The complicated superstar

I woke up to more sad news this morning: another Memsaab favorite, Rajesh Khanna, has passed away. It is not a surprise, really; anyone seeing his frail frame over the last months knew that he was very ill. But in typical Rajesh fashion, he kept the facts to himself and his loved ones and let the speculation run rampant. As a latecomer to the phenomenon that was Rajesh Khanna, with possibly a slightly more objective view of things (only possibly and slightly), I have always been struck by the frenzy—both negative and positive—around him. Even his appearance recently in an ad for Havells fans brought controversy, with many feeling that he had been mocked without being aware of it. I said it then, and I’ll say it now: I think people, even many of his fans, constantly underrated Kaka’s intelligence, sensitivity and sense of humor. I think he knew very well that the ad was playing on his lost superstardom, and I think he thought it was funny.

With his enormous success came the effects of Tall Poppy Syndrome. People went out of their way to tear him down. Admittedly, he did lose his own perspective at the height of his considerable fame, but who among us can say we know we wouldn’t have? None of us will ever know what it is like to be so universally adored, or so reviled. No wonder he retreated! What I admire about him as I’ve become familiar with him through his films and interviews is that he finally overcame his rather spectacular downfall. In the end he was able to say: I had great fame and success, and partly through my own fault I lost it. He struggled but he persevered, and I believe his love for the craft of acting sustained him through even his worst days. He was never afraid of sharing screen space with actors as powerful as he. Some people say otherwise, but he didn’t NEED to make films during his heyday with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Raaj Kumar, Vinod Khanna; he chose to. And he held his own with them while allowing them to shine too. He was not afraid to try new kinds of roles and films, to risk his image: he was an actor in the true sense of the word.

And boy, he was handsome. He has made my heart melt, made my body want to dance, given me songs to get through the rain, made me cry, made me laugh. Best of all he has given me another sister in the person of Suhan, a die-hard Kaka fan who has escorted me through his career (not always with the desired result on my part!) and who I know is very sad today. He will live on in his films and in the innumerable songs that he helped make immortal. I hope that somewhere, he and Kishore and RD Burman are making music again together.

186 Comments to “The complicated superstar”

  1. Memsaab, this is really depressing. I am nearly ready to hold a grudge with God, his sheer injustice–first Shammi, then Dev Anand, Daraji and now Rajesh. This is not fair, not at all!
    Only a few days ago, I watched RAAZ(always intrigued me seeing” introducing RAJESH KHANNA and…” He looks a real sweet-heart in the movie with his chocolate-boy face and Babita with her expressive eyes and graceful nature–made a great pair. Sadly no more movies together.
    Next came Mumtaaz and I liked them even better–so many films together (APNA DESH, DUSHMAN…).
    Hated it when people imitated him, no matter how good the performance was, and cracked jokes about him. He remained on the silver screen, even after his prime, offering matured performances in GHAR SANSAR, AVATAR, HUM DONO, AAJ KA MLA RAM AVTAAR. But my personal favorite is Bawarchi, a role no actor in his caliber ever showed any interest or dared to perform in.
    R.I.P Rajesh, you have taught us how to love and how to sacrifice the same in AMAR PREM, ARADHANA, KATI PATANG. May you be an inspiration to all lovers in the coming ages when the word itself is losing its meaning in this world being poisonous by greed, hatred, anger, envy, faithlessness and politics.

  2. Though it’s been many hours now since I heard the news I’m still very sad. Am not able to do anything properly today – my mind is just not working.

    This is what I posted on FB as a status message a few minutes ago:
    Kya samjhega aalam koi
    Badaa bhaari hai aaj dil ye mera
    Ki le gaye ho saath safar pe tumhaare
    Tukda jo kabhi tha dil ye mera

    Who will understand my mood today
    Oh, my heart is indeed so heavy
    For you have taken along with you on your journey
    A piece that once was my heart

    RIP, Rajesh Khanna. You were far from perfect – but heaven knows, you got far more than your share of vitriol and bile once you were no longer on top. And that, for the rest of your life. Whether it was TPS or people just loving to stick their boot in when a man’s down, I don’t know.

    All I know is that I was a little boy in the early 70s when you gave me all those wonderful moments. At that time, I use to tilt my head trying to channel you singing “ye shaam mastaani” or do that eye-lowering-sideways style of “ye reshmi zulfen”. :-) Lovely memories.

    Thank you so much for everything!!!

    And thanks, memsaab, for a heart-felt tribute. He was indeed a complicated superstar.

  3. I count myself fortunate that I lived in the era when Rajesh Khanna burst into the scene and became a heart throb instantly. The kind of adulation that he enjoyed during his heyday was unparalled. I know, since I was there and I was one of his millions of fans.

    It is said by some later day authors that girls were his big admirers. In reality, everyone, maleas well as females, people old or young were his fans. Kids of my impressionable age group were huge fans of Rajesh Khanna.

    There are two Rajesh Khanna movies that I watched during their initial run- “Haathi Mere Saathi ” and “Apna Desh”, and the mories of watching these movies are still fresh in my mind.

