Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood's first superstar, no more

Mumbai, July 18 (IANS) Rajesh Khanna, who epitomised superstardom in Hindi cinema in the 1970s with such immortals as "Anand", "Kati Patang" and "Aradhana", left for a "nice and heavenly place" Wednesday morning, his son-in-law and actor Akshay Kumar announced. He was 69.

Rajesh, Bollywood's first superstar and perhaps the only one to have reached those dazzling heights of fame, died at his home Ashirwad after a long battle with suspected liver problems.

His demise brought back memories of the charmer, lover and hero that he was to his family, fans and well-wishers. For them, his magic will remain forever.

"He has gone to a nice and heavenly place, we are happy about that," Rajesh's son-in-law Akshay Kumar, married to his elder daughter Twinkle, said after his death around 10 a.m.

When news of his critical health first came out on June 20, legion of his fans expressed concern. A day later, he stepped out in the company of Akshay Kumar and estranged wife Dimple Kapadia to tell his fans that all is well.

But clearly it wasn't.

He was a shadow of himself, gaunt and ravaged by illness, with glares covering the famous face that would once reduce women to a swoon.

On June 23, Kaka - as he was popularly known in the film world - was in the hospital, and the stay stretched for 15 days. Just a week after he was discharged, he was back to the hospital bed due to "weakness", but was allowed to go home soon after.

Though family members maintained he was "fine", Rajesh was said to be critical Wednesday morning and breathed his last at his Bandra home.

His family - estranged wife Dimple Kapadia and daughters Twinkle and Rinke - were by his side during his last moments, those close to the family said.

Film celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Sajid Khan, Farah Khan and Prem Chopra came to his residence to pay their respects after news of his demise spread.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni were amongst the political leaders who condoled the death of the star.

Thousands of his fans and industry members are expected to turn up for the funeral, scheduled at 11.30 a.m. Thursday.

Rajesh's death has brought the curtains down on an era in Hindi cinema - an era he defined with his prowess in romantic and emotional roles, an art that has inspired and continues to inspire several young actors and his legion of fans.

Summarising the phenomenon that Rajesh Khanna was, Anupam Kher said that "he gave us a crash course in romance. He introduced us to a special twinkle in the eyes that made us feel good about ourselves. Rajesh Khanna taught us how to smile. He added dignity to our concept of romance."

In his career spanning almost five decades, the actor featured in about 160 films, starting with "Aakhri Khat" in 1966.

Between "Aradhana" in 1969 and "Prem Kahani" in 1975, he enjoyed god-like status. Women would line the road for a glimpse, chant his name, cover his car with lipstick marks and even write him letters in blood.

It was nothing short of a mania. Then, the films faded away and so did the star. The years in between did see some films, some hits like "Avtaar" and some B-grade like the forgettable "Wafa", but the man had disappeared into the shadows.

His last few public appearances came as a shock to his fans. His last screen appearance was an ad for Havells fans, an eerie intimation of what was to come with Kaka reminiscing in an empty auditorium and music from his films echoing in the background.

"Babumoshai," he intoned deeply - the affectionate Bengali address he made all his own after "Anand".

That voice has been silenced.

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Yahoo Cricket

Latest News

  • 'Peterson Hill' set relocated

    Mumbai, May 25 (IANS) The set of comedy TV series "Peterson Hill" has reportedly been shifted from Film City, Goregaon to Panvel here. According to a source, the new set has been made with the same concept of the platform of Peterson Hill -- a hill station in Shimla -- and it will showcase train and tracks. Confirming the same, the source said in a statement: "Yes, the set has been moved to Panvel. …

  • Salman attends Arpita's wedding reception, gets taste of Himachali culture

    Mandi (Himachal Pradesh), May 25 (IANS) Bollywood superstar Salman Khan on Monday had a taste of Himachali culture when he savoured local delicacies during his foster sister's reception ceremony in this town. The reel-life hero also left the crowd swaying after he danced to the tunes of Himachali songs. Clad in full-sleeve round neck T-shirt and blue jeans, Salman wore sunglasses as he was accompanied by brother Sohail at Himachal Pradesh's Mandi town, located on the Chandigarh-Manali …

  • Eros International announces two new Tamil projects

    Chennai, May 25 (IANS) Eros International, a leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry, has announced the launch of two new Tamil films to be co-produced with RV Films, namely "Perai Thedia Natkal" and "Enkitta Mothathe", which will release by the end of the year. With plans to expand in the southern markets, apart from our marquee releases, we want to back projects with fresh concepts and scripts that help recognize promising talent in the industry," Sagar Sadhwani, …

  • 'Piku' crosses Rs. 100 crore mark worldwide

    Mumbai, May 25 (IANS) Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar's slice-of-life family entertainer "Piku", a beautiful tale of a father and a daughter's relationship, has collected Rs.100 crore worldwide. …

  • Shield hair from monsoon humidity

    This increased moisture in the hair makes the hair sticky, rough and frizzy depending upon the type of hair," Geeta Oberoi, managing director and founder member of Mumbai-based Skin & You Clinic, told IANS. "There is also some amount of hair loss happening due to all these factors," she said. "Light conditioners for oily hair and slightly stronger ones for the frizzy kind of hair," she said. …

  • Battle ropes become popular go-to fitness tools in U.S. gyms

    By Dorene Intenicola NEW YORK (Reuters) - Battle ropes, the thick and heavy ropes that look as if they could tether a ship to shore, have become go-to fitness tools in gyms for people seeking a tough workout that is also engaging and fun. Whipping, slamming, dragging and drumming the long, anchored ropes have long been used in training for sports like football, but fitness experts said they have now gone mainstream in gyms as an efficient workout routine. “It’s a little like running with the …

  • Myntra gets premium brands to India

    New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) In an endeavour to catch up with global trends, virtual application Myntra has added ten international brands like Replay, Cole Haan and SELA to its platform. Consumers can now shop from over 5,000 styles from brands such as Replay, Cole Haan, Scotch & Soda, SELA and Parfois, among others, available on Myntra's 'Premium' section, taking the number of international brands on the platform to 30. The new partnership brings stylish shoes and fashionable and trendy bags …

  • 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' spins box office magic, makers 'relieved'

    New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" director Anand L. Rai, who was under pressure over viewers' expectations from the film, is a relieved man. The sequel of the 2011 film "Tanu Weds Manu" marks the return of Kangana as Tanu, and a twin avatar -- Datto. The story of "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" starts from where the prequel ended. …

Loading...