Rajesh Khanna (December 29, 1942 - July 18, 2012), R.I.P.
Bollywood's original superstar Rajesh Khanna, who charmed his way into the hearts of millions of swooning women in the 1960s and 70s, died here today.
69-year-old Khanna, who shot to superstardom with the 1969 hit Aradhana
opposite Sharmila Tagore, passed away at his home, two days after being discharged from Lilawati hospital. He had been ailing since April.
Though a romantic hero, Khanna essayed a variety of roles with ease in his illustrious career spanning four decades. His portrayal as a cancer patient in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee-film Anand
(1971) in which he got the better of Amitabh Bachchan left many teary eyed.
Nicknamed "Kaka" by his adoring fans, he is survived by estranged actress wife Dimple Kapadia and daughters Twinkle and Rinkie, all of whom were by his side when his end came.
Khanna's family as also Lilawati Hospital authorities were tightlipped about the nature of the actor's illness.
"We cannot tell you about the nature of Khanna's illness....Please get in touch with his family," a spokesman for Lilawati who identified himself only as Dr Trivedi told PTI
According to sources close to the family, the cremation will take place tomorrow.
Vijay, a close friend of Khanna who had been interacting with the media since his illness, said, "Kaka's food intake had gone down over the last few days making him very weak."
The news of Khanna's death this afternoon spread like wildfire and hundreds of teary-eyed fans descended at his bungalow 'Ashirwad' in Bandra.
"My father-in-law is no more. He has gone to a nice and heavenly place. I am happy that he has gone there and hope that everyone will pray for him," his actor son-in-law Akshay Kumar told waiting reporters and fans outside 'Ashirwad'.
Several Bollywood celebrities including actors Rishi Kapoor, Prem Chopra and film maker Sahid Khan visited Khanna's home to pay homage to the actor.
The veteran actor, who lived a secluded life of late, recently appeared for a film advertisment of a well known brand of fan, his faces and eyes sunken. His real fans were shocked to see him a pale shadow of his former self.
During his illustrious career Khanna gave 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 and 1972 including Aradhana
, Haathi Mere Saathi
and Amar Prem
Debuting with Akhri Khat
which he bagged after winning a talent contest in 1965, Khanna went on to star in over 180 films.
He carved a niche for himself in Bollywood dominated in those days by the troika of Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor and the likes of Shammi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar.
However, it was Aradhana
in 1969 opposite Sharmila that catapulted him to superstardom overnight.
His disarming smile and twinkling eyes made him the darling of millions. Female fans lined the streets he took, covered his car with kisses leaving lipstick marks, married his photographs and wrote love letters to him in blood while young men would sport his hairstyle.
Khanna won three Filmfare Best Actor Awards and was nominated for it 14 times. He was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
The commercial success of his films declined during 1976–78. After 1978, Khanna starred in critically acclaimed films such as Amado
, Phir Wohi Raat
and Agar Tum Na Hote
If Khanna's rise to fame was meteoric, so was his fall from stardom. By the late 80s his charm at the box office had waned but it did not affect his personal charisma. He held a Lok Sabha seat from New Delhi constituency as a Congressman from 1992 to 1996.
The actor, who married Dimple Kapadia, 15 years younger to him, in 1973, split with her in 1984 but the couple never divorced. Kapadia was constantly at Khanna's side during his illness.
Born as Jatin Khanna on December 29, 1942, Khanna was adopted and raised by foster parents. He began taking interest in acting while in school and performed in a number of plays. It was his uncle who changed Khanna's first name to Rajesh.
A pall of gloom descended on the film industry with Khanna's death with artists calling it the end of an era in Bollywood. Tributes flowed in from far and wide.
Khanna was a legendary actor and in his death the country had lost a versatile showman.
I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family
and countless fans and admirers of Shri Rajesh Khanna.
