Late Super Star Rajesh Khanna Honored With Life Time Achievement Award At 5th GFFN

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna with tags on December 9, 2013 by manoharv2009


Late Rajesh Khanna Honored

“Rajesh Khanna appeared in a total of 180 films – 163 feature films and 17 short films He won three Filmfare Best Actor Awards and was nominated for the same fourteen times. He received the most BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) – four times and nominated 25 times informed Sandeep Marwah President GFFN.

In 1991, Rajesh Khanna was awarded the Filmfare Special Award for completing 25 years in the industry, appearing in a record 101 films as the single lead hero in a span of 25 years. In 2005, he was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award

Rajesh Khannas made his debut in 1966 with Aakhri Khat and rose to prominence with his performances in films like Raaz, Baharon Ke Sapne Ittefaq and Aradhana He had 35 Golden Jubilee Hits.

Ashok Tyagi a friend to Rajesh Khanna and Director of his last film RIYASAT accepted the honor from Former Chief Election Commissioner of India G.V.G. Krishanmurthy at 5th Global Film Festival Noida to be delivered to the family at Mumbai.

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Super Star Rajesh Khanna – The last romantic hero of indian cinema

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna on November 24, 2013 by manoharv2009


Soma Ghosh
19 July 2012, 10:43 PM IST


A toy train chugs its way up the winding tracks of Darjeeling and takes a turn, perhaps, at the Batasia Loop. A beautiful young girl sits by one of the windows, engrossed in a book. The camera closes in upon her as she looks up from her book to watch the hills in the distance. The faint sound of a harmonica draws her attention. The camera pans out on to an open jeep that drives up another bend and joins the road running parallel to the rail track. Two young men, in Nepali hats are seen on the jeep, one driving while the other breaks away from his harmonica and breaks into, “mere sapnon ki rani kab ayegi tu…”

The rest, as they say, is history. The dimpled, harmonica playing young man who smiled boyishly, crinkling his eyes rode directly into the hearts of almost all young girls of that time and a new star was born. His female following and their hero worship reached a new height for the first time in the history of Indian cinema. The frenzy that surrounded him, the way women threw themselves at him, lined the streets in front of his house to get a glimpse of him, wrote love letters penned in blood, married his photographs, the mass hysteria that surrounded him gave him the crown of the “super star” of Indian cinema. The first of his kind.

This had happened much before I could understand or appreciate cinema. By the time I started watching movies, it was the 80s. I watched him, but only on television, first in black and white and then in colour. By the time I had caught on to his movies, his super stardom was already on the wane. 

But the radio had shared some magical songs with me during my growing years that I later realized were picturised on him. To tell you the truth, even though those were the songs I lived for in my adolescent days, wishing that some day some starry eyed boy would sing them quite as romantically, to woo me, I had failed to understand why he was called the “superstar”. His mannerisms, the nod of his head, the way he almost danced but never really did, the way he tilted his head and smiled, the wink of his eyes, the drama in his voice when he spoke – I liked all of that but never understood why they induced a mass hysteria among women of another generation.   

Today, here in Mumbai, a light rain was falling from the morning. I was watching the last journey of the superstar of yesteryears, laid down on a bed of white mogras, and surrounded by white lilies and orchids. I watched the crowd that had brought traffic to a halt in that part of the suburb since yesterday. And I still wondered why. Was it only because that in India we place the man on the celluloid high above the celstial stars? Do we immortalize them because they match our fantasies? Do they embody all that we, as lesser beings, can never dream to become or achieve? 

Later in the afternoon, I was strolling down the pavement, on my way to run some errands. The neighbourhood taxi stand was a little more crowded than usual and I would have passed by without wondering why. But I thought I heard something that drew my attention to the motley crowd of Sardarjis. They had gathered round an aging gentleman in a yellow turban and long, flowing beard, while he sang “mere sapnon ki rani kab ayegi tu…”  thumping on the bonnet of his taxi to keep the beat. The crowd cheered and a young man requested , “Abhi Anand da gana …”

I had also spent a part of the morning on three long distance calls. I spoke to three women, who want to remain unnamed, for reasons they know best and are from that generation when Rajesh Khanna was the superstar. Two of them had seen the meteoritic rise of the star and had witnessed the frenzy for the star among their peers. The third was someone who introduced me to the music that I still hold close to my heart and is responsible in shaping my likes and dislikes in terms of cinema. I asked them the same question, individually. I had to know “Why did Rajesh Khanna become the super star that he was? What was it about him that evoked such a craze among the women of his time?”