    Even though I was quite young, I could sense that this unprecedented fan following finally made his overconfident and he began to antagonise people in the industry, and that proved to be his undoing. By the time Rajesh Khanna realised it and sought to make amends, it was too late and he was not able to recapture his past glory, but the movies that he acted in during his post superstardom era were perhaps better movies than those made during his superstar days.

    He was the original superstar. There was never one like him, and there has never been another like him either.

    RIP, Rajesh Khanna.

  4. “He is no more,”
    Can’t believe it – R.I.P.

  5. I met him a year and something ago and he was still not as far gone as in recent weeks and months. He retained the twinkle in his eye. I can tell you Memsaab, that the frenzy that he evoked in the 1970s was unprecedented; never before and never since has it been replicated

  6. You are all fortunate indeed to have been around during his glory days…I was hoping I could somehow wangle a meeting with him myself, but alas it is not to be. He did retain the twinkle in his eye (it’s there in his much-maligned advert!), and I feel that he was happy in the second phase of his life, after he recovered from the loss of his superstar status. I hope so, anyway. He certainly was very beloved by his family, and that always says a lot to me :)

  7. Strange, his movies like “Aradhana” (1969) and “Amar Prem” (1971) brought tears to my eyes. Yet, today, I haven’t shed a single tear. Maybe I connected more with his characters than with him…

    RIP Kaka….

  8. He was my first screen sweetheart. I remember sighing over him – all 11 years old- while watching Haathi mere Saathi. he wore a sort of a tunic over trousers in the song “Chal chal chal mere haathi” and made my heart beat faster. He was so gorgeous in Aradhna, both as the dashing Air Force pilot who woos Sharmila with beautiful songs and as the smart and handsome pilot who wins the heart of Farida Jalal. Dushman, Kati Patang, Aradhna, Daag, Sachha Jootha, Akhri Khat, Roti, Haathi mere Saathi, Mehboob ki Mehndi, Namak Haram, Anand, he was just too good in all these movies and many others that he was in.

  9. Memsaab, thank you for that. It was expected, as you noted, but the heart still hoped *tears*. That’s one dream of ours left unfulfilled – we will never get to stalk him outside ‘Ashirwaad’ as we’ve been threatening to for many years :-(

    And I so agree with you about people not getting him at all. And I also remember how the blogosphere about Hindi films used to be a few years back as far as he was concerned. As I said to you earlier, your lone crusade for him when everyone else was following the herd (reviling him mainly) has earned you the undying gratitude of his many fans.

    What the great Satyajit Ray said in an obit on the Bengali superstar Uttam Kumar in August 1980 is so true for Kaka too or for that matter any actor. Ray wrote:

    “…I understand Uttam worked in something like 250 films. I have no doubt that well over 200 of them will pass into oblivion, if they have not already done so. This is inevitable in a situation where able performers outnumber able writers and directors. Even the best of actors loses his edge and languishes without a reasonable steady supply of worthy material to keep him on his mettle. It is even worse with ‘stars’, whom circumstances have brought to the pitch where they must stick to their ‘image’ or topple. And this usually means doing the same thing over or over again. An artist, however, must always be judged by his best work.”

    And Kaka, god bless him, gave us much much that he and his should be justifiably proud about. To echo you, whatta man! I reckon the three of them (RD, Kishore and Kaka) are now merrily clinking their glasses glad to be together again.

  10. Another sad day. :-(
    Rest in peace Rajesh Khanna.
    We’ll continue to watch your films and listen to all those fabulous songs sung by Kishore Kumar for you.

  11. As with Shammi, I “met” Rajesh Khanna in my childhood and even though his moment had already passed by the time I started watching films, I fell for him. I can still remember back to1980 in Srinagar when Doordarshan broadcast “Mere Jeevan Saathi” as the Sunday feature film. I remember *begging* the Gods for the power not to go out (a frequent occurrence in Srinagar) during the movie. But it did go off…right at the start of “kitne sapne kitne armaan”! :-( Though the electrcity was restored a few moments later, I never quite forgave the Srinagar Electric Corporation…or God for depriving me of those precious minutes of head tilts and winks.

  12. This is a sad day. The first Hindi film I ever saw was “Mehboob ki Mendhi” and I fell in love instantly. He was so handsome and romantic.

    RIP. :(

  13. Extremely sad news, the Hindi Film industry has definitely lost a momentous talent & true ‘star’ in every sense of the word.

    I haven’t been active of late but from one Rajesh Khanna fan to another : thanks so much for keeping his flame alive in the blog-world.

    Asli Jat

  14. Memsaab,

    Became a RK fan around the same day I discovered your blog–you had a great pic of him (you’ve always been so kind to the old stars). Always wondered what kind of tribute he would get when he died (and for Lata Mangeshkar–a national day of mourning?). I suspect there will be more genuine sadness on your blog and similar sites than elsewhere. Learned the meaning of the word “star” because of RK.



