Born as Jatin Khanna to Leelawati Khanna and Chunnilal Khanna; our very own “babumoshai” Rajesh Khanna was a legendary film actor, politician and producer. He is a synonym to the word "superstar" and you might likely hear “original superstar” or “first superstar” often when you talk about this extremely talented member of the film fraternity. He is often remembered as the man who gave 15 back to back solo hit films in a span of unbelievable 3 years from 1969 to 1971.
He has added a total of 17 short films and 160 feature films into his career kitty. It was a glorious period from 1970 to 1987 when he was the highest paid actor of the Indian film industry and Amitabh joined the league with the same tag between 1980-87.Not only did he awe everyone with his charm and aura, Rajesh Khanna even contested and won the Lok Sabha elections from New Delhi and represented the capital between 1992-1996. Rajesh Khanna, the heart-throb of millions, fell in love with actress and fashion designer Anju Mahendru initially.
However, the relationship came to an end after seven years. Reportedly, the couple did not interact with each other for around 17 years. Meanwhile, In 1973, Rajesh Khanna got hitched to the pretty Dimple Kapadia who was about to make her debut with Bobby in 8 months. The couple is blessed with two daughters Rinke (married to Samir Saran) and Twinkle Khanna (widely popular as Mrs. Funnybones) who is married to Akshay Kumar. The couple Dimple and Rajesh did not complete the proceedings of the divorce, however, got separated in 1984; though they kept good terms with each other.After his prolonged illness, Rajesh Khanna breathed her last on 18 July 2012. Around 9 Lakh fans crowded in front of his house to pay respect to their "Anand"!
Jatin or Rajesh Khanna was born in Amritsar on 29 December 1942 and was adopted by his foster parents. His biological father Lala Hiranand was the headmaster of MC High School in Pakistan's Burewala. Both of them moved to Bombay from Lahore in the year 1935 and worked as railway contractors. Khanna's biological mother had promised the child to his aunt Leelawati and that's how our superstar's life began. Jatin attended St. Sebastian's Goan High School along with the then Ravi Kapoor (and today's Jeetendra) and used to reside in Saraswati Niwas of Girgaon. Soon, he began attending and participating in many of his school and college theatre plays and his interest in the field grew more and more.
In the year 1962, impressed by his performance of a wounded soldier in a play called “Andha Yug”, the cheif guest suggested him to get into the industry. This is how the early sixties witnessed Khanna in his MG sports car struggling to find work in theatre and cinema world.
After finishing their Bachelors of Arts from Nowrosjee Wadia College, Jeetendra and Jatin went up to the K.C. College to finish their further studies. Jatin prepared Jeetendra for his first film audition. It was during this time that Kaka (punjabi name for baby faced boy) decided to pick films as his career. KK Talwar- Rajesh Khanna's uncle, changed his name from Jatin to Rajesh upon his decision to enter the film industry.
The man who rose in the crowd of 10,000 contestants at the 1965 All India Talent Contest, upon the judgement of renowned directors like BR Chopra, GP Sippy, Bimal Roy, Mohan Saigal, Nasir Husain and many more; was about to shape the Indian cinema's future. Rajesh Khanna began his impressive career with Aakhri Khat in 1966 and Raaz in 1967 after which the offers never stopped pouring. His first movie became India's first entry into the 40th Oscar Academy Awards and projects like Ittefaq, Aradhana, Baharon Ke Sapne, Doli and Aurat gave him instant national fame.
There is hardly anyone in the industry who hasn't worked with Rajesh Khanna in his days. Popular actresses of that time like Asha Parekh, Hema Malini, Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore and Zeenat Aman shared great chemistry with the actor. The trio R.D. Burban, Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna became the famous trio and Kishore Kumar became the official playback singer for Khanna for his lifetime. Not many know that Rajesh Khanna gave Jawed Akhtar-Salim Khan the opportunity to become screenplay writers in early 70's, with Haathi Mere Saathi. It was also the time when he bought his bungalow Ashirwaad (then Dimple). Hundreds and thousands of fans would be there for him outside his home every day and every night, mass of which were women kissing his car, writing him letters with blood and what not. This wide fanfare of his led to the cancellation of a shoot at the Howrah Bridge out of the fear that it might collapse with the weight of the fans.
Rajesh Khanna ruled the industry with his back to back 15 solo hits and two non solo hero movies Maryada and Andaz. He often quoted that Guru Dutt, Geeta Bali and Meena Kumari were his idols.Films like Tyaag, Mehbooba, Chakravyuha, Janta Hawaldar etc gained a cult status even when they were not much successful at the box office. To some extent the change from romantic movies to other genres led to his career's slowdown for a while until Joy Mukherjee's Chhailla Babu in 1977 which boosted his career once again.