By their own submission, they belonged to a much more conservative time. Love, romance were things of another world, from another dimension, mostly found between the pages of novels. And as Jack Pizzey points out in his 1973 BBC documentary on Rajesh Khanna, “Eight Indians out of ten still marry by arrangement to partners they scarcely knew before the wedding, so they are fascinated by the story like this one where the hero falls in love with the heroine and then marries her.”

“Those were simpler days. We had much less to pay attention to outside our limited conservative, middle class life. Cinema was one of the very few forms of entertainment that vied for our attention and we had very few stars to admire. Watching a man wooing a woman in a dark theatre was thrilling. And afterwards, we had a lot of time to think and sigh about the hero, discuss his mannerisms and read tit bits of trivia available in film magazines. So the stars automatically became larger than life. I’d have my heart racing in anticipation just watching Rajesh Khanna tilt his head, wink and smile that smile of his.” came the first candid reply from a lady who I knew to be reserved. Discussing movies and movie stars in her presence were always frowned upon in my girlhood days.  

“You have to understand that women by nature  are romantic while men most often find it difficult to express themselves. Men of our times were stoic and social norms came in the way of such open show of affection or expressing emotions. When Rajesh Khanna broke into the scene, there was none who were like him. The earlier heroes were either aging or lacked romantic appeal. His simplicity, the way he looked into the eyes of the heroine, the way he pined for love and that twinkle in his eyes – they were the sum total of everything a woman of our time could ever imagine.” Shared one of the voices on the telephone. “He embodied the romance that was missing in our lives. He was breathing life into the idea of romance as we always imagined romance would be.”

“You know, when I would hear all those songs on the radio, I would imagine the situation in my mind and when I watched him lip syncing with the same song on screen, everything fell into place. Everything that I’d imagine about the hero, the way he looks into the heroine’s eyes, the way he would embrace her or play with her hair perhaps, everything matched. His mannerisms were something that none had inflicted upon us before. His voice had a silky smoothness. His smile had a boyish charm. And the way he looked at his woman that melted our hearts to the core. That’s why he was so popular among girls of our times.” reasoned the woman for whom life was fun in spite of how twisted it was in reality.

“In most of the movies that preceded his, the hero always had to scale the wall that society would build between the girl and him or bridge social differences. Love would happen much later after a lot of the boulders were removed. The hero and heroine would perhaps sing a song or two and voila, the movie was over. Rajesh Khanna dared to break down that wall. He would dare to fall head over heels in love and did not make any bones about it. And the girl in question would become the centre of all his attention from the word “go”. And contrary to most of the heroes of his time, who were always larger than life, he ripped open his heart and cried if the character required to. That brought him much closer to earth, closer to where we dwelled in reality. And I’ve seldom seen anybody celebrating life the way he did in movies that saw him die at the end.”

“Who wouldn’t want to be wooed the way he wooed his heroines? What made him larger than life was his portrayal of a man closer to reality, someone who we could relate to. He seemed like the boy next door, the everyman and not a super human. We lived with an image of romance in our mind, an abstract idea. Our lives and times were devoid of the thrill of real life romance and he filled up that void with his charisma and sweet romance.”

So the man who is no more, did he symbolise romance on screen in such a way that his passing has taken away the promise of romance from a whole generation’s life? I wonder. 



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Remembering the poetic masculinity Rajesh Khanna’s lady love has been revealed

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna on October 28, 2013 by manoharv2009


Men, actress Mumtaz loved and lost!
Shammi Kapoor, Dara Singh, and now Rajesh Khanna. A week before her 65th birthday, Mumtaz revisits men, movies and marriag

His films release the middle class from questions of class and social conformity, and allow for an exploration of what it means to be an individual in those times. The time that was to follow when a new era was ushered in by the arrival of Amitabh Bachchan, grappled with a completely new set of questions that were rooted in identity and class and an overall disappointment with father figures.

Shammi Kapoor, Dara Singh, and now Rajesh Khanna. A week before her 65th birthday, Mumtaz revisits men, movies and marriage
 She was only 26 when she left the musty studios of Mumbai to marry Mayur Madhwani, head of one of the largest conglomerates in Uganda, and moved into manors in Mombasa andLondon.

