MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA JULY 24 , 2012 01.15 A.M.
Let me state honestly . I am not his fan . In fact I was never ever a fan or admirer of Rajesh Khanna , the actor or the man . Though I have watched many of his films . I do admire some of his cult films . I definitely remember and hummed many of his iconic songs . I am very much aware of his stupendous super stardom , which , once upon a time , engulfed the film industry like a hurricane or tornado or tsunami . I am witness to those years when every star was dwarfed in front of him . I am well aware of those momentous days when everyone or everything became insignificant in his presence . His blitzkrieg darkened all the other objects . His tumultuous rise momentarily eclipsed all the other stars and consigned some of the mightiest stars into the trash bin of history . I am witness to those days . I was living in that era . I am privy to those happenings . In 1972 I was here in Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . I have seen the crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad . I have witnessed the fan adulation . But still , I was not his fan or admirer .
But I was saddened beyond words when I heard the news of his demise . My wife , again not his fan , cried profusely when she watched his funeral procession . So the question arises , what happened to us ? Why we felt for Rajesh Khanna so deeply ? Is it not enigmatic ? Is it not ironical ? No , it is not . Just watch these pictures posted below and notice the horrific changes in his personality down the years and you will fully understand the reason of our empathy .
From a dashing , charming young superstar to a pale shadow of his own self , these photos tell us a very tragic and pathetic story . For present day generation of movie – goers , his popularity during his heydays is unknown and unimaginable . I am presenting some of the milestones of his life’s journey one by one .
1966 : Made debut with ” Aakhri Khat ” .
1967 : Made his mark with ” Raaz ” .
1969 : Attained Super stardom with ” Aaradhana ”
1969 : ” Bandhan ”
1969 : ” Do Raste ”
1969 : ” Doli ”
1969 : ” Khamoshi ”
1969 : ” Ittefaq ”
[ 6 super hits in 1969 ]
1970 : ” Aan Milo Sajna ”
1970 : ” Safar ”
1970 : ” Kati Patang ”
1970 : ” The Train ”
1970 : ” Sachcha Jhootha ”
[ 5 super hits in 1970 ]
1971 : ” Anand ”
1971 : ” Haathi Mere Saathi ”
1971 : ” Dushman ”
1971 : ” Mehboob Ki Mehndi ”
[ 4 super hits in 1971 ]
1972 : ” Amar Prem ”
1972 : ” Apna Desh ”
[ 2 super hits in 1972 ]
Within 3 years of making his debut , he attained unimaginable , unheard of and unprecedented super stardom in 1969 with ” Aradhana “ and gave 15 consecutive super hits till 1972 , a record still unbroken . ” Daag ” [ 1973 ] and ” Namak Haraam ” [ 1973 ] were also big hits . But 1973 was a watershed moment in his career . He was eclipsed by Amitabh Bachchan in ” Namak Haraam “ . Amitabh Bachchan’s career defining film ” Zanjeer “ also came in 1973 . And thus began the well – known downward slide of mighty Super Star Rajesh Khanna .
Alarmed by his waning popularity , he married much younger Dimple Kapadia and made headlines temporarily.
Though in 1974 he gave 2 super hits like ; ” Aap Ki Kasam ” and ” Roti “ but the slide was visible and evident . The era now clearly belonged to Amitabh Bachchan , who once played second fiddle to him in super hit , iconic cult films like ; ” Anand ” and ” Namak Haraam ” .
Poster of these two films can give you Amitabh Bachchan’s position in the industry in those days vis-a-vis Rajesh Khanna . But alas , the cruel hands of fate had started writing some unknown and inglorious chapters of his life with indelible ink .
In 1975 Amitabh Bachchan gave ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay ” . Rajesh Khanna’s mentor and lucky mascot Shakti Samanta made ” Mehbooba ” [ 1975 ] . ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay “ were super hits and became ageless cult classics . While ” Mehbooba “ was a resounding flop and sealed Rajesh Khanna’s fate finally. After 8 years gap and some insignificant films in between , in 1983 , he again came with 2 mega hits like ; ” Avatar ” and ” Soutan “ but the magic was missing . Even these massive hits could not salvage his lost position in the industry . His turbulent career affected his personal life also . In 1984 came the tragic separation from Dimple Kapadia .
From 1983 [ his last hits ] to 2012 [ his death ] , 29 years of his eventless , colourless career and lonely personal life proved fatal for him . It is regrettable and cruel irony that a c-grade movie ” Wafaa ” [ 2010 ] is his last film .
