|Rajesh Khanna |
Bollywood's original superstar and charismatic actor Rajesh Khanna, whose fan following was unprecedented in the annals of filmdom with his mannerisms and head tilt that left female fans in a frenzy, died at his residence in suburban Bandra after battling ill health for past four months. He was 69.
The suave romantic hero, who enacted serious roles with ease, was simply a phenomenon, churning out 15 box-office hits in a row, unheard of in the film trade. He featured in over 165 movies in a career spanning three decades. His very name spelt magic in the 1970s. He sparked hysteria, particularly among his legions of women fans, who would line the road for a glimpse and cover his car with lipstick marks.
Kaka, as he was fondly known, was one of the highest paid actors of his time, his record of consecutive solo super hits still stands unbroken 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'. The 1969 films 'Aradhana' and 'Do Raaste' were his super
hits- where he teamed up with two of his best co-stars, Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz, respectively.
Born Jatin in Amritsar on December 29, 1942, he became Rajesh, thanks to his uncle who changed his name,
when he decided to join films. In 1965, his 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.
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. He teamed up with director Hrishikesh Mukherjee for the critically acclaimed 'Anand; 'Bawarchi' and 'Namak Haram'. 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.
He featured in 'Wafa' with controversial Pakistani actor Laila Khan, who was found murdered earler this month. Khanna was Congress MP from the New Delhi constituency from 1991-1996. He fell in love with Dimple Kapadia, who was only 16 years old at the time, 15 years younger to him, and they got married after a whirlwind romance in 1973. The marriage lasted 11 years.