The last few months have given actress Mumtaz a reason to revisit a world she left behind with ease. The deaths of Shammi Kapoor, Dara Singh, and now Rajesh Khanna, make the Mumtaz story fresh again. Shammi, who she loved intensely but couldn’t marry. Dara Singh, who agreed to pair opposite a B-grade rookie, and gave her stunt princess status. And Rajesh Khanna, in whose superstardom, she shimmered. Right from Bindiya chamkegi to Jai Jai Shiv Shankar, their ditties rocked the airwaves and box office. Excerpts from a long-distance chat:

What memories of Rajesh Khanna do you carry with you?
I met him on the sets of Do Raaste. He was choosy about his friends, very reserved. I was flattered to be his close friend. I was voluptuous, so he’d always say, ‘Aye moti, idhar aa…” He was a perennial latecomer. He wasn’t strong on dance or rhythm, so, when we did combination shots, main sambhaal leti thi. The dance masters would cheat with his close-ups (laughs). We had trouble doing the Chal dariya mein doob jaaye (Prem Kahani) song. But we managed somehow.

When did you last meet him?
Rajesh wasn’t meeting anyone for a while. Thanks to Dimple (Kapadia) and Anju (Mahendroo), I got to meet him at his bungalow, Aashirwaad. We spoke about my fight against cancer and surviving chemotherapy. Dimple said they were ordering all the things he liked to eat, but he wouldn’t eat anything. She joked that they ended up eating all the stuff. I gave him duas, and said he’d survive his ailment.

They say Shammi Kapoor and Jeetendra were in love with you…
I was lucky that men wanted to marry me. There was an attraction, yes, but I didn’t act on it. I’d wake up at 4 am every day, and reach the studios on the dot at 9. I had far too many responsibilities to have affairs. There was no time for love and romance. Of course, I was fond of Jeetu. Dharmendra was an attractive man. Dev saab was so handsome. But it’s not always necessary to have an affair with your co-stars. You can admire them from a distance (laughs).

But Shammiji was keen to marry you.
I was all of 18, and in love with Shammi Kapoor while we were filming Brahmachari. He wanted me to give up my career, but I wasn’t ready. I had my family to look after. I had lost my mother during Boond Jo Ban Gaye Moti.

What comes to mind when I say Rajesh Khanna and Shammi Kapoor?
Jaise meri life mein doosra Rajesh Khanna nahin ho sakta…waise hi doosra Shammi Kapoor bhi nahin ho sakta.

Is it true that heroes had refused to work with you because you started as a stunt film heroine?
Yes. Dharamji (Dhamendra) refused. Later, of course, we did Loafer. Shashi Kapoor refusedSachaa Jhutha because he was cast opposite me. Later, when I was about to get married, he was keen that I work with him. We did Chor Machaye Shor just before I quit the industry. I’m grateful to Dara Singh, who was the hero in all my stunt films. He could have said no, like the others. I’m also eternally grateful to Dilip saab ( Dilip Kumar), who agreed to act opposite me inRam aur Shyam.

You and Sharmila Tagore never got along. Is that true?
It wasn’t rivalry. She was born with a golden spoon. Her first film was opposite Shammi Kapoor (Kashmir Ki Kali), and she became an instant star. I started with supporting roles opposite Shammiji in films like Brahmachari. Perhaps because both, Sharmila and I, did several films with Rajesh Khanna, the press wrote rubbish. But the fact is, heroines cannot be friends, not then, not now. We didn’t do dinners or hang out together. It’s always been like that.

But even as a supporting actress, you got some memorable songs like Aaj Kal Tere Mere, that gave you the chance to make a fashion statement.
All credit for that goes to Bhanu Athaiya (costume designer). I was uncomfortable dancing in a saree. So, she made me one with readymade pleats, and a zipper on the side. That became the ‘Mumtaz saree’. Funnily, Aaj Kal Tere Mere was a song composed for a Nasir Hussain film for Dev Anand. Dev saab rejected it, and we used it for Brahmachari. Kismet dekho! The style is aped even today. Recently, Manish Malhotra (costume designer) told me he had made something similar for Priyanka Chopra.

Apparently, producers told every heroine, including Rekha and Neetu Singh, to ape you? Any actor today who you think imitates you?
I don’t think actresses today resemble me. I had too much of a pug nose. The only one who comes close is Shah Rukh Khan’s wife Gauri. I’m told the director of Dhadkan asked the heroine ( Mahima Chaudhary) to imitate my steps from Zindagi Ittefaq Hai (Aadmi aur Insaan) for a dance number in the film (Aksar is dunia mein). They say Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumarare my fans (laughs). No, I don’t ask them if they were in love with me. They treat me with so much respect.

