The Superstar is no more
Achha to hum chalte hain
Mumbai, July 18: Bollywood's original superstar Rajesh Khanna, who charmed his way into the hearts of millions of swooning female fans in the 1960s and 70s, died here today.
69-year-old Khanna, who shot to superstardom with the 1969 hit 'Aradhana' opposite Sharmila Tagore, passed away at his home, two days after being discharged from Lilawati hospital. He had been ailing since April.
Though a romantic hero, Khanna essayed a variety of roles with ease in his illustrious career spanning four decades. His portrayal as a cancer patient in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee-film 'Anand'(1971) in which he got the better of Amitabh Bachchan left many teary eyed.
Nicknamed "Kaka" by his adoring fans, he is survived by estranged actress wife Dimple Kapadia and daughters Twinkle and Rinkie, all of whom were by his side when his end came.
Khanna's family as also Lilawati Hospital authorities were tightlipped about the nature of the actor's illness.
According to sources close to the family, the cremation will take place tomorrow.
Vijay, a close friend of Khanna who had been interacting with the media since his illness, said, "Kaka's food intake had gone down over the last few days making him very weak."
The news of Khanna's death this afternoon spread like wildfire and hundreds of teary-eyed fans descended at his bungalow 'Ashirwad' in Bandra.
"My father-in-law is no more. 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," his actor son-in-law Akshay Kumar told waiting reporters and fans outside 'Ashirwad'.
Several Bollywood celebrities including actors Rishi Kapoor, Prem Chopra and film maker Sahid Khan visited Khanna's home to pay homage to the actor.
The veteran actor, who lived a secluded life of late, recently appeared for a commercial, his face and eyes sunken. His real fans were shocked to see him a pale shadow of his former self.
During his illustrious career Khanna gave 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 and 1972 including "Aradhana", "Haathi Mere Saathi", "Anand" and "Amar Prem".
Debuting with 'Akhri Khat' which he bagged after winning a talent contest in 1965, Khanna went on to star in over 180 films.
However, it was 'Aradhana' in 1969 opposite Sharmila that catapulted him to superstardom overnight.
His disarming smile and twinkling eyes made him the darling of millions. Female fans lined the streets he took, covered his car with kisses leaving lipstick marks, married his photographs and wrote love letters to him in blood while young men would sport his hairstyle.
Khanna won three Filmfare Best Actor Awards and was nominated for it 14 times. He was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
The commercial success of his films declined during 1976–78. After 1978, Khanna starred in critically acclaimed films such as "Amado", "Phir Wohi Raat", "Dard", "Dhanwan", "Avtaar" and "Agar Tum Na Hote".
If Khanna's rise to fame was meteoric, so was his fall from stardom. By the late 80s his charm at the box office had waned but it did not affect his personal charisma. He held a Lok Sabha seat from New
Delhi constituency as a Congressman from 1992 to 1996.
The actor, who married Dimple Kapadia, 15 years younger to him, in 1973, split with her in 1984 but the couple never divorced. Kapadia was constantly at Khanna's side during his illness.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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