Raju Srivastava: The man behind a million laughs

The journey from Baba Chinchin Choo to Gajodhar Bhaiya


September 21, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Raju Srivastava: The man behind a million laughs

Raju Srivastava often known as Gajodhar, was a famous stand-up comedian and actor (1980-2022)

Known to his family and the world as Satya Prakash Srivastava, Raju Srivastava left a legacy of generous belly laughter and a playful actor. Gajodhar Bhaiya would keep his hands behind his head, an action that is still mimicked by his fans. His accent and pose, made the character quite rememberable, and thus, Srivastava found himself a new identity, which went on to become as famous as him.

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He started his career doing small roles in films such as Tezaab (1988), an action thriller, starring Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor, or playing the role of a truck cleaner in Salman Khan starrer Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) and a college student in Baazigar (1989). Though he got meatier role in films like Bombay to Goa (2007), or Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiyaa (2001), but he was best known for his standup comedy on television.

He made his debut with an Indian TV standup comedy series The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, which aired on Star One in 2005 and became the second runner-up after Ahsaan Qureshi and Sunil Pal. He later became the face of standup comedy in India and started appearing on other shows such as Comedy Ka Maha Muqabla on Star Plus, Laugh India Laugh on Life OK channel (2012). Then in 2013, he decided to flaunt his dance moves in the Star Plus’ Nach Baliye 2013.

He was also spotted as “Beautician Rosi”, a recurring character in comedy talk show Comedy Nights With Kapil on Colors TV. Between 2016-2017, he also played various characters for Kapil Sharma’s The Kapil Sharma Show on Sony Entertainment Television.

Though he was definitely not the only comedy star who specialised in stand-up comedies, his fans believe that Srivastava had carved out a niche for himself in the crowded field. “I am also greatly shocked and saddened by his demise. Raju Srivastava was unwell for quite some time in the battle that he was fighting. Unfortunately, he finally lost.  But I think he will continue to live in our hearts for a very, very long time to come. I was even about to post a small tribute on social media and I feel he was the most original of all the stand-up comics in India. For me, he was the only “Greatest Standup Comic” that India ever saw. It is amazing how he would create his content from scratch and bring the character on the stage and bring in all sorts of dramatic elements. He would transport us all into that particular world that he created for us,” Murtaza Ali Khan, a film Critic at The Hindu, The Sunday Guardian and film editor at New York-based magazine, Cafe Dissensus, tells Media India Group.

“So, I believe that made him the most talented and most versatile of all the standup comics in India today. People talk about Kapil Sharma, Krishna and Abhishek and others. But for me, Raju Srivastava will always remain the most original and versatile of all the standup comics that our country witnessed. Initially, he had to struggle in the radio and television industry. He tried his hands even in acting and he also starred in many TV series such as Shaktimaan and all the smaller roles. But I believe it was the Stage that he truly belonged and for me, he truly touched unattainable heights. With his “The Great Indian laughter challenge”, he got what he deserved-national and international success and the rest, as they say, is history,” adds Khan.

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