Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood's original superstar, passes away
From the dizzying heights of fame to quiet shadows behind the arclights, Rajesh Khanna's life had a theatrical sweep, almost like one of his films. Bollywood's original superstar - simply the phenomenon to some - died in Mumbai Wednesday, leaving behind memories cast in celluloid of that famous crooked smile and head tilt. He was only 69.
A consistent performer, Rajesh Khanna was one-half of several hit ‘pairs’ during his career. As a hero, he had a successful partnership with Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore, Hema Malini, Smita Patil and Tina Munim. On the music front, who can forget his unforgettable on-screen renditions of compositions by R.D. Burman and Laxmikant Pyarelal. And as an actor, he gave memorable hits with Shakti Samanta and Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Kati Patang: Released in 1970, the movie went on to become a box office hit. The film was based on a story by Cornell Woolrich 'I Married a Dead Man', where a woman takes up the identity of a dead widow to look after her son. The movie stars Rajesh Khanna, Asha Parekh, Nasir Hussain, Bindu and Prem Chopra. The movie was directed and produced by Shakti Samanta. The film was the second of the nine films that Rajesh Khanna worked with the undisputed showman Shakti Samanta.
Anand: Ranked as one of Rajesh Khanna's best, the movie revolves around a cancer patient played by Khanna who comes to spend his last days in Bombay with his friend. He plays the title role in the movie. In Bombay he meets doctor Bhaskar Banerjee played by Amitabh Bachchan where he teaches the doctor how to live life to the fullest and inspires Bhaskar to write a book on his life. The character of Anand was inpired by Raj Kapoor, who used to call Hrishikesh Mukherjee as 'Babu Moshay'.
Aradhana: Directed by Shakti Samanta and released in 1969, the film is a remake of the Hollywood flick 'To Ëach His Own'. Rajesh Khanna shot to fame playing a dashing young pilot in 'Aradhana'. His role in the movie cemented his image as a romantic hero in Bollywood. This was the first time Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore came together on the silver screen which made them the one of the most romantic pairs of all time. Rajesh Khanna doubled up as Arun and Suraj in the movie. 'Aradhana' had all the ingredients of a blockbuster as the movie had the right dosage of drama, emotion, brilliant acting and superb music.
Amar Prem: Again directed by Shakti Samanta, the movie is based on the story 'Nishipadma' written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. The movie revolves around a courtesan played by a superb Sharmila Tagore and portrays cruelties of our society and degeneration of human values. The movie has brilliant music composed by the legengary RD Burman and soulful lyrics by Anand Bakshi. Who can forget the scene where Anand babu (Rajesh Khanna) consoles Pushpa (Sharmila Tagore) by saying: 'Pushpa I hate tears'.
Safar: Directed by Asit Sen, the film went on to win two Filmfare awards. In this movie too, Rajesh Khanna plays a the role of a cancer patient but unlike Anand, Asit Sen's Avinash seems to be more realistic where he loves Neela (Sharmila Tagore) but never expresses his love for her as he know that his death is impending. The film is narrated in flashback by Sharmila where she reminisces of her emotional turmoil and her life.
Namak Haram: Namak Haram was another superhit which saw relative newcomer Amitabh Bachchan overshadow the established icon Rajesh Khanna. Directed by the maverick Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the film focusses on how two close friends drift apart and explores their relationship as they have two different ideals that they support.
His film 'Haathi Mera Saathi' with Tanuja was a favourite with the children
Chailla Babu released in 1977 was a big hit. It starred Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman in the lead.
Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra studied as batch-mates in the same school and college. Khanna encouraged Jeetendra to get into movies and also helped him prepare for drama and films. They worked together in 'Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein'.
Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz worked together successfully in many movies, including, 'Sachha Jhutha'.
Rajesh Khanna's 'Souten' with Tina Munim made news because they were allegedly romantically involved too,
In 'Avtaar' Rajesh Khanna paired up with Shabana Azmi.
