'He was really involved, he used to train just like a cricketer. He practised regularly for nine months for the role.'
Former India wicketkeeper Kiran More, who trained Sushant Singh Rajput for the role of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the blockbuster biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, said an "unbelievable journey" has been cut short by the young actor's shocking death.
Rajput, 34, committed suicide at his Mumbai residence on Sunday morning.
"Shock and disbelief are the two words I can remember. When you work closely with such a young talent, the question you will always ask is why? Why he has taken this step?" More said.
"We lost a lovely kid, a hardworking, educated and successful person."
More recalled the time he spent with Rajput while preparing the Patna-born actor for Dhoni's role in the 2016 blockbuster.
"He was really involved, he used to train just like a cricketer. He practised regularly for nine months for the role. He mastered Dhoni's helicopter shot," the 57-year-old former national selection committee chairman said.
"Wicketkeeping is a completely different ball game. He got hit many times in his hands, arms, thighs but by the end he was absolutely ready to play.
"It was an unbelievable journey cut short," More said.
More stressed on the importance of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. people have been forced indoors by a lockdown and fear of infection and experts have warned that the situation can lead to mental health issues.
"Mentally we have to be strong, especially the way things are going currently. We need to keep good connection with our family and friends," More said.
"It is especially very important for people who are staying alone. We need to keep ourselves engaged in something what we love to do," the diminutive former India stumper added.