-- Manmohan Singh
Khanna was a great actor whose contribution to the field of films and arts would be long remembered. He had a large fan following across the borders and captivated audiences with his excellent acting skills.
--Raja Pervez Ashraf, Prime Minister, Pakistan
It is with great sadness that I pay my respects to the memory of Rajesh
Khanna. He has been such a living force in the film world and has left such a
long and rich legacy of film tradition. Language was no barrier. His films were
seen all over the country.
-- Ambika Soni, Minister
of Information & Broadcasting
His contribution in this industry can never be forgotten. No one can
replace him... The country and the world will remember him forever.
-- Farooq Abdullah
Khanna entertained film buffs with his talent and would be remembered for his immense contribution to the film industry.
--Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra
Rajesh Khanna was always a symbol of romance. His smiling face and the
ability to connect with people at ease had made him popular. We lost a big pole
star in the film world today.
-- Mamata Banerjee,
Chief Minister of West Bengal
With his unique persona, Rajesh Khannaji made a special and unforgettable place in the hearts of Indians! May his soul rest in peace.
--Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat
His (Khanna's) death has caused irreparable loss to Hindi cinema.
-- Nitish Kumar,Chief Minister of Bihar
The film industry has lost a great actor who played important roles in the entertaiment field. He had also established his image as a public representative.
, Chief Minister of Rajasthan
Khanna was a multifaceted personality. He was the heartthrob of millions of his fans, adding the void created by his death would be difficult to fill.
--Prakash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab
Not only me but my entire generation was crazy about his style, acting and
even his kurta. Khanna was like a magician who enchanted the movie buffs.
-- Gopinath Munde
You rightly said 'hum sab rangmanch ki kathputliyan hai (we are all puppets on the stage). Goodbye Rajesh Khanna.
Rajesh was my friend. He was a nice person. I have been greatly honoured
to sing for him.
-- Manna Dey
I was supposed to work with him in Choti Bahu
but I could not because I was ill. I shot with him for two days and
found that he was very charming, humble and a shy person. May his soul
rest in peace.
-- Saira Banu
It is a great loss. It is passing of an era. I think no one has been able to take his place. His love and contribution will always be remembered. He was very professional.
His death is a big loss to the industry. It's my bad luck that I didn't
have the chance to work with him because he came much later. I remember
when he came to Chennai for some film shoot the college girls went crazy
to catch a glimpse of him when he was going to his studio.
Khanna was most certainly the first superstar and with due respect to other actors, nobody created that kind of a craze after him. Elderly woman would want to mother him. Younger women wanted to fall in love with him. And the men also liked him because he had a lot of energy and style. He brought together people from nine-year-olds to ninety-year-olds.
I miss him a lot and I have shared some of the best memories with him.
He was the superstar like no other, did 10 films with him. Met him last
at Apsara awards. Pale shadow of himself but smile as winsome RIP
My heartfelt condolences to legend Mr Rajesh Khanna. I pray almighty to rest his soul in peace.
To live with intention and walk to the edge. Play with abandon, choose with no regret. Smile and made us do the same. Sir, you defined our era. Whenever life felt tough u made us feel how love could change it all. RIP.
--Shah Rukh Khan
He was the powerhouse of Hindi film industry. I met him on the sets of Aaradhna
, he had some kind of energy and you will be charged when he is around you. His name will be written in golden words.
Another of Hindi cinema's giants passes, Rajesh Khanna. Our sincere condolences to his family. We will miss him dearly.
Rajesh Khanna gave us a crash course in Romance. He introduced us to a special twinkle in the eye that made us feel good about ourselves. RIP.
When we lose a loved one, something within us dies. Our generation loved Rajesh Khanna. Today a bit if us dies with this enigmatic star.
The magic...The mannerism...The mania of Rajesh Khanna is inscribed in every archive of indian inema...Forever....RIP SIR!!!
The epitome of superstardom is no more amongst us. There was none, there is none and there won't be any like you kakaji. You will be missed.
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.