In the 80's, Rajesh Khanna paved way for commercial films with good critical reviews. He starred opposite Shabana Azmi, Poonam Dhillon, Smita Patil, Tina Munim and many great actresses in movies like Fifty Fifty, Babu, Ram Avtar, Dard, Kudrat, Amar Deep etc. The cycle of time completed when he was doing movies with his childhood friend Jeetendra. Out of Nishaan, Dharam Kanta and Maqsad, Maqsad earned a whooping 8.5 crores at the box-office.
In 1984, these digits were surpassed when Bewafai touched 11.95 crores return. His final movie before his political career was released in 1990 namely Swarg. Another singer-duo which was greatly popular and admired during Khanna’s time was the Lakshmikant-Pyarelal pair. They often praised Khanna and called him lucky for them. During the 90s, Rajesh Khanna declined most of the offers and appeared in only a few films like Aa Ab Laut Chalen, Pyar Zindagi Hai, Pyar Zindagi Hai, Wafaa etc.
Khanna Saab then shifted to TV serials and did many series like Ittefaq, Raghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi, Bhabhima and Aapne Parai. He was also the lifetime member of AAFT (Asian Academy of Film and Television), International Film and Television Club and the International Film and Television Research Centre. He was associated with Star se Superstar tak where he donated a gold trophy worth a crore. Even his political career became a matter of talks in the country when he lost in his 1991 elections and regained the seat in 1992 with a by-election. He remained in the INC till 1996 and further became a political activist for the party and campaigned till the Punjab Elections in 2012.
Ill Health and Death:
In 2011, Rajesh Khanna's health began deteriorating due to cancer. He was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital on June 23, 2012 and re-admitted on July 14. Rajesh Khanna breathed his last on 18th of July 2012 in presence of his family and close relatives. 9 lakh people flocked on Mumbai roads for his funeral. There was a lathi charge in order to control the crowd. On his chautha, a special recorded message by Khanna was played in which he thanked his family members, friends and fans for all the love.
Finally, on the 25th of July, his ashes were submerged in Ganges by his daughter Rinke and wife Dimple Kapadia.
Wishes and Words:
Actors ranging from Jeetendra to Shahrukh Khan paid their tribute and homage to the pulse of Hindi cinema. Messages on Social Media began pouring at an instant. Some of them were:
"The word 'superstar' was invented for him, and for me it shall ever remain his, and no others .. !!His generation and the generations that follow, shall never be able to describe, or understand his phenomena .. !!"
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 Rajesh Khanna.
"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."
Very unfortunate to hear about the demise of Rajesh Khanna Ji. While growing up I watched so many of his movies as my whole family admired him as an actor. He will live on in our hearts forever. May his soul rest in peace.
He was a great actor, truly a superstar no doubt about it. I am honoured to have done playback for him. I have worked for him in several movies and actors like him are a rarity."
Another of Hindi cinema's giants passes, Rajesh Khanna. Our sincere condolences to his family. We will miss him dearly.
If u weren't there, and you did not see it, you will never again experience an event that hit the nation like a hurricane as #RIPRajeshKhanna did.
"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.
With his unique persona, Rajesh Khanna ji made a special & unforgettable place in the hearts of Indians! May his soul rest in peace.
"Babumoshai eto bhalo bhasha bhalo na..."Anand, Kati Patang, Bawarchi and many more... What a legacy you've left behind. RIP Rajesh Khannaji.
Even the (then) President of India- Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled his death. His Prayer Meeting was attended by Jaya Prada, Padmini Kohlapuri, Aamir Khan, Govinda, Neelam, Mithun Charaborthy, Reena Roy, Tabu, Jackie Shross, Sonali Bendre, Bindu and many more.
Awards and Recognition:
On 30 April 2013, at the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards, Rajesh Khanna was officially conferred with the title of “The First Superstar of Indian Cinema”. He was also awarded with Padma Bhushan - India's third largest civilian honour and Dada Saheb Phalke Legendary Golden Actor Award. To pay tribute to the man of legends, he has been honored with a statue, a stamp and a road renamed in his memory. Bombay Superstar by BBC was based on Rajesh Khanna's life.
Recently launched Mrs. Funnybones, by Twinkle Khanna, is dedicated to his father – The king of Romance! He has also won several laurels at Filmfare, Star Guild, Zee Cine, Stra Dust and IIFA Awards. He has been nominated the Bengal Film Journalist’ Association – Best Actor Award 20 times and the Filmfare Best Actor Award for 11 times. All India Critics Association has also awarded and nominated him several times. Rajesh Khanna is the proud winner of 16 Best Actor Awards and whooping 51 nominations in the same category!
His life and his achievements cannot be walled into articles or essays or books. We will be indebted forever for his great contributions to the film industry and our lives. All anyone can really pen down is “The Original King of Romance, our very own Rajesh Khanna, will be missed forever!”
Wife: Dimple Kapadia
Daughters: Twinkle Khanna, Rinke Khanna
Son-in-Laws: Akshay Kumar, Sameer Saran
Grandchildren: Aarav Kumar, Nitara Khanna, Naomika Saran
(FAN OF Mr. RAJESH KHANNA)
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