Back then, were star wives jealous of your sassiness?
I’m not sure if I left star wives insecure. Magar ek aurat doosri khubsoorat aurat ko dekhke zaroor jalti hai. Upfront, everyone was nice to me. I never bothered to find out what they said behind my back.

And you gave it all up at the peak of your career.
There’s a time for every woman to get married. You should seize that moment. Several heroines of that time didn’t get married. They’re still single. I found a good man who loved me, so I chucked it all. I was fed up of films. I had planned the wedding in advance. A year after I got married, Prem Kahani, Roti and Aap Ki Kasam released. I refused Safar, Haathi Mere Saathi… because I was hellbent on getting married. Despite that, the phone never stopped ringing, whether I was in Mombasa or London.

For a superstar, marriage must’ve been an adjustment.
Yes. My husband comes from a traditional Gujarati family, and loved his food. I learnt to make dal-dhokli, undhiyu and khandvi. Today, I’m a fairly good cook.

But your marriage hit a rough patch when your husband got involved with another woman. I’m practical. I had two beautiful daughters and a husband who loved me immensely. I was not going to give up a marriage because of a stray incident. My husband is not a flirt; he’s a good-looking man. He made a mistake. Rather than dumping him, I chose to be by his side, and we tided the rough weather together. At the end of the day, I’m his wife. That’s what matters.

You had a tough pregnancy, didn’t you?
After a string of miscarriages, I gave birth to my first child. I spent six months of my pregnancy stuck in bed, staring at the ceiling. So my kids mean a lot to me.

Will you return to the movies?
What will I gain? I don’t want to play Shah Rukh’s mom or Akshay’s aunt.

In terms of style, Rajesh Khanna traded the extravagant for the conversational and spoke as if he meant what he said. Perhaps the secret to his success with women, was his ability to speak to them as persons rather than only through the lens of gender or appearance. In speaking to the person inside rather than the woman outside, in peering deeper into the eyes and valuing what lay hidden there, he brought women closer  to the imagined ideal of what cultural psychologist Sudhir Kakar calls a ‘two-person universe’

that exists between a man and woman; one where each ‘finally recognises the other’. His romantic style eschewed grand gestures relying instead on thoughtful attention communicated through gaze rather than touch. In his pivotal films, the freshness of youth masked a deeper maturity that combined attractiveness with a promise of deeper understanding. In some ways, Khanna embodied the best that could be imagined of a middle class Indian man, particularly from the viewpoint of a woman.

In contrast to the prosaic concerns of most Hindi film heroes , Rajesh Khanna represented the more poetic side of masculinity, one which exuded vulnerability but presented it a form of thoughtfulness, rather than insecurity. Romance deepened the intimacy between man and woman; it was a fire that glowed deep and burned long.

It is almost as if we were waiting for the man to die so that we could remember him. Not as he was at the time of his death but as we experienced him so many years ago. There is something about his influence that was so distinctive and deep that once it is possible to remember him again, memory gushes forth and sentiment washes over us. It is not unusual for stars to burn brightly for a short time and then fade away, but in Rajesh Khanna’s case, this pattern played out with such intensity so as to become uncomfortable. It is as if he lived only for five years, between 1969 (Aradhana) and 1973(Namak Haram), with the rest of his life, whether before or after, seeming to count for very little.

In all that has written about him after his passing, it seems even clearer that there was something that was terminally elusive about him and the success he enjoyed. The dazzling degree of adulation he attracted is difficult to explain using the usual explanations- there was little by way of physical appearance nor was he a teenage heart-throb. He did not connect with any dominant social issue of the time; his films do not have the kind of underlying thematic unity that Amitabh Bachchan’s work does. He worked with the kind of directors who made quiet films rather than epic blockbusters; it is very difficult to imagine films like Anand and Amar Prem generating mass hysteria.

What is easier to grasp is the distinctive nature of his films and his on-screen persona. Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of his best work is the emphasis on issues that are personal rather than the social. Few of his films use the familiar tropes of the day- he is rarely found embedded in a social context- his roles tended to focus on the individual, rather than the background he came from. He has been cast as Army officer, an artist, or often someone from an undefined profession and background. The questions his films dealt with were about the significant issues that we face as individuals in our everyday life. His films release the middle class from questions of class and social conformity, and allow for an exploration of what it means to be an individual in those times. The time that was to follow when a new era was ushered in by the arrival of Amitabh Bachchan, grappled with a completely new set of questions that were rooted in identity and class and an overall disappointment with father figures.

