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Tribute: Raju Shrivastava — from an auto driver to king of comedy

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Raju Shrivastava aka Gajodhar Pandey fondly Raju Bhaiya, a man who wrote his destiny on his own, made people laugh for his entire life but left this world crying. On Wednesday 21 September, the eyes of crores of his fans welled up when the family of the famous comedian who used to mimic megastar Amitabh Bachchan, confirmed his death at the age of 58.

The actor, better known for his performance in the reality show “Laughter Challenge”, suffered a cardiac arrest on August 10 when he was running on the treadmill in a gym. He was hospitalised for 42 days.

From Satya Prakash to Raju

Raju Shrivastava, real name Satya Prakash Shrivastava, was born in Nayapurva of Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district, on December 25, 1963. He is survived by his wife Shikha Shrivastava, son Aayushman and daughter Antara. Raju debuted in the world of comedy in 1993. But shot to fame after his unforgettable performance in “Laughter Challenge”.

Left home to become an actor but became an auto driver

In 1980, he ran from Kanpur to Mumbai. Jumped into the neighbour’s house by climbing the wall and reached Mumbai. His neighbours recall that they had gone shouting that now I will return only after I become famous.

It was only after seeing the wall of Amitabh Bachchan that the dream of becoming a hero was awakened in Raju’s mind. He came to Mumbai in 1982. But before becoming a hero, he became an auto driver and his luck also turned from here.

How ‘Gajodhar’ came into existence

Almost every person thinks that ‘Gajodhar’ is Raju’s famous fictitious character but in reality, he was a man in real life. Gajodhar was a barber near Raju’s maternal house.

Even Big B was his fan

Among Raju’s fans, a big name is Amitabh Bachchan. As Raju used to mimic the megastar he became a fan of his and in many sarcastic tales, the comedian named Bachchan. Also, once when Bachchan met him, he praised Raju’s acting and style.

Political career

In 2014, Samajwadi Party offered Raju a ticket to contest polls but he denied and later he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was also the Chairman of the Film Development Council U.P. (Govt.) and the Brand Ambassador Of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Complained of Chest pain while running on the treadmill

Raju joined BJP in 2014. He had reached Delhi to meet some big leaders of the Delhi party in connection with work. He was working out on the morning of 10 August at Cult Gym, South X, Delhi. While running on the treadmill, he felt pain in the chest and he fell down.

Thereafter he was immediately admitted to the hospital. Raju always looked after his fitness and he was fit and fine. Till July 31, he was doing shows continuously, in front of him shows were also lined up in many cities.

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