HI friends back after the festivity month… Had a lot of goodies and had a rocking Diwali this year. I am sure all of you too would have enjoyed to the fullest. Today I am going to talk about our first Bollywood superstar. The actor who had the craziest fan following and who was one of the biggest crowd pullers ever. I am talking about none other that Rajesh Khanna!
He was born on 29 December 1942 in Amritsar, Punjab, India. He shifted to Mumbai, attended St. Sebastians Goan High School with his friend Ravi Kapoor, who later took the stage name Jeetendra. Khanna gradually started taking interest in theatre, did a lot of stage and theatre plays in his school and college days, and won many prizes in inter-college drama competitions. He did his first two years of Bachelor of Arts in Nowrosjee Wadia College in Pune from 1959 to 1961 and later studied in K.C. College. He had keen interest in joining films. His uncle KK Talwar changed his first name from Jatin to Rajesh when he decided to join films.
He ranked first and won the United Producers All India Contest held in 1965 by beating 10000 candidates and the prize of it was acting in films Akhri Khat and Raaz. That was the begining of the Super star. In 1969 Rajesh Khanna achieved super-stardom with Shakti Samantha's ‘Aradhana’ (1969). He became the craze of the nation, and critics across India started calling him the First Superstar of both Indian Cinema and Hindi Films and remained so alone as the Superstar for 7 years (1969-1976) and had to share the status with Amitabh from 1977-1991 till he left films to join politics in 1991.He overtook his predecessors Dev-Dilip-Raj, Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar in terms of extreme popularity with audience and critics, quality of performances, variety of roles and films by doing quickly 47 films from 1966-75 which included 36 Golden Jubilee Hits(21 of the 36 were platinum) and 4 silver silver jubilee hits and only 7 flops in 9 years. He also made the world record of having 17 successive super-hits in 3 years from 1969-71 which included 15 consecutive solo super-hit films and 2 two hero films namely Andaz and Maryada. The main difference between him and his predecessors, successors, contemporaries was that Khanna's films ran successfully in whole of India and not just Hindi speaking areas and he did films of every genre simultaneously and has more critically acclaimed films to his credit than all other Hindi Actors of every generation. He stands out even by selection of his films as he regularly did both offbeat alternate cinema along with commercial potboiler films and had success in both. He introduced intelligent cinema to the masses with ease. Those 15 consecutive hit solo lead hero films from 1969-71 were Aradhana, Doli, Bandhan, Ittefaq, Do Raaste, Khamoshi, Safar, The Train, Kati Patang, Sachaa Jhutha, Aan Milo Sajna, Mehboob Ki Mehendi, Choti Bahu, Anand and Haathi Mere Saathi. His next release Maalik flopped ending thereby the record.
He had 74 Golden Jubilee Hits - (which includes 48 Platinum Jubilee hits and 26 Golden Jubilee Hits) & in addition had 22 Silver Jubilee Hits and 9 average hits. He did 180 films - 163 feature films and 17 short films. By 2011, he held record for maximum number of films as the solo lead hero and least number of multi star cast films in Hindi Cinema. Of the 163 films - 106 were solo hero films and 22 were multi star films and 29 films had him in special effective guest appearances (though only 97 solo and 20 two hero films only released and 11 unreleased from 1966 till 2013).
The craze and popularity Rajesh Khanna had is beyond description. I even remember my mother had once gone and stood for hours at Vile parle east because she came to know that Rajesh Khanna is going to pass by!!!
He lived a kingsley life. Even as a struggling actor, Rajesh Khanna used to drive a MG sports car. Rajesh Khanna was interested in astrology. He could discuss horoscopes for hours. He was also a great cook. His friends used to love the dal cooked at his home if Rajesh Khanna would give tadka to it.
Rajesh Khanna was very fond of son-in-law Akshay Kumar and would call him Buddy.
He was suffering from health issue for almost a year since 2011. He finally left for heavenly abode on 18th july 2012. His funeral took place on 19 July at 11:00. His funeral was attended by nearly 9 lakh people and his fans had come from places like Surat, Ahmedabad, California, Singapore and from other foreign countries. Police had resort to lathi-charge to control the crowd of fans who had gathered for the procession from Khanna's Bandra house to crematorium. He died in the presence of his wife Dimple Kapadia, daughters Rinkie Khanna and Twinkle Khanna, son-in-law Akshay Kumar, grand children, Anju Mahendru and other close relatives. His pyre was lit by his grandson, Aarav, with the assistance of Akshay Kumar. Amitabh Bachchan cited that Khanna's last words were 'Time is up', 'Pack up'.In his special recorded message to his family, friends and fans which was played on his "chautha", he thanked and saluted his friends and fans for the love they showered on him.
The era he reigned over is unlikely to be experienced by any other actor of this subcontinent. A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by IndiaPost to honour him on 3 May 2013. On his first death anniversary, a bronze statue of Rajesh Khanna was unveiled at Bandra Bandstand, Mumbai. A chowk (intersection) in Girgaon has been named "Superstar Rajesh Khanna Chowk" in his memory.
Babumoshai…….the dear actor of millions. We miss you!!