In terms of style, Rajesh Khanna traded the extravagant for the conversational and spoke as if he meant what he said. Perhaps the secret to his success with women, was his ability to speak to them as persons rather than only through the lens of gender or appearance. In speaking to the person inside rather than the woman outside, in peering deeper into the eyes and valuing what lay hidden there, he brought women closer  to the imagined ideal of what cultural psychologist Sudhir Kakar calls a ‘two-person universe’ that exists between a man and woman; one where each ‘finally recognises the other’. His romantic style eschewed grand gestures relying instead on thoughtful attention communicated through gaze rather than touch. In his pivotal films, the freshness of youth masked a deeper maturity that combined attractiveness with a promise of deeper understanding. In some ways, Khanna embodied the best that could be imagined of a middle class Indian man, particularly from the viewpoint of a woman.

In contrast to the prosaic concerns of most Hindi film heroes , Rajesh Khanna represented the more poetic side of masculinity, one which exuded vulnerability but presented it a form of thoughtfulness, rather than insecurity. Romance deepened the intimacy between man and woman; it was a fire that glowed deep and burned long. Even death in his world is imagined as a form of poetry (Maut tu ek kavita hai in Anand) rather than a sordid fact of life. The balance of poetry with masculinity was managed by his own persona as well as through the masculine timbre of Kishore Kumar (as against the mellifluous gentleness of say, a Hemant Kumar) in whose voice the poetry came to life. His films are more adult too, in that they deal with issues of life and death, love and loss, expectations and regret. Most of his popular songs philosophise in an accessible way about the deeper issues that underpin everyday life, and are tinged with a sense of mild incomprehension as to what life is all about.

Rajesh Khanna’s tragedy was that when youthfulness thickened into maturity, he was revealed to be just another middle-aged man. His face and body lost the freshness that had masked his morose conservatism, the poetry became a set of practised mannerisms and time and social context pulled the rug from under his feet. He lived the rest of his life in reverse, seeing it recede through the wrong end of the binoculars, beginning with his hey days, till he was barely a distant speck in our consciousness.

When we see Anand, Amar Prem, Aradhana, Safar, Bawarchi or Aavishkar today, we are transported back to another era not only because these are older films but because they expressed a side of us that has rarely been spoken to since. Before a time when cinema became raging spectacle, there seemed to be a brief period when we had the time for thoughtful individuality. The middle class began to take itself less seriously at around this time, as the larger reality of urban India elbowed its way into our consciousness. We miss that Rajesh Khanna of the crinkly eyes and the quiet gesture because in him we saw a reflection of who we would have liked to see in the mirror. Once upon a time.


Rajesh Khanna Retrospective: A Tribute to Indian Cinema’s Greatest Superstar

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna on October 24, 2013 by manoharv2009

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Rajesh Khanna Retrospective: A Tribute to Indian Cinema’s Greatest Superstar
Our Tribute to Indian Cinema’s Greatest Superstar: Rajesh Khanna

rajesh khanna, anand, directed by hrishikesh mukherjee

It’s a very sad day for Indian Cinema. The nation has lost its first superstar. Veteran Actor Rajesh Khanna has passed away at the age of 69, leaving behind a legacy of inspiration not only for actors or artistes but also for the entire youth of the nation. He is survived by his wife Dimple Kapadia and two daughters Twinkle and Rinke. My heart is filled with grave sadness and my eyes are on the brink of shedding tears but I dare not cry, for someone very dear had once so emphatically stated: “Pushpa, I hate tears!” 2012 has been a very sad year for Hindi Cinema, one that has witnessed three of the most prominent stars from the movie galaxy phase into abysmal darkness. First, it was veteran actor Joy Mukherjee who passed away back in March followed by the demise of Rustam-E-Hind, Dara Singh on the 12th of this month. And, today, the heartthrob of the nation, superstar Rajesh Khanna.

Rajesh Khanna, popularly known as Kaka, was the first actor in Indian Cinema to be crowned as “superstar”. Khanna still holds the record of delivering 15 back-to-back solo hits between 1969 and 1972. It was this spree of unprecedented success that catapulted Khanna into superstardom. Rajesh Khanna (birth name Jatin Khanna) was born in Amritsar on 29 December 1942. After the untimely demise of his parents, Khanna was brought up by foster parents who were relatives of his biological parents. Right from an early age, Khanna showed his interest in theater and drama. After brewing his talent in theater, Khanna came to Mumbai (then Bombay) in the early 1960s to start his acting struggle. Khanna shot to fame by winning the All India Talent Contest organized by Filmfare and United Producers where he overhauled ten thousand fellow contestants. By the virtue of his win, Khanna also secured berths in two Hindi feature films: Aakhri Khat, directed by Chetan Anand and Raaz, directed by Ravindra Dave. And the rest is history.

