'Gajodhar bhaiya' leaves behind legacy of laughter : The Tribune India

Obituary

'Gajodhar bhaiya' leaves behind legacy of laughter

Raju Srivastava (December 25, 1963 — September 21, 2022)

Tribune News Service

AN endearing Gajodhar bhaiya to his countess fans, Satya Prakash Srivastava, better known as Raju Srivastava, finished his final act on Wednesday, leaving his admirers in mourning. If mimicry put him onto the entertainment route, clean comedy aimed at family audience remained his mainstay through the three decades that he spent making people laugh.

AN endearing Gajodhar bhaiya to his countess fans, Satya Prakash Srivastava, better known as Raju Srivastava, finished his final act on Wednesday, leaving his admirers in mourning.

From a regular middle-class family in Kanpur, he dared to watch 'cinema', which was looked down upon by his family, specially his mother. It was from 'Sholay' that his first Gajodhar act was born. Entertaining schoolmates with his mimicry, young Raju often got into trouble for imitating his teachers. He started with copying Amitabh Bachchan and his dialogues from films like 'Deewar' and earned the moniker of 'Junior Bachchan'. Staring with Rs 50 a gig to being one the highest paid comedians and earning the title of King of Comedy, he came a long way.

While Mumbai gave him small roles in films like "Maine Pyaar Kiya", "Baazigar" and "Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa" to begin with, it was comedy shows that got him worldwide fame.

Right from The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (2005) to The Kapil Sharma Show (2016-17), he regaled his audience with his humorous acts. "I could move, dance, fall at anyone's feet to evoke laughter," he admitted in one of the interviews. His acts were picked from life and he did not shy away from cracking jokes on himself and the area he came from - UP and Bihar.

He also had a brief stint with politics. He joined the Samajwadi Party in 2014 but switched to the BJP soon after. Srivastava had been battling a heart condition for a very long time. He collapsed when on a treadmill in a Delhi hotel on August 10.

Many celebs and political figures have mourned his demise, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who tweeted, “Raju Srivastava brightened our lives with laughter, humour and positivity. He leaves us too soon but he will continue to live in the hearts of countless people thanks to his rich work over the years.”

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