Rajesh Khanna’s dinner was never over without Mithai & Paan

Bharati Dubey, TNN Jul 24, 2012, 02.10AM IST

MUMBAI: Rajesh Khanna always ended his dinner with a paan, which he would himself buy from his two favourite shops, either Mishra Paan Bhandar at Juhu or Paagal Paanwala on Turner Road.

The superstar’s friend for 11 years, Prakash Rohra, said, “He wanted paan after dinner and preferred to go and buy them himself. There were times when I would buy his paan from the Mishra shop in Juhu or we would drive to Turner Road where Paagal Paanwala is situated.”

Khanna’s usual was a Calcutta sada or sometimes, a magai paan. Manoj Yadav of Paagal Paanwala, where the actor would visit at least thrice a week at one point of time, said, “He stopped coming since last year. He usually came with friends in a red Zen and there used to be a lady with him. He would step out of the car and buy two paans, one he would eat there and the other he would get packed to take away. He would praise my paan.”

Like paan, Khanna had another favourite, without which his dinner would never be complete: sweets. Echoing Khanna’s co-actress Asha Parekh, Rohra said, “Khanna loved caramel custard and moong daal halwa. But he had stopped eating most sweets in the past year, he would have only the sugar-free ones. Once when I called him to say I was going to Allahabad, he asked me to bring back maathi (a sweet samosa) from there. I got specially made sugar-free samosas for him.”

His array of desserts was not restricted to the Indian varieties, ice creams occupying a top slot on his “cherish” list. He would often visit Natural Ice Creams on Hill Road. An attendant at the shop said the star liked the seasonal flavoured ones but Khanna’s alleged live-in partner, Anita Advani, maintained chocolate was his personal favourite. “We used to stand outside the shop and have ice creams,” she said.

And when it came to food, he would not stop at travelling all the way to Malshej Ghat near Pune, where he would Sushant Dhaba. “If we travelled to places like Shirdi, Kakaji liked to visit Sushant Dhaba for his food.” Another getaway that was popular with Khanna was Shangrila Resort in Kalyan. The resort marketing manager, Lenin Fernandes, said, “He liked staying in our Maharaja suite, which has a pool attached to it. He preferred staying indoors.” Rohra, who often booked the room for him, said, “When he would feel low and wanted to go out of the city, we would drive to this place and spend a couple of days there. We would drink and order a huge platter of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. But his day ended with a glass of cold milk. He would tell me, ‘Prakash, we drink, which causes acidity and milk is an antidote’.”

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