  16. It feels stupid, but I actually feel nice things about Rajesh Khanna, now that he is dead! :)
    For me, as a child of the 80s he was always just the guy Amitabh dethroned to become king. Always loved the songs, when I heard them, but his charisma always baffled me.But I always did feel kinda sorry for him that after 1975, he ALWAYS had to deal with being compared unfavorably with Amitabh, the next superstar.
    TODAY, I can see why people went gaga over his mannerisms and twinkling eyes. :) RIP, Kaka – I envy the love you are getting on your death.

  17. RAJESH KHANNA STARRED WITH LAILA KHAN IN HIS LAST FILM WAFAA. its an eerie co incident that both of them passed away within months of each other. RIP both.
    Dev sahab and Dara Singh sadly passed away but they lived to be in their 80s.

    • I saw that movie with Laila Khan..that’s how much a fan I was a terrible movie and Rajesh Khanna was so fat and unattractive in it..but hey it was still him and I had to watch :0

  18. His life long tragedy was that he was not Amitabh Bachchan.

  19. Rajesh Khanna is undoubtedly the most handsome actor of Hindi cinema. There never was a better actor to do a romantic role; the thing I liked the most about him was how he elevated many characters he played by performing straight from the heart. Movies like Anand and Namak Haraam show how seriously he approached the roles; at the same time the ease with which he can convey the feeling of love,through the cute crinkling of his eyes all make him a delightful actor.
    One look at the films he did during his best years is enough to say,why he was such a phenomenon back then;he brought joy to millions with his screen presence.

  20. What I meant to get across was, was that after Amitabh, what people expected from their onscreen heroes changed. He was unlucky enough to get caught squarely in the middle of a tsunami.

  21. I saw the news about this death on yahoo and I was shocked. He was younger than many other stars of the 60s like Dilip Kumar, Helen, Nanda, Waheeda, Vyjayanthimala etc. May his soul rest in peace

  22. Greta, this has been an awful year, hasn’t it? The Grim Reaper has been busy. It does seem like the beginning of the end. Shashi is ailing, so is Dilip Kumar. I had never been a Rajesh Khanna ‘fan’ but his movies always entertained me. He did do an awful lot of films that ‘heroes’ shouldn’t have touched with a barge pole; and he made them hits. I suddenly had this vision that Shakti Samanta, Kishoreda and RD Burman will be waiting for him up there (wherever ‘up there’ is) so they can make some more entertaining films.

    • I know…it’s just the beginning I fear. Pran has got to be up there in hi 90s also! It’s the way things go…but I can’t help thinking that it was still too early for Rajesh.

      • Yup. He was only 69. :( He had cancer, though, so I guess it is better he did not suffer too much. I have Kishoreda singing in a loop while I do my work. After Devsaab, Kishoreda must have sung the maximum number of songs for Kaka.

  23. I’m just sad beyond words :(

  24. Greta – I posted a comment, perhaps it has gone to your spam box or something

  25. veni vidi vici
    Rajesh Khanna was destiny’s child, in life and in death.

  26. My tribute to Dara ji and Rajesh ji.

  27. My tribute to Dara ji and Rajesh ji.

  28. Among the first batch of Bollywood movies that I watched were ARADHANA, KATI PATANG and soon after, ANAND….made me a Rajesh Khanna fan for sure!

  29. I discovered this blog by chance and would like to post a comment on this current topic, and then I’d like to scan through the archives of this blog for it seems fascinating.

    I think the reason people are saddened and shocked to see him croak is partly because he was so enigmatic and a real life version of Hamlet, but also because he died really young. 69 is young in today’s times, I feel. If Dilip Kumar croaks I doubt people will be as saddened simply because it would have been accepted, as was the case with Dev Anand or even Shammi, but Khanna was far too young. Another 20 years perhaps.

    Another reason why I am personally sad, and I think I am the only one who feels so is this: films are simply not what they used to be, everywhere. You might say it is nostalgia, but as a 26 year old you wouldn’t put that on me. When I look at earlier films I see a passion, creativity and zest. I see talent and honestly. There is a fresh innocence that reeks from the frame of any film of that era. Same goes for actors..Rajesh Khanna looked like an average Indian and so did most stars then. Today we manufacture actors, sell them…it is a competition of egos, of six pack abs and twitter followers…the innocence is long gone. Same goes for Hollywood…I cannot tolerate most films that come out lately. Glossy, mass marketed with the sole criteria of making bank, they have less character than most video games. Sad truth.

    • I don’t think you’re the only one who thinks so (maybe under the age of 27 you are though :D)…there’s a reason why I mostly watch films made before 1980!

  30. I feel so terribly sad. More so, than I have done in the last year, at the passing away of so many greats. Then, I realized that I’ve seen all the super-hits that made Rajesh Khanna a superstar when I was a child. :( Plus, he coloured my mindspace with all the stories about him, Devi, Anju, Dimple, Tina, in my favourite filmi magazines. Plus, he was too young to die. I was never a big fan of his, but … it was good having him out there.