From the late-60s to the mid-70s, Rajesh Khanna was at the pinnacle of stardom. The fans would queue outside his bungalow to get a mere glimpse of his while the producers would wait for months just to get his dates. He would often get mobbed by his fans at shooting locations and functions while his hysteric female fans would send him love letters written in their blood. “Girls married themselves to photographs of Rajesh Khanna, cutting their fingers and applying the blood as sindoor. Rajesh was God, there has never been such hysteria,” reminisces renowned film critic Monojit Lahiri. Khanna was such a phenomenon that even his collaborators used to bask in his starry glory. This applied to his female leads, male co-actors, directors, producers, and also playback singers. While actresses like Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh, and Mumtaz blossomed in Khanna’s stellar presence, the Hindi Cinema also witnessed the resurgence of singer Kishore Kumar, courtesy the “Kishore-Khanna” connection. The duo of Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar, bolstered by musical genius of R. D. Burman, became the most successful actor-singer pair in the history of Indian Cinema as the latter became the official voice of the former on the celluloid. Even today when Amitabh Bachchan is widely regarded as the superstar of the millennium, Khanna’s superstardom remains unparalleled, for never again in the history of Indian cinema has any actor succeeded in sustaining such unmatched supremacy. Interestingly, it was Bachchan’s supporting acts in Rajesh Khanna starrer Anand (1971) and Namak Haraam (1973) that had finally helped him gain identity in Hindi Cinema during his early days. Coincidently, it was also Khanna who had helped Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar get their first break as screenplay writers. Saleem and Javed were the architects behind Bachchan’s now iconic ‘Angry Young Man’ image with movies like Zanjeer (1973), Deewar (1975), and Sholay (1975).

In a career that spanned over three decades, Khanna acted in over 160 motion-pictures—128 of which were lead performances—winning Filmfare Best Actor Award thrice and the coveted BFJA Award for Best Actor (Hindi) record four times. While Khanna delivered a plethora of unforgettable performances during his illustrious movie career, his heart-wrenching portrayal of a cancer patient in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand (1971) remains most memorable. Rajesh Khanna, overwhelmed by his failed marriage to actress Dimple Kapadia, took to drinking as his superstardom slowly started to fade. In the 90s Khanna quit acting and entered active politics. He became the Member of Parliament from the New Delhi Constituency by winning the by-election in 1992. Even after completion of his tenure in 1996, Khanna remained affiliated to the Indian National Congress. Khanna even campaigned for the party in the 2012 Punjab elections. However, all his attempts of making a comeback to the celluloid failed drastically. Khanna had expressed his keenness to participate as a contestant in the reality show Big Boss but he decided to stayed away from it on the request of his son-in-law, actor Akshay Kumar. The actor had been reportedly unwell since last month and had been undergoing treatment at Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai. He might have lost his battle with death, but he will continue to live in the hearts of billions of his diehard fans in India as well as abroad. Rajesh “Superstar” Khanna was a phenomenon whose extraordinary exploits as a performer made him much more than just a man, something incredibly formidable: a legend and a god.

By Murtaza Ali

rajesh khanna, amitabh khanna, anand, hrishikesh mukherjee

rajesh khanna, sharmila tagore in aradhana

rajesh khanna, asha parekh in kati patang

rajesh khanna in bawarchi

rajesh khanna in amar prem

rajesh khanna, mumtaz in aap ki kasam

rajesh khanna, sharmila tagore, daag

rajesh khanna, hema malini in dard

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Why Did Rajesh Khanna Become A Superstar

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna on October 23, 2013 by manoharv2009


Everyone knows that we have two religions in India – Cricket and Bollywood. Cricket players and actors are the gods of this pantheon. In cricket there is Sachin Tendulkar as the reigning deity and then there are the rest of the gods. Take whichever measure of achievement – run rate, consistency, longevity – Sachin has done it all. He has stayed out of politics (so far) and managed to stick to being a player. His behavior off the field has been free from link-ups with controversial people and has come across in television interviews as dignified and mature. That is a big differentiator. People love him for being a role model of sorts.