Rajesh Khanna paired up with Parveen Babi in this film.
The mega story had a small beginning in Amritsar. Born Jatin Khanna on Dec 29, 1942, he was adopted and raised by foster parents. He went from being Jatin to Rajesh, thanks to his uncle who changed his name, when he decided to join films. In 1965, the journey to filmdom started after he won the All India Talent Contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare. He made his debut with "Aakhri Khat" in 1966.
India's first superstar, Rajesh Khanna who was battling cancer, passed away at his Bandra residence in Mumbai. The veteran actor had been suffering from bad health for quite sometime and had already visited the hospital thrice due to ill health. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday, a spokeswoman for Khanna's son-in-law, actor Akshay Kumar, said.
Kaka, as he was popularly known, was one of the highest paid actors of his time, his record of consecutive solo super hits still unbroken. Who can forget the years between 1970-1979 when he starred in mega hits like "Safar", "Kati Patang", "Sachaa Jhutha", "Aan Milo Sajna", "Anand", "Amar Prem" and "Mere Jeevan Saathi". Ever the urbane, suave romantic who wooed like few others.
Glory and fame galore came his way with the two 1969 films - "Aradhana" and "Do Raaste" - where he teamed up with two of his best co-stars, Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz, respectively. Both the films were super hits. Hindi film's first superstar was born. Between "Aradhana" in 1969 and "Prem Kahani" in 1975, Rajesh enjoyed god-like status.
He became the heartthrob of the nation, singing timeless melodies like "Mere Sapnon Ki Rani..." in "Aradhana", "Zindagi Ek Safar" in "Andaaz" or "Yeh Shaam Mastani" in "Kati Patang". Singer Kishore Kumar and composer R.D. Burman were amongst his closest friends. In his four-decade career, he appeared in about 160 films, of which 106 had him as the solo lead hero and 22 were two hero projects.
Whether it was a brooding lover, romantic charmer or a conscientious idealist, Rajesh Khanna could lend himself into any role. Seen here in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Anand’, this is the image of “Rajesh Khanna” that most of his fans are likely to remember.
His very name spelt magic in the 1970s. He sparked hysteria, particularly amongst his legions of women fans, who would line the road for a glimpse, chant his name, cover his car with lipstick marks and even write him letters in blood. They got married to his photograph, cut their finger, let the blood flow and applied 'sindoor'.
Rajesh Khanna was Member of Parliament for New Delhi constituency from 1991-1996. He had been a Congress activist since 1990 and has campaigned for Congress party since 1984 at the insistence of Rajiv Gandhi.
Rajesh Khanna was the highest-paid Indian actor between 1970-1979 and later shared the tag with Amitabh in 1980-1987 period.
His only Punjabi movie as the solo lead hero Til Til Da Lekha released in 1979, won the Punjab State Government award and was a Golden Jubilee Hit. Aakhri Khat, Rajesh Khanna's first ever released film, was selected for the Oscars in the best foreign language entry in 1967.
Rajesh Khanna was one of eight finalists in the 1965 All India Talent Contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare from more than ten thousand contestants. He Khanna won the contest – and the rest is history.
Rajesh Khanna is credited with giving Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar their first chance to become screenplay writers by offering them work in Haathi Mere Saathi.
Such was the actor’s popularity that in lighter vein, actor-director Mehmood parodied him in ‘Bombay to Goa’ where the driver and conductor of the bus were called 'Rajesh' and 'Khanna'.
The much ailing Rajesh Khanna had stepped out a few days back after he was discharged from hospital, along with estranged wife Dimple Kapadia and son in-law Akshay Kumar to greet the anxious fans waiting outside
Earlier it was reported that Khanna had stopped eating and was being attended by doctors every day.
Rajesh Khanna's elder daughter Twinkle Khanna is expecting her second child soon.
A rare photo of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia.
Rajesh Khanna with his son-in-law Akshay Kumar.
Rajesh Khanna and his elder daughter Twinkle Khanna.