From Being Average Student to Comedy’s Loved ‘Gajodhar Bhaiya’, Retracing Raju Srivastava’s Journey

After being admitted to AIIMS Delhi for several days, comedian Raju Srivastava died in Delhi on September 21 at the age of 58. On August 10, after experiencing chest pain, he collapsed during working out at the gym. He underwent an angioplasty the same day. He is survived by his wife Shikha and two children, Antara and Ayushman.

After completing his schooling and college in Kanpur, he moved to Mumbai to begin his career as an actor and a comedian. Srivastava joined the entertainment industry in the 1980s. Born in a middle-class family in Kanpur, Srivastava was noticed while mimicking Amitabh Bachchan on stage, soon after which his career as an actor and comedian kickstarted.

As a child, he used to be ridiculed as his family thought he should focus on education but destiny had other plans. It was his mimicking which shot him to fame during early years of his career.

He shot to fame after participating in the reality stand-up comedy show ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ in 2005. Srivastava said his character ‘Gajodhar Bhaiya’ was inspired by a barber in his hometown. He ended up as the second-runner-up on the show and also starred in its spin-off, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge – Champions. His character in the show became an instant hit with the audience.

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

During an interview with a leading news daily, he said “We used to get Rs 2000 earlier for shows, and then in an instant, we were paid Rs 2-5 lakh. We were invited to perform overseas, and soon we all had bought houses and cars in Mumbai. It was unbelievable.” He was also awarded the title of King of Comedy.

Following his success, he got a solo show Raju Hazir Ho in 2008 which aired on Imagine TV, and was also part of shows like Comedy Nights with Kapil, The Kapil Sharma Show and Mazaak Mazaak Mein. In 2013, Srivastava along with his wife participated in Nach Baliye season 6, and he later appeared on Comedy Nights with Kapil. He also appeared in a show called Mazaak Mazaak Mein or ‘The Indian Mazaak League’, which aired on Life OK.

He, however, started his career with small roles in Bollywood films including Tezaab, Salman Khan starrer Maine Pyar Kiya and Shah Rukh Khan starrer Baazigar and Bombay to Goa. He worked as an actor and comedian in Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya. His last role was in 2017 in Akhsay Kumar starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and a special appearance in Firangi.

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