In Bollywood, Zeus was Kakaji – aka Rajesh Khanna. He was born Jatin Khanna in Amritsar on 29th Dec 1942. He won the Filmfare talent contest in the ’60s and got his break in Aakhri Khat. Nominated for Araadhana and for the film Ittefaq in 1969 (He never won the Filmfare award for either film), he was by then already being dubbed as a superstar. Everyone expected him to win the Filmfare award for the Best Actor in Kati Patang (1970). The Filmfare award came to him in 1971 with Sachcha Jhootha, for Aavishkar (1974). For someone who was a phenomenon, he won adulation much more than awards. It may be reasonable to draw the conclusion that he was not as accomplished as an actor as he was a hero of the masses. His hit spree started in 1969 and went on till 1971-72. In those 3-4 years, Khanna appeared in about 17 films and all of them were successful.

The hit films were:

  • Araadhana, Ittefaq,  Doli, Bandhan, Do Raste (All in 1969). Khamoshi also made in ’69 was a lovely film but not a blockbuster.
  • The Train, Sachcha Jhootha, Safar, Kati Patang, Aan Milo Sajna (in 1970)
  • Anand, Maryada, Haathi Mere Saathi, Amar Prem, Andaz, Dushman (in 1971)
  • Apna Desh (1972)

This is a record that remains untarnished even today. One could argue that there are other superstars too. Amitabh Bachchan for being around since 1969 as well and has reinvented himself several times over and is still going strong having done over 190 films – compared to 160 films that Rajesh Khanna did. Shah Rukh Khan has done more than 77 films since 1988. He is the other actor who is dubbed a modern superstar. Rajnikanth with 177 films has been around since 1975. Kamal Hassan is on his 173rd film having started in 1960. All these names produce mass hysteria too. Each one has their own legions of fans. Ask any Bengali and they will associate the word “Mahanayak” (Bengali for superstar) with Uttam Kumar. He started his career in 1948 and when he died in 1980, he had made 155 films – some of which continued to be released almost 7 years after his death. None of these superstars can speak of 15 hits in a row. Even if you go back in history and think of KL Saigal as one of the first stars of the Hindi cinema or Guru Dutt, Dev Anand or Raj Kapoor – they all had their hits, but none in the league of Rajesh Khanna.

Why Rajesh Khanna became the phenomenon that he was is interesting to think about. He was often teased about his features and height – both of which were below par as was expected from a hero. His acting was always over the top. Melodramatic to say the least. And then there were songs done in the voice of Kishore Kumar. Anand Bakshi wrote some memorable hits for Kaka-ji’s films. Whether it was SD Burman or RD Burman or Laxmikant Pyarelal’s music, most the films had hauntingly melodious songs that remain popular even today. The next time someone plays “Antakshari” (ask an India friend to explain what that game is about), see how many Rajesh Khanna songs crop up. The combo of Anand-Bakshi-RD Burman-Kishore Kumar songs like Chala jaata hoon, O mere dil ki chaine, diwana leke aaya hai, Chingari koi bhadke, Kuch to log kahenge made average movies good and good movies even better. His mannerisms were exaggerated. He would gesture with his head and close his eyes as if giving the heroine a chance to succumb to his charm. His films were all about good music and romance. His fight sequences were clumsy. People knew he was not really fighting those villains. But when he serenaded the heroine, they knew it was for real.I believe he resonated with the masses because he was loud and melodramatic. If you see his films you can see him at his loudest in the songs. In India, if a star has to become a superstar, they need to have awesome songs that the star will get associated with. A hero with the most number of such superhit songs graduates from being merely a star to being a superstar. All the superstars named above meet that criteria.

The BBC reporter Jack Pizzey, who filmed a documentary in 1973 on him called Bombay Superstar, felt that the actor was a manic egoist. In his introduction, Pizzey described him as an actor with the “charisma of Rudolph Valentino and the arrogance of Napoleon”. It is hard to handle failure. We all know that. Rajesh Khanna’s life taught us that it is perhaps much harder to handle success. Kaka did not handle it well at all. He surrounded himself with sycophants and hangers on. Through the eighties and beyond  he became bloated and obese and looked almost comical as he attempted to make a final dash at fame. The last decade of his life was the worst. He was forced to relive his past by himself as he lay battling his failing health. When he passed away, he once again dominated the media for a few days. I wish he had seen and heard all the good things people had to say about him. It was yesterday once more.

