Rajesh Khanna dies

(Reuters) – Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna, often called India’s first superstar, died in Mumbai on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for his son-in-law said.

Khanna, 69, a popular actor in the 1970s, had been unwell for several months and had been discharged from hospital earlier this week.

His funeral is scheduled for Thursday, a spokeswoman for Khanna’s son-in-law, actor Akshay Kumar, told Reuters.

Khanna made his acting debut with “Aakhri Khat” but shot to fame three years later, playing a dashing young pilot in the 1969 hit “Aradhana”.

He featured in successful films such as “Amar Prem” and “Anand” over the next decade.


  1. Milind 9 years ago

    A man clad in Dhoti-Kurta was walking by the beach side with a song on his lips.The song was a reflection of the life he was about to witness post the immense success of Hrishikesh Da’s Anand. His rise was meteoric and I would say,he never fell,much against the popular theorem.23 hits,4 years…plethora of roles,varied characters,the man showed all his brilliance in those 4-5 years that others took 10 years to display. So should we blame it on him that he saturated himself in 5 years or should we blame it on others that they were not so endowed to be able to say it all in 5 years. Khanna was a pantheon in his own right. post the Raj-Devanand-Dilip trio and the jubilee success of Rajendra Kumar,he galvanised the 70mm with his cervical movements.Innocent Smile,Blazing charm and a towering persona,the man stood for all that an actor could. From a Raaz to Aradhana to Amar Prem to Red Rose and finally Avataar,he showed us why he was the singnature-ala-signature of effortless acting!If Anand showed him as a man closing in on his death,Baawarchi depicted him as the glue for Indian values.Never before and Never after has a superstar been able to do roles as Khanna did in the above two films,which are possibly the finest of Indain Cinema.That Bachchan shadowed him is no hidden truth but that he achieved far higher zenith than Bachchan is also not a fallacy. If Bachchan was the equivalent of mass acceptance..Khanna was the symbol of mass hysteria. Fanaticism crept in the Indian mindset,thanks to him.His presence defined the basis of where we stand today vis-a-vis the stardom theorem!Likes of Bachchan and SRK enjoy what he instituted. They borrowed the title from him. The irony is he gifted it to them rather than levy them with interest. Still the paradox is that the same deed made him immortal.A man on a Jeep by the side of a train singing “Mere Sapno ki Raani” as if to sync himself with the emotion of love is an immortal frame on the sands of time. Thanks Kaka for some glorious films. Safar remains my favourite!

  2. aryan 9 years ago


    ‘Achcha to hum chalte hain’: Rajesh Khanna bids a quiet adieu
    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.

    In an era long before this age of instant connect of mobile phones and internet, Rajesh Khanna was the man who sparked a frenzy never seen before and never since, not even by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan.

    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’.
    Truly, “O mere di ke chain”!

    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.

    It was all about charisma – a certain something that went beyond the art of acting. He had that unique way of delivering a dialogue, of crinkling his eyes and that interesting head tilt that were all his own – and designed to get fans swooning.

    Describing the charm of Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh once said: “I got famous purely because I was working with Rajesh Khanna in ‘Anand’. People asked me questions like, ‘How is he to look at? What does he do?'”

    The mega story had a small beginning in Amritsar. Born Jatin Arora 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.

    It was a fairly easy road to superstardom after that.

    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.

    Rajesh proved his mettle in offbeat films too. He teamed up with Hrishikesh Mukherjee for the critically acclaimed “Bawarchi” and “Namak Haram”. The quintessential romantic also did the intense “Avishkar”, directed by Basu Bhattacharya.

    But then age caught up and the star began fading away.

    He moved to television and played the main lead in two serials – “Ittefaque” and “Apne Paraye” during 2001-02 and also featured in “Raghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi” between 2008-09.

    The decline to B-grade films was inevitable. There was also the sorry “Wafa” with Laila Khan, who was found murdered this July.

    He dabbled in politics, being Congress MP from the New Delhi constituency from 1991-1996.

    Like the Hollywood legends of yore, the personal life also had a larger than life dimension.

    He fell in love with Dimple Kapadia, who was only 16 and whose first film “Bobby” was yet to release. She was 15 years younger to him but the pull was strong and they got married after a whwhirwind romance in 1973.

    It was the stuff of tabloid headlines. They had two daughters Twinkle and Rinke. The marriage lasted only 11 years.

    It was a lonely life for Rajesh after that. He disappeared from the headlines and appeared to be a shadow of his former self in his rare public appearances.

    But the family came together in his last days. His estranged wife was the one who took care of him during his illness. Son-in-law Akshay Kumar was also a great comfort.

    Rajesh reappeared in an ad a few months before his death, and once again became the talk of town – he was clearly unwell but the zest in his voice was intact as he intoned “Babumoshai” from his much loved film “Anand”.

    Like Anand from the film, the man is gone. But the memories will live on.


  3. sputnik 9 years ago

    RIP Rajesh Khanna.

    Today while driving to work I was listening to his songs from Aradhana and I thought I should post some old Rajesh Khanna stuff. I got stuck in traffic and opened up the website and this is the first thing I see.

    I liked Rajesh Khanna and his performances in quite a few movies like Aradhana, Safar, Kati Patang, Bawarchi, Ittefaq, Namak Haraam and most of all in Anand. Anand will always be one of the greatest movies ever made in Hindi Cinema and Rajesh Khanna’s career best performance one of the best performances ever.

    • Baba Ji 9 years ago

      Anand and bawarchi are among my top fav movies for any actor.Rajesh Khanna at his best.completely overshadowed amitabh in anand.he was in top form.RIP!

  4. sputnik 9 years ago

    Rajesh Khanna: 10 facts only a real fan would know

    1. Before he married Dimple Kapadia, Rajesh Khanna bought a lavish bungalow called Dimple from actor Rajendra Kumar and renamed it Aashirwad. The house had proved unlucky for “Jubilee” Kumar, but Rajesh Khanna delivered 15 hits in a row, a record still unbroken by any actor.

    2. As a struggling actor, Rajesh Khanna drove himself to work and back in his own MG sports car.

    3. Even though Rajesh Khanna had a 100% success rate with actress Mumtaz, delivering eight blockbuster films with her, Hema Malini was his heroine the most number of times. They appeared in 15 films together.

    4. Rajesh Khanna was the highest paid actor from 1970-79 and shared the honour with Amitabh Bachchan from 1980-87.

    5. His closest friends in Bollywood were singer Kishore Kumar and music director R D Burman.

    6. Rajesh Khanna’s debut film Aakhri Khat was India’s official Oscar entry in 1967. It didn’t make the final five cut.

    7. Director Shekhar Kapur offered Mr India to Rajesh Khanna first, who turned it down because he couldn’t relate to the invisible hero. The role finally went to Anil Kapoor.

    8. Before he made it big, Rajesh Khanna was called the “faaltu hero” because of his unconventional features. With stardom came very different epithets – Superstar and Pasha Of Passion.

    9. The “guru kurta” he made famous was originally the garment of choice of farmers and small time politicians.

    10. The song Roop Tera Mastana from Aradhana starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore made Bollywood history as the first single take shot.


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