  31. Rajesh Khanna’s `Aradhana ‘does not end here..He might have flown away like a ‘Kati patang’, without any ‘Bandish’ but his fans still harbour ‘Amar prem’ for him…He was the ‘Roti’ and butter of the bygone 70s , hisd songs and movies replayed on computers even today. In ‘Apna Desh’, he wwill always be coveted under our ‘Palkon ki chaaon mein!’
    ‘Dil daulat Duniya’ might have changed him over the years, but we always will not attach any ‘Daag’ to you, ‘Aap Ki kasam’!

    My small tribute to the departed Superstar!

  32. Dear Memsaab,
    Beautifully written. Both, me and my daughter felt really bad throughout the day. I have always been a fan of Kaka – ironically, the first time I ever saw him and started liking him was in Disco Dancer! His pairing with Mumtaz (my personal favorite) was just amazing. That combination with Kishore was sheer magic. RIP Kakaji, you will be missed… The past 12 months or so has been bad for the industry – it started with Shammiji, Dev saab (still waiting for an article on him!), Daraji, Jagjit Singh, Mehdi Hassan and now Kaka… RIP all…

    • Me too on the Disco Dancer thing! I was so struck by him, even in a movie with so much stuff to be struck by :D When I found out who he was, I immediately went out and bought a bunch of his films. If nothing else, I have to be grateful to DD for that :)

  33. Amitabh Bachchan tweets on his last visit to see RK:

    “As I sat at his home this afternoon, to pay my respects, soon after learning of his passing away, a close functionary of his, came up to me and told me in a choked voice what his last words were –

    ” time ho gaya hai ! Pack Up ! “ “

    • Why Amitabh was given the honor to tell the world what Rajesh Khanna last word was?

      Why not the honor given to the current head of the family: Akhshay Kumar?

      Is Amitabh Bachchan playing another scene of “Anand” again?

      • Amitabh hasn’t been “given” any honor; he has earned the respect of a lot of people, and I think it’s lovely that he wrote such a nice tribute to his old co-star and (maybe) rival. Nobody is stopping Akshay from saying anything, but maybe he’s busy with his family and his/their grief and doesn’t want to deal with the media yet. Can’t blame him for that. There is plenty of room for everybody, and I think Rajesh himself would have been touched by the big B’s words.

  34. My small tribute to the departed Superstar!

    Rajesh Khanna’s `Aradhana ‘does not end here..He might have flown away like a ‘Kati patang’, without any ‘Bandish’ but his fans still harbour ‘Amar prem’ for him…He was the ‘Roti’ and butter of the bygone 70s , hisd songs and movies replayed on computers even today. In ‘Apna Desh’, he wwill always be coveted under our ‘Palkon ki chaaon mein!’
    ‘Dil daulat Duniya’ might have changed him over the years, but we always will not attach any ‘Daag’ to you, ‘Aap Ki kasam’!

  35. Kaka was a true lady-killer and for none else, the Indian girls could go for such extremes (writing letter with own blood, kissing his car, filling own hair-parting by considering him as own husband etc.). His style could not be and cannot be copied. His gimmicks are immortal. No other male can wink more romantically than him, stealing the hearts of the young females in hardly a moment’s time. Every rise is to be followed by a fall. Kaka accepted his fall gracefully, no doubt. In the eighties too, he delivered superhits like Avtar and Souten which was an example of his perseverance and talent. His success could not be durable like Amitabh Bachchan because he could not keep pace with the changing times. A;; tje sa,e. jos [;ace os reserved fprever om tje jostpru pf Omdoam as we;; as wpr;d come,a/ Long live Kaka. We love you.

  36. I especially enjoyed his early movies but was too young to go gaga over him (or about anybody) – but I remember the effect he had on others older than me. I liked the touching tributes of Sharmila and Amitabh (incidentally who I sometimes find more annoying than Rajesh Khanna). Later on there always seemed to be a dark cloud hovering over RK- some of his older films are good but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see as I would his earlier films. The one exception was his film ‘Red Rose’ – the publicity hinted dark touches to his character and I think it got an ‘Adults only’ certificate. Those days cinema halls (and parents) were more strict about allowing kids to get in to see such movies. It is one movie of his I regret missng out (perhaps I will come across the CD/DVD now – you can trust DVD manufacturers to take them out in bulk now in the wake of his death – and with the price jacked up). Well Death comes as an end to us all. RIP

  37. Thanks Memsaab for this piece. Thanks to you too my dear Suhan.

    “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is perfect to what Rajesh Khanna went through.

    He was becoming a power in himself that affected those who created his super-stardom. They attacked his personality & image, but he persevered. Real hero on and off the screen.

    May Allah bless his soul.

  38. Wonderful post memsaab. It is shocking, in spite of the fact that his illness gave us an impression that this would happen anytime soon. Have a look at my tribute for kaka

  39. Ahaa…nice write up Memsaab…and i am totally with you when you say….

    “What I admire about him as I’ve become familiar with him through his films and interviews is that he finally overcame his rather spectacular downfall.”

