In tragic news to television lovers, actor Rituraj Singh passed away after suffering from cardiac arrest. He was 59. Rituraj Singh was known for his roles in TV shows like Banegi Apni Baat (where he was one of the leads), Kutumb, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, Diya Aur Baati Hum,  Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Anupamaa among others. He also hosted the popular gaming show on Zee TV, Tol Mol Ke Bol, back in 1992. The actor had also worked in movies like Hum Tum Aur Ghost, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Satyameva Jayate 2, Thunivu and Yaariyan 2Rituraj Singh Dies at 59 of Cardiac Arrest; Actor Was Known for His Roles in Anupamaa, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Diya Aur Baati Hum Among Others.

In his younger days, Rituraj Singh was part of Barry John's Theatre Action Group (TAG) for about 12 years. There were some very well-known faces in his theatre group, including actors Divya Seth, Manoj Bajpayee and a certain Mr Shah Rukh Khan. In film critic and senior journalist Anupama Chopra's biography of Shah Rukh Khan - King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema - she writes about the superstar's early days in theatre and how he was far from being the best actor in TAG, where he spent five years.

Instead, it was Rituraj Singh, who was Barry John's preferred actor during those days when it came to the main lead roles. In the book, she wrote, "Rituraj had joined TAG in 1981, when he was only sixteen years old, and matured into the company’s favoured leading man. There was, he recalled, perhaps one production in his ten years at TAG in which he did not get the lead. In Delhi theatre then, Rituraj, a more intense and subtle actor, was a superstar. 'When the curtain used to rise,' he said, 'I could hear whispers in the audience. They were saying my name. I loved it.'"

In the same book, Rituraj Singh also explained why he never became as much of a success as his theatre-mate did. He had said, "Perhaps I’m a coward. Or maybe I didn’t believe that much in myself. That was the large difference between Shah Rukh and me. He was always the guy who believed in himself."

Some of their pictures from the theatre group days also went viral a few months back.

Another Pic

Interestingly, both made their feature-film debut in the same movie - Pradip Kishen's In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones, written by Arundhati Roy who also acted in the film. In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones featured other TAG actors too, including a walk-on part for Manoj Bajpayee, and it also reflected Rituraj Singh and Shah Rukh Khan's stature in the group then. While Rituraj was one of the main characters, Shah Rukh Khan's character, who was written as gay, didn't even have a name, and he appeared only in four scenes, with only two scenes where he had lines. Shah Rukh Khan and Manoj Bajpayee Debuted in a Television Film 30 Years Back! Did You Know That?

Check Out Shah Rukh Khan's Scene From In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones:

In contrast, Shah Rukh Khan's lead movie debut, Deewana, came out in 1992, a year before Rituraj Singh became a well-known face on television with his shows Tol Mol Ke Bol and Banegi Apni BaatBanegi Apni Baat was a very popular youth-centric show on Zee TV in the '90s that also featured Divya Seth, R Madhavan, Alyy Khan, Varun Badola and the late Irrfan Khan. In fact, Irrfan had played Rituraj Singh's father in the show.

Check The Show's Title Track:

Rituraj Singh and Shah Rukh Khan's career graphs are proof of how unpredictable the industry can be and how your fortune can change if you need the right drive to make the stars work in your favour. Rituraj may not have gotten the same stardom as his theatre colleague, but he did essay some memorable roles on television. May his soul rest in peace.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 20, 2024 11:29 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website