Rajesh Khanna was the heartbeat of the nation

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna on October 22, 2013 by manoharv2009

17207_364997726940180_2085703691_n - Copy - Copy (15) - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy - CopyJul 18, 2012 By Ayaz Memon For those of you who have grown up the late sixties and seventies, Rajesh Khanna’s death takes away a big and a very important chunk of our lives because he just kind of haunted our generation. While it is always said that he was the first superstar, you have to understand what he really meant the people specially fans. I haven’t seen the craze like I saw for him ever. Screen grab from CNN IBN. There have been bigger stars, bigger actors before and after him. Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand — the trios of the 50s and the early sixties… nobody has been bigger than Dilip Kumar as an actor and for sheer length of time, there is nobody to beat Amitabh Bachachan. The craze now we see for Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan, but for a short spell of a time between 1968 and 1973, Rajesh Khanna, kind of, overwhelmed everyone. It is difficult to say what really triggered off that kind of mania for Rajesh Khanna. Was it just a fresh approach? Was it just the waning of earlier superstars and the other guys who could kind make it to the top like Sunil Dutt, Dharmendra, Manoj Kumar. They all lived in the shadow of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand. Rajesh Khanna was the first guy who actually measured up the popularity or exceeded that of any one. There were story of girls marrying his photographs or when he got married to Dimple Kapadia, some of them slashing their wrists and it didn’t seem as far stretched. When I was in school, in the 10th and 11th standard every girl in our class was a Rajesh Khanna fan. There would be all this battle between Dilip Kumar die-hard loyalist like me and Rajesh Khanna loyalists like the girls. To really encapsulte what Rajesh Khanna wave meant I will give you an example and its no exageration at all. I remember going to see a rerun of Phool aur Phathar the Dharmendra-Meena Kumari classic at Alankar theatre in Mumbai. Post the interval there was a trailer of a Rajesh Khanna movie Aan Milo Sajana. And the minute he came on in the song Accha Toh Hum Chalte Hai , the entire audience went into raptures. People were hurling money at the screen. Then, there was the movie Dhushman which released in the twin theaters, Ganga and Jamuna. These were the theaters that came into being with that movie. Both the theater showed the same movie, those were the single screen days. And both theaters were houseful for an entire week. That was craze Rajesh Khanna had, unprecedented. Nobody else I think has enjoyed that kind of a craze in the Indian film industry. And not that he was a terrific actor. He had terrific performances only when he had good directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Bhattacharya perhaps a Shakti Samanta otherwise he could be quite a pedestrian. But there was a wave, a tsunami wave. The Rajesh Khanna era. There was whole syndrome that came along with it. RD Burman as a music director, Kishore Kumar’s second coming so to speak with Aradhana. The songs that Kishore Kumar sang for Rajesh Khanna, composed by RD Burman, were the beat of the nation much like Rajesh Khanna being the heart beat of the nation. He had his favourite female co-stars and he made some winning combinations. Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz were his favourites. And just as suddenly the Rajesh Khanna wave disappeared. It just kind of waned. Its difficult to explain why. He was not a method actor or a studied actor or somebody who took too much attention to reaching great histrionic levels. When he had a terrific director to guide him along, he put up some terrific performances. Anand, Namak Haram, Bawarchi these are all Hrishikesh Mukherjee films. Some of them were pretty melodramatic but he made a big impact. Amar Prem with Shakti Samanta. Ittefaq was one of his earliest big hits with Yash Chopra – a song less film were he played a escaped convict. The are lot of stories about he found it difficult to handle his super stardom. He lived the life of a spoilt rockstar. His marriage to Dimpla Kapadia, which broke millions of hearts of women in India, didn’t last too long. And suddenly, you found Rajesh Khanna, who was pretty much the pre-eminent number one star by far in the Indian film industry, had almost vanished from the screen. He lived in his small private world of his own which may or may not have been a happy world. Sitting from outside one really doesn’t know. But he just couldn’t make the comeback one expected. Especially now one feels that Bollywood having become so big for the last 10-15 years, almost every actor who you could think off had a second or a third chance. Whether it is films or television. But Rajesh Khanna somehow just couldn’t make that come back and that is one of the sad parts of the life. He enjoyed that kind of superstardom or probably didn’t enjoy. He became a non-entity of sorts. But what will remain forever in my mind certainly, and in everybody’s elses mind who grew up in that generation, is that we all witnessed this tidal wave, this phenomenon as he was called Rajesh Khanna. I think he was once in a lifetime occurrence. If you ask me to define is career as well as his life, I would define it by those two stanzas of his famous songs. One is from the film Andaz, were he plays a guest role motor-cycling down Marine Lines. The stanza is – Zindgai ek safar hai suhana, yaha kal kya ho kisne jana. And other one is from the film Safar – Zindagi ka safar, hai yeh kaisa safar. And everything else that comes in between.

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Superstar friend in need with friends too few

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2013 by manoharv2009