    On a personal note i have this to say-
    I started following Kaka online when few of the Blog writers were downright unkind to him…The words they used did not ring the bell of truth in me…In fact many a times it was hurting….I started retaliating but ultimately i was becoming like them…i gave this up to a great extent. People like you, Memsaab, always had nice things to say about Kaka and it was a good read…Thanks.

    … ….i thought i was alone in this, but to my surprise, i found many and it was increasing by the day…. Suhan was clearly one of the stars that i would always look upto when it came to read something good about Kaka…and thanks to her that i am in your blog (now and before)…Thanks for writing this piece…

    Coming back to Kaka…i was on topix when the news came….i was talking about Namak Haram… In a flash everything within me came to standstill….and then it started to ebb…back towards the vast ocean that is Rajesh Khanna….RIP sir…

  40. Beautiful tribute, Greta. And yes, I agree: “I hope that somewhere, he and Kishore and RD Burman are making music again together.” RIP, all of them.

  41. @Memsaab – lovely tribute. His ‘Sapnon ki Rani ..’ was the probably first film song I hummed. Like you mentioned, he came to terms with his downfall, but perhaps his countless fans and the media did not. Consequently he might have got more than his fair share of criticism. He will live on forever.

  42. To rephrase what I have already said, the people decided that Rajesh Khanna was King Kong to Amitabh’s Dara Singh. A new king can be crowned only when the old king is killed. The other actors survived simply because THEY were not kings. Even in his now infamous ad, he addresses Amitabh and says “Babumoshoi, no one can take my fans away from me”. That he gracefully lived with that speaks volumes about his class. :)

  43. I find the media to be so irritating when somebody famous dies (both here and in India, everywhere really). Very little of it comes from the heart, or has much research behind it, and they just parrot the same old stuff and pictures over and over and over again. I wish they would all just shut up :)

    • HEAR, HEAR!! In the pictures taken outside the crematorium, I see all of the s**tbags smiling and lifting their mobile cams, focusing on the ABs when they alighted from their car to pay their last respects to RK. Guess they were showering AB with a billion queries about his state of mind, relations with RK in the last few years, history of rivalry,…. Whole world is a fodder for them headless chickens.

  44. I think Shabana’s feelings are pretty genuine. She says she acted in 10 movies with him (wow!) – all well after he’d come down from the heights of course. I think she saw a different Rajesh than maybe the one Hema saw.

    I found Hema quite distant. But then, I don’t think Hema and Rajesh shared much of a good relationship anyway. So if he sounds distant, at least she’s not pretending to have cared too much about him.

    But yes, the media is extremely irritating in just parroting the same old stuff. And lots of people who stuck their knives into him with glee and kept twisting it at every opportunity are suddenly talking about what a fine man he was! It is an insult to those who feel genuinely about him.

    • Maybe the hypocrisy is what I’m reacting to, you are right. The press hasn’t treated him well at all, and I wish they would just shut up (did I say that already? :D)

      I don’t mind hearing what his colleagues have to say, it’s just the media coverage I object to…

  45. The era of yester-years, which was truly golden era for cinema, has long disappeared from the scene, and now its stars are making exit one by one, leaving behind a big void for lovers of cinema who are not impressed by current crop of movies and stars.

    I never liked Kaka, a person and a politician. But his movies were hard to dislike. To this day, Anand remains my all time favorite movie, and he starred in so many of my beloved movies and songs. Whenever I feel like watching Hindi songs, I watch his songs on Youtube. After several months, that is just what I did, not realizing that he just passed away, just few minutes ago. I was watching his songs when he passed away. What better tribute than cherishing his memories thru his songs and movies. RIP Kaka.

  46. I now understand why some people read comics even as adults – atleast THEIR heroes never die. :(

  47. Aw I can’t stand this double blow. First Dara Singh sahab and now RK. So sad.. this news is still sinking in. Can’t believe it. :( Wishing more peace for the superstar.

  48. Sorry, Greta, for posting all these links here but your blog seems somehow to be the place where they belong. :-)

  49. I am just too shocked for words. Love him or loath him he was only human. He made money for the Movie Producers and Directors. He brought a kind of social escape for the hard working movie goers. He brought a smile, may be two or lots of smile to the lives of many people.
    Superstars come and go however short it may last. Kaka was so untouchable between (1969-1974).
    Mr Khanna always portrayed the image of a love struck Hero. Kaka’s overpowering strength was romance blended with tragedy. (The masses loved him for this). Action movie was not his forte.
    Majority of his fans were ladies. I kept asking the same questions-Just suppose Kaka delayed his wedding in 1973 wedding for at least 2 more years? Suppose he had dropped out of the movie Namak Haram (1973) which exposed his soft spoken persona against Amitabh’s Angry persona? Suppose the common social trend and film goers mind set hadn’t changed after the emergency period of that time in India.
    It could be said that may be!!! Just maybe!!! Rajesh Khanna perhaps could have held on to his Superstardom for a little bit longer. RIP–Kaka

  50. Have been reading a lot of tributes to him in the last couple of days. Many of them made me incredibly sad – I would have SO MUCH liked him to have had this love in his last years!!!

