Veteran actor Rajesh Khanna passed away at his residence ‘Ashirwad’ on Wednesday after a prolonged illness. Khanna who was hailed as the first superstar of bollywood was 69-year-old. According to closed sources, cremation will take place on Thursday at 11 am.
He was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital on July 14 following “weakness”, and was discharged on Monday.
The actor had been battling health issues since April 1 when he was admitted to hospital due to weakness and fatigue. Last month, Khanna was admitted to the hospital and spent two weeks there before he was discharged.
Scores of worried fans gathered outside his ‘Aashirwad’ home on Carter Road in Bandra on Wednesday following the news.
His very name spelt magic in the 1970s. He sparked hysteria, particularly amongst his legions of women fans, who would like the road for a glimpse, chant his name, cover his car with lipstick marks and even write him letters in blood. They got married to his photograph, cut their finger, let the blood flow and applied ‘sindoor’.
Truly, “O mere dil ke chain”!Kaka, as he was popularly known, was one of the highest paid actors of his time, his record of consecutive solo super hits still unbroken. Who can forget the years between 1970-1979 when he starred in mega hits like “Safar”, “Kati Patang”, “Sachaa Jhutha”, “Aan Milo Sajna”, “Anand”, “Amar Prem” and “Mere Jeevan Saathi”.
In his four-decade career, he appeared in about 160 films, of which 106 had him as the solo lead hero and 22 were two hero projects.
It was a lonely life for Rajesh after that. He disappeared from the headlines and appeared to be a shadow of his former self in his rare public appearances. But the family came together in his last days. His estranged wife Dimple Kapadia was the one who took care of him during his illness. Son-in-law Akshay Kumar was also a great comfort. Rajesh reappeared in an ad a few months before his death, and once again became the talk of town – he was clearly unwell but the zest in his voice was intact as he intoned “Babumoshai” from his much loved film “Anand”. Like Anand from the film, the man is gone. But the memories will live on.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has mourned the death of Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna, who passed away on Wednesday after a prolonged illness.
“I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and countless fans and admirers of Rajesh Khanna,” Manmohan Singh said in a twitter message posted by his office.
Khanna, known as the first superstar of Hindi film world, had dabbled in politics as well. He was Congress MP from the New Delhi constituency from 1991-1996.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni mourned the death of Hindi film superstar Rajesh Khanna and said “his films had no language barriers and was liked by people all across”.
“Rajesh Khanna was a living legend and was our superhero. He has left behind the rich legacy for younger generations,” Soni told a news channel.
“His films had no language barriers and were liked by people all across. We were planning to organise a retrospective of Rajesh Khanna. It is sad that we have lost him,” she added.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that Rajesh Khanna was a symbol of romance and in his death the film world has lost a “pole star”.
“Rajesh Khanna was always a symbol of romance. His smiling face and the ability to connect with people at ease had made him popular. We lost a big pole star in the film world today,” Mamata said while paying tribute to the Hindi films’ first superstar whom, she said, she knew personally.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj tweeted, “You rightly said ‘Hum sab to rangmanch ki kathputliyan hain‘ Goodbye Rajesh Khanna.”
BJP leaderNarendra Modi tweeted, “With his unique persona, Rajesh Khanna ji made a special & unforgettable place in the hearts of Indians! May his soul rest in peace.
Rajesh Khanna’s son-in-law, actor Akshay Kumar, told reporters waiting outside Khanna’s residence, “I hope everyone can say a little prayer for my father-in-law, who is no more.”
Indian cricketer Suresh Raina tweeted,”The King of romance, the original superstar – painful to know Rajesh Khanna is no more. Yahan kal kya ho kisne jana……”