In between he dabbled in TV also . In total he worked in 4 TV serials . ” Apne Paraye [ B4U TV – 2001 ] , ” Ittefaq ” [ Zee TV – 2002 ] , ” Bhabhima ” [ 2008 ] and ” Raghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi ” [ DD 1 – 2008 ] . But none could touch the popularity of Amitabh Bachchan’s ” Kaun Banega Crorepati ” [ Star Plus – 2000] .
It is a well-known secret that the title superstar was coined for him by his publicists ; Devyani Chaubal and K. Razdan . But the mass hysteria which he generated in those days and that too without the help of internet , twitter and facebook , is unimaginable , unfathomable and still unattainable . It is regrettable that his stardom or superstardom lasted just for 4 years . 15 successive super hits in a row and then 7 consecutive super flops in a row defines Rajesh Khanna’s strange film career . Compare his 4 year tenure with other stars :
DEV ANAND : 65 Years [ 1946 Hum Ek Hain – 2011 Chargesheet ]
ASHOK KUMAR : 61 Years [ 1936 Jeevan Naiya – 1997 Aankhon Me Tum Ho ]
DILIP KUMAR : 54 Years [ 1944 Jwar Bhata – 1998 Qila ]
AMITABH BACHCHAN : 40 Years [ 1973 Zanjeer – 2012 Bol Bachchan ]
Stars of this generation SHAH RUKH KHAN , SALMAN KHAN and AAMIR KHAN are reigning kings even after almost 20 years . HRITIK ROSHAN has 12 years of stardom behind him . Even DARA SINGH survived for 45 years [ 1962 King Kong – 2007 Jab We Met ] . But alas ! Rajesh Khanna vanished from the stardom and was banished from the film industry just after 4 years . Though he did 165 films and played solo lead in 107 films but was forgotten by the masses and ignored by the friends and the same film industry , which once said , ” Upar aaqa ; neeche Kaka .”
It is sad . It is heart – wrenching . People say many things about him . I , myself know many stories about him , which are said to be the cause of his downfall . But I don’t want to write those stories after his death . After all he was human and to err is human . Just re – think about some facts of his life . He debuted when he was 24 . He attained superstardom when he was 27 and lost his empire when he was just 31 . After that , till his death , it was 38 year – long wait for regaining his lost empire . It was 38 year – long wait for The Knock at his door by any producer or director . It was 38 year – long wait for the crowd to assemble again at his doorstep . It was 38 year – long wait for the same mass – hysteria , same mass adulation which was once his right and he thought it was his birth right .
Mass hysteria , mass adulation did happen again but alas , it happened only after his death . See these pictures of his funeral procession and then watch the crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad and you will be able to feel the irony of fate . I wish , this attention should have happened a year before ……….. or a week before ……… or even a day before ………… he would have died a happy and contented man . But strange are the ways of destiny.
I agree , he did make some mistakes . He did err like a human and for that mistake , for that error destiny punished him with all its might , with all its ferocity , with all its lethal cruelty . He , for his mistakes , never got same benevolence by destiny , which others easily got for their sins . Fate was condescending to others , not to him .
He was like quintessential Greek tragic hero . You can only feel sorry for him . You can empathise with him . And you could hum his memorable song …. zindagi kaisi hai paheli , hai ; kabhi ye hasaye , kabhi ye rulaye ……. Ek din sapno ka rahi , chala jaye sapno se aage kahan ………..
Phenomenon , known as Rajesh Khanna , regained some of his glory once again but alas , only after his death . He had gone forever and had gone even beyond his dreams .
As I finish my blog , I feel , I must express my admiration and gratitude to his son in law Akshay Kumar and his long – time friend Anju Mahendru , who took every care to give him comfort during his last days . Though it seems futile , but still , it was because of them that a befitting funeral could be arranged for this forgotten phenomenon , fallen Super Star and a lonely icon , who once ruled supreme . Thank you Mr. Akshay Kumar , thank you Madam Anju Mahendru , I bow my head in gratitude ! May God bless you two !
My heart also goes for Rinke Khanna , my student , who was very close and was very much attached to her father .
If I could feel so much without being his fan or admirer , then you can imagine the pain and pathos of his fans and near and dear ones .
Rest In Peace Sir ! Destiny was cruel to you . Better luck in next life .
