Raju Srivastava, aka Gajodhar bhaiyya, died at the AIIMS Delhi on September 21, 2022. The ace comedian was 58, born on 25 December, 1963. He had been admitted to the hospital on August 10, 2022 following a heart attack. He was in the ICU and put on life support where doctors were trying their best to bring the unconscious comedian back to his senses. However, he also suffered from brain damage further worsening his condition. During his treatment, the comedian-actor didn’t show improvement and he did not respond to the treatment. He fought for his life for 40 days. About his condition, Srivastava’s team had confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack while working out. “He was working out on the treadmill around 11-11:30 when he had the stroke. He is stable now. There is nothing to worry as of now. Doctors are conducting tests, we’ll share more information soon,” his team had said a few days after he was admitted to the hospital. Everyone was hopeful that he will spring back sooner or later. However, destiny had other plans for Raju Srivastava.
Born to a simple middle class family in Kanpur, India, Raju’s father Ramesh Chandra Srivastava was a poet known as Balai Kaka. Srivastava was admired for his great comic timings since childhood and he always wanted to become a comedian. He performed in multiple stage shows in India and abroad. Though he initially found recognition as Amitabh Bachchan look-alike who also acted and mouthed dialogues like the megastar, Raju soon got appreciated for his unique acting and comedy. He also did small roles in Bollywood films like Salman Khan‘s Maine Pyar Kiya, Shah Rukh Khan‘s Baazigar, Bombay to Goa., Govinda‘s Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya amongst others.
His venture into stand-up comedy with The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge – Champions gave him the right kind of platform. He was named the “The King of Comedy” and his character Gajodhar bhaiyya became extremely popular with the masses for its high relatability. Mopre reality shows and comedy shows followed. Raju was also part of Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss but in season 3 which was hosted by Amitabh Bachchan back then. He stayed on on the controversial show for two months before he was voted out. Raju and his wife also participated in Nach Baliye season 6 and he has appeared on Comedy Nights with Kapil by Kapil Sharma as well.
Raju Srivastava’s life was however not limited to stage and films and television. He also dabbled with politics and became part of The Samajwadi Party for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. He soon returned the ticket citing lack of support from local units of the party and became part of Bhartiya Janta Party next. Prime Minister Narendra Modi nominated him to be part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan after which Raju started promoting cleanliness through his events, ads, music videos and more in different cities.
Srivastav is survived by wife Shikha whom he married on 1 July 1993 and two children, daughter Antara and son Ayushman. Until his sudden demise, Raju Srivastava was very active on social media, using his comedy and satire to address viral news. He has had something to say on everything that has been trending, be it the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign for Independence Day 2022, or Ranveer Singh‘s viral nude photoshoot or the boycott demand on Aamir Khan‘s Laal Singh Chaddha. He also made a video which went viral on Salman Khan’s recent death threat. Incidentally, Srivastav also received threatening calls and death threats from Pakistan in 2010, warning him not to crack jokes on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Pakistan during his shows.
With Raju Srivastava’s demise, India’s comedy fraternity has lost an irreplaceable talent. We wish he RIP and extend prayers for his family and fans. We are sure Gajodhar bhaiyya will now spread some laughs in heaven.
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