    Anyway, last night I sat down and decided I had to do something about my own pent-up emotions. I just had to get them out of my system. So here is what I’ve written on my blog – my memories of Rajesh, mainly from my childhood. Hope you don’t mind my posting it here, Greta.

    • Yes, Raja..Indeed your blog is written witha lot of heart and has recounted many of my fav songs too. I too wrote a Tribute Blog on Rajesh Khanna : My aakhri khat on his safar on my blog (if Memsaab permits may please publish:)

      Thanks in advance and lots of love to other RK admirers,


    • I do not mind in the least you sharing your thoughts and memories of Rajesh. I hope he can see the outpouring for him, I think it would have meant a lot to him. And I hope it brings comfort to his family and friends.

  51. Memsaab,

    This site is not only a treasure trove, but has the best online participation. You have built a community of film lovers, and I am your latest fan, Memsaab Zindabad!
    I too am a fan of Rajesh Khanna, despite being an infant during his heydays. I watched his famous films in Doordarshan much later. The Bombay Superstar posted above provides a rare glimpse of the film world and the urban-rural viewership. The rare interviews of Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz and Shashi Kapoor are enthralling. RK is very composed and enigmatic, despite efforts to get under his skin. It is too bad that Devi is so bitchy throughout (why was she his favorite scribe??). It is also too bad that the documentary has such a condescending tone, and is so determined to tear down Rajesh Khanna. And I rolled my eyes at the inevitable comments about lipsynching the songs. One wonders why no one questioned the Western press about the realism of using stunt men for action scenes!
    As an antidote to the “impending downfall of the superstar” theme of the documentary, I watched his hit songs and was immensely cheered up. The fact that his death has been covered as much by the international press vindicates the documentary. :-)
    As a final celebration of RK, I watched the Apna Desh song Duniya Mein, logon ko – what a paisa vasool! And I dig that Sergeant Pepper look of RK and Mumtaaz as the desi Mem.

    RK lives on through his films, and through the unforgettable songs by Kishore Kumar – what a jodi.

  52. RK was a ‘family’ man….as kids while we were busy swooning over the ‘DHISHOOM-DHISHOOM’ of Amitabh…I always wondered why the elders were always discussing Rajesh Khanna, Raj Kapoor-Nargis romance…that was the stuff they were interested in..and yes the songs..always always RK songs on radio,transistor whatever…RK-kISHORE K association erased the previously hugely popular KK-dEV Anand association forever from our psyches…RK-KK combo is immortal..

  53. Hey, I found this documentary uploaded on youtube. A BBC 1973 production on Rajesh Khanna and stardom.
    I thought it was enlightening. Wish I could buy this.

  54. I was never a big fan of Rajesh Khanna (moreso after seeing Bombay Superstar), but nonetheless he was a fantastic actor & had amazing screen presence & chemistry with the actresses, Sharmila especially. On finding out Dara Sing was no more, I was heartbroken & thought, ”who next?” I really cant believe it, were losing them, one after the other, the memories will live on though. Lets be happy we had them, not that they’re gone.

  55. Memsaab i got the oppurtunity to right an artcile on rajehs khanna just 2 weeks before his death and hot it published in newspaper and internet sites. . do read and give ur reply/ comments on what i wrote.

  56. Now the whole world understood and came to know the real truth that Rajesh Khanna is the real Super Star of Indian Cinema. No actor can even match that Talent. My Salute to the one and only King of Romance. Even though there were few good actors from Bollywood…Now thinking back…I truly feel no one had the edge like Rajesh Khanna. May God bless his soul. He is true and complete actor.

  57. That’s one hell of a candid interview by Mumtaz. She does throw in a lot of Hindi though. For the benefit of memsaab and other non-Hindi speakers, I’ve tried to translate those lines here. :-)

    (And if I may say so, if Mumu doesn’t want to come back to play SRK’s or Akshay’s mom, I’m very happy to second that!).

    ‘Aye moti, idhar aa…” (Hey fat girl, come here…)

    main sambhaal leti thi (I used to take care of it)

    Jaise meri life mein doosra Rajesh Khanna nahin ho sakta…waise hi doosra Shammi Kapoor bhi nahin ho sakta.
    (Just like there cannot be another Rajesh Khanna in my life…in the same way, there cannot be another Shammi Kapoor in my life).

    Magar ek aurat doosri khubsoorat aurat ko dekhke zaroor jalti hai.
    (But a woman does get jealous if she sees another beautiful woman).

    • She gives great interviews…It would be awesome to meet HER some day. Thanks for the link and the translations!

      • I generally have no desire to meet movie stars/celebreties, but I agree that it would be fun to meet Mumu. She seems so down-to-earth and “real”. Hubby met her once at a party in Bombay in the 80s and says that she is easily the most beautiful, charming woman he’s ever seen.

    • And if I may say so, if Mumu doesn’t want to come back to play SRK’s or Akshay’s mom, I’m very happy to second that!

      Yes–we love the sexy sassy Mumtaz, an icon of the early 70s and playing maa would really spoil that memory. Youthful icons should just leave at their peak (as Mumtaz and Vyjayantimala so gracefully did). That I believe is the pact, their responsibility to society.