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
- Rajesh Khanna improving (thehindu.com)
- Rajesh Khanna fine now, discharged from hospital (ibnlive.in.com)
- Rajesh Khanna likely to be discharged on Tuesday (ibnlive.in.com)
- Rajesh Khanna admitted to hospital again (movies.ndtv.com)
- Rajesh Khanna in hospital again (thehindu.com)
- Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna dies at 69 (ibnlive.in.com)
- Gaata rahe mera dil (dawn.com)
- Pushpa, I hate tears: Rajesh Khanna’s best lines (ibnlive.in.com)
- The unforgettable music Rajesh Khanna, Kishore Kumar and RD Burman created together (movies.ndtv.com)
- Achcha toh hum chalte hain: RIP, Rajesh Khanna (ibnlive.in.com)
- Bollywood’s Rajesh Khanna dies (bbc.co.uk)
- All time favourite Rajesh Khanna Songs (splashbitsnr.wordpress.com)
- Thousands turn out for funeral of Bollywood heartthrob Rajesh Khanna (photoblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin- R.I.P Rajesh Khanna (madaboutmoviez.com)
- Thousands turn out for funeral of Bollywood heartthrob Rajesh Khanna (photoblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Rajesh Khanna’s funeral pyre lit by Akshay Kumar, grandson Aarav (movies.ndtv.com)
- Rajesh Khanna’s home to be converted into museum (ibnlive.in.com)
- The Rajesh Khanna timeline (ibnlive.in.com)
- Memories of a Superstar (thehindu.com)
- Shahrukh Khan Mourns Rajesh Khanna: “Love Could Change It All” (celebs.gather.com)
- Rajesh Khanna signed off with ‘Time is up’ (thehindu.com)
- Tributes Pour In, On the Death of Rajesh Khanna, “First Bollywood Superstar’ (wibw.com)
- ‘There was none, there is none, and there won’t be any like you kakaji’ (thehindu.com)
- Bollywood’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna dies at 69 (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Even in death, Rajesh Khanna inspired fan frenzy (movies.ndtv.com)
- Rajesh Khanna cremated (thehindu.com)
- 10 things you didn’t know about Rajesh Khanna (movies.ndtv.com)
- Rajesh Khanna: Women wrote him letters in blood (ibnlive.in.com)
- Fans pay last respects to Khanna (bbc.co.uk)
- Rajesh Khanna’s last words were ‘pack up!’ (ibnlive.in.com)
- The life and times of Rajesh Khanna (ndtv.com)
- Rajesh Khanna’s rise & fall: What you didn’t know (ibnlive.in.com)
- Rajesh Khanna, Who Started Bollywood’s Star Craze, Dies at 69 – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Rajesh Khanna(1942-2012) (raol1810pr.wordpress.com)
Filed under: Obituary Tagged: | Aakhri Khat, Aamir Khan, Aan Milo Sajna, Aanand, Aankhon Me Tum Ho, Aap Ki Kasam, Aaradhana, Aashirwaad, Acting Trainer, Akshay Kumar, Amar Prem, Amitabh Bachchan, Anju Mahendru, Apna Desh, Apne Paraye, Ashok Kumar, Avatar, Bandhan, Bol Bachchan, Bollywood, Chargesheet, Daag, Dara Singh, Deewar, Dev Anand, Devyani Chaubal, Diction Trainer, Dilip Kumar, Dimple Kapadia, Do Raste, Doli, Dushman, Film, Haathi Mere Saathi, Hindi Teacher, Hritik Roshan, Hum Ek Hain, In Memoriam, India, Ittefaq, Jeevan Naiya, Jwar Bhata, K. Razdan, Kaka, Kaka Rajesh Khanna, Kamal Nayan Chaturvedi, Kati Patang, Kaun Banega Crorepati, KBC, Khamoshi, Maharashtra, Mehboob Ki Mehndi, Mehbooba, Mumbai, MUMBAI - MAHARASHTRA - INDIA, Namak Haraam, Obituary, Qila, Raaz, Raghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi, Rajesh Khanna, Rajesh Khanna's Bungalow, Rinke Khanna, Roti, Sachcha Jhootha, Safar, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Sholay, Soutan, Super Star, Super Star of Hindi Cinema, Super Star of Hindi Films, Super Star Rajesh Khanna, The Train, Vidur, Vidur Chaturvedi, Vidur on Twitter, Vidur's Blog, Wafaa, Zanjeer, Zindagi Kaisi hai Paheli