you would want to take home to your parents. He was Mr Right, while Humpty Sharma (Varun Dhawan) was Mr Wrong. Humpty and his lackeys go about looking for flaws in him to make himself look like a better groom, but they fail to find anything wrong about Angad.

He was probably getting too tired of his good guy image that several TV shows had painted, and chose the perfect platform to come out of that mold. He became a contestant on India’s biggest reality show Bigg Boss Season 13, and viewers got to see the real Sidharth Shukla.

He became one of the key contestants of the season soon after entering. He was seen involved in multiple fights, and singularly managed to capture the audience’s attention. Despite his tiffs with a bunch of co-contestants, including Rashami Desai, Asim Riaz and Rohan Mehra, his popularity did not waver. His anger issues got so out of hand on occasions, that even show host Salman Khan had to reprimand him.

However, Sidharth proved that he knew how to play the game when he was declared the winner of Bigg Boss 13. And that was only the beginning of his new journey as a reality show star who made headlines each time he stepped out of his house. The pandemic hit soon after Bigg Boss 13 wrapped up, and despite the industry going into a hiatus, Sidharth’s popularity did not wane. He continued to be the most talked about and photographed celebrity in Mumbai.

Sidharth did not sign up too many acting projects immediately. Besides appearing in a few music videos, the actor decided to make his digital debut with the third season of Broken But Beautiful on ALTBalaji. “I’m not somebody who really does things in a lot of haste. I like to hear the script and like the project and it’s only then that I give my consent for something. This is something that was offered to me and I really liked it,” he told News18 in May 2021.

In Broken But Beautiful 3, he played Agastya Rao, a struggling theatre director who doesn’t go by the traditional definition of relationships and can come across as an aggressive man at times. Sidharth received praise for his role in the series.

Before his sudden death, he was back in the reality show circuit, making appearances with Shehnaaz Gill as fans showered love on the pair. His sudden demise was a shock for millions of fans who would wait for social media updates on him, his appearances on TV shows, and his music videos. It will take some time for the industry to wrap their heads around the fact that one of the biggest success stories of today was cut short so abruptly.

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