  58. Another earlier one with Mumtaz immediately after his death. She said she cried that whole morning :-(

  59. Nice tribute post by memsaab and nice comments. He was one of my favourites as well. It’s like the last line of Anand – people like him will always be remembered, so they never really die.

    Funny to learn that he used to call Mumtaz “fat girl” and Mumtaz somehow used to compose herself.

    • To me it seems to be a reflection of how comfortable they were with each other. And I’m sure Rajesh used the term as a term of endearment/affection. Not sure Mumtaz would have appreciated others calling her “moti”. Having said that, she seems to have been very comfortable “in her skin” – having no problems saying, very matter-of-factly, that she was always a bit on the right side of the weighing scale. I really like such people – SUCH a relief from those who are so obsessed with getting a size-zero figure.

      Agree with you, memsaab – would be awesome to meet Mumu some day.

  60. Came across some of the recent pics of great actor taken around April 2012 at his home Aashirvaad. Thought of sharing

    • You can really see how sick he is :( And that he kept his furniture wrapped in plastic, which I really didn’t want to know!

      • Memsaabji, Couldnot hold back my tears when I saw the pics..He looked so lost and lonely.. Praying God to bless his soul..About the furniture I pacified myself thinking he was making arrangements to convert his home to museum…Didnt want to think differently to make me more sad..

  61. Khanna knew that he had cancer a year before his death. It was only because he had cancer that he lost weight to this extent. Very sad that people blamed him to have taken treatments on his face and so he had lost in face, when his AD had appeared in TV in May 2012. He requested his family members to keep mum till his death. Only Mumtaz knew that he had cancer. Khanna shot for 2 films in 2011 and attended Apsara award function in Feb 2012. No one knew the real reason as to how Khanna became thin till after 1 day after his death. Even in death he was a superstar. He gave a surprise to his film fraternity collegues too. He in Anand style had recorded a tape which was played during his Chautha(Prayer cermony held on 21st July 2012, where he sopke about his journey as a superstar, acknowledged his records, thanked his family and co stars.

  62. A very nice tribute to Rajesh Khanna by Salim Khan – writer of Salim Javed fame and Salman Khan’s father –

  63. Ok, have written up one more piece on Rajesh today. It’s very different from the emotional one I’d written soon after he died.

    • Thanks kp. It’s evident that the tape was made from excerpts of a previous or a couple of previous speeches at gatherings (I’d say around 2005-06 as he mentions ‘chaalis saal pehle’ i.e., ‘forty years back’ in there when referring to the 1965 United Producers Filmfare Talent Contest). The tale that the Indian media has woven that he did this for his fans recently is ‘bakwas’ of course and entirely unsurprising – this IS the Indian media we are talking about, as lazy as all get-out and untruthful to boot. That wonderful VOICE had reduced to a whisper before he passed away (the Havell’s ad voiceover was done by a dubbing artist).

      I guess the family put it together because it was so apt. They did a good job. It was really beautiful, his way with words, that to die for diction – quite a lesson in dialogue delivery and very moving. Some of us silly asses cried.

  64. That tape of last words is really touching. Fans, what are your reactions? Also I did not know that he acted in theaters prior to his film career. Finally, the Bombay Superstar documentary showed what an isolated and lonely world he ( and other super stars) live in.

    • The relation between the fan & the actor is like that of worshiper & his God. The fan doesn’t bother about the actor’s real life baggage, he gives unconditional love & seeks the same in return. Nothing, absolutely nothing like the actor’s family / relations etc comes between the star & his Fan. By remembering the most important element in your public career as a Superstar, Kaka you have through this message made a special place in our hearts. We remember you & shall miss you forever.He taught us what true romance was like,gave us our dreams, became a part of us.His soul shone through, mesmerising us.The actors of today seem to be pygmies in front of him. Small wonder they resented him, when he was alive, for he was the yardstick they couldn’t match, the love that he received, they couldn’t get an iota of. They deluded themselves about their stature & took vicious pleasure in pulling him down. Yet Kaka’s light shone through like d sun. A part of us, our dreams, died with him & we r left grieving. I have highlighted his record of 73 GJH and 22 SJH from 1966-1991, but why the hell people talk as if he lost his acting skills or did not have hits after 1975?Rajesh Khanna Mara nahin. Rajesh Khanna Marte nahin.Media’s coverage for 3 days and the way industry and fans turned out in raods showed in their heart everone truned honest that day adn showed he was the best superstar

  65. While I continue to celebrate my fab. hero Rajesh Khanna by watching his fims and songs, a few humorous thoughts come to my mind.
    1. Watched the fab. song Gulabi Aankhen for the first time, and was startled to see him running around, flinging his arms wildly, throwing himself down on the grass ….what a sight! Shammi is likely the only one (in my limited knowledge) who could do this convincingly, but generally this type of “choreography” is unwatchable …thankfully Rajesh looks handsome, Nanda is smart and the song is wow. Also he refrained from this “dancing” in future.
    2. The outfit that Rajesh wore in the song with Mumtaz in the Aap ki Kasam portrayed in Bombay Superstar is repeated (either in Daag or in Ajnabee – I just saw both). Rajesh must have liked it ! And no wonder, most of his outfits were truly cringeworthy – pink suit in Ajnabee, salmon colored safari suit in Mere Jeevan Saathi!! And what is with the belt??? Compare that to his elegant white shirt and dark pants in Roop Tera Mastana – sexy and stylish. Or his looks in Amar Prem – knockout in dhoti and punjabi. His handsomeness made us forget about the awful styles, but really! And Memsaab has commented on his terrible haircut in the 70 s. Why did he not continue with his purana hair cut??? I kept wishing for a pair of scissors to trim his flyaway hair. Unfortunately Amitabh too became a fashion victim, I liked his looks in Abhiman and other early films, and found his later hair style, clothes to be jarring. All I can say to such fashion fails is …NAHIIN!
    3. After watching the sight of the huge crowds surrounding Mumtaz and Rajesh during the shooting of their song in Aap ki kasam (including the guy who was clinging to the platform they were on, staring with all his might), one can only marvel at the editing skills, for when one views the complete song, Kashmir is uninhabited!
    4. the ending in Daag is hilarious! Did the children grow up with severe identity crisis? Someone mentioned Gulshan Nanda had a different ending – please please reveal it!
    5. Also how does Aap ki Kasam end? Can someone be kind and put me out of my misery? Local DVDwallah did not have the film…:-(
    6. Why the heck did Zeenat not reveal Villanious damaad Prem Chopra’s embezzlement to her wealthy Dad in Ajnabee? And in the end, why does her Dad continue to cling to his nefarious Damaad over his daughter? Finally, why is Prem Chopra not only super creepy but also disgustingly sweaty in both Daag and Ajnabee??? Why oh why? And how could ANY woman (let alone beautiful and feisty Rakhi or Asha Parekh) want him? Bollywood’s unsolved mysteries….
    Inquring mind wants to know (before the semester starts)….

    • Correction: Rajesh Khanna & his dhoti are depicting a Bengali gentleman in Amar Prem, not a punjabi!

      The belts over guru kurtas/safari suits became a HUGE Khanna inspired trend!

  66. SPOILER Aap Ki Kasam ends with Mumtaz getting divorced from Rajesh and remarrying. He dies of a heart attack or something, ruing the day he suspected her. END SPOILER

    I can see that you understand the concept of “questions, only questions” which haunts me through some films. It doesn’t let me stop enjoying them though :)

    • Actually RK’s character suffered severe burn injuries on his estranged daughter’s wedding day, while saving her from the fire.
      Nice try PIP, get Memsaab review and re-review all the movies of RK, for only her explanations would satisfy our thirst of movie-mania.

    • Talking about questions. Have you seen the Movie Apna Desh? My late Kaka must have been a wonderful and effective village School Teacher. It’s been a while when i saw this movie however there were two scenes that made me think and laugh at the same time.
      In one scene Mumtaz played the role of an uneducated but honest, hardworking village girl.
      At one stage RK during his spare time would teach Mumtaz and her close friends in the village
      ABC etc on a black board.
      Few weeks later in another scene both RK & Mumu disappeared from the village, changed their appearances and looks in order to expose the corrupt Council Political leaders (late Om Prakash, late Madan Puri &Co).
      How did Rajesh transform this village girl into a sophisticated and modern girl with an excellent command of English within few days? ”While Om Prakash was ease dropping you could hear Mumu in an argument with Kaka saying in English…”you scoundrel. You want to divorce me? ‘‘You bloody fool” (While RK was shooting blank bullets).
      ‘’Yes darling you’re very sweet’’ she said to Om Prakash who was getting drunk. The last few scenes of this movie were so hilarious and I can only assume the speedy transformation of Mumtaz in this movie was at the Movie Maker’s discretion however laughable it was.


  67. Aah, so his character dies – good riddance to bad attitudes! Bharatiya Naris should not be trifled with.
    The “inquiring minds want to know” questions add to the joy of watching Bollywood. Pure masti!

  68. Like Suhan mentions, that tape of his final message appears to have been created much earlier. His voice in the tape is so full of energy. Nevertheless, it was great to hear him talk about his journey into films.

    • Even in Apsara function, when Khanna spoke – his voice was full of energy – The function was held in March-April 2012. He had become thin because he was suffering from cancer. People who have cancer start becoming thinner. He had not divulged details of his illness to anyone other than family and Anju, Mumtaz it seems. He requested hospital authorities and family members to not divulge till after his death that he was suffering from cancer. He knew about his death a year before. Still to keep media guessing , he to pacify his fans came outside Aashirwaaad to wave to the meida standing outside his bunglow. Khanna died in style. The same way as he did in Anand – he wanted people to be not aware that he has cancer and also had a pre recorded message like he had in Anand. He gave up hopes of staying alive after June 17 as per media reports – when he came to know that medications are not having any effect on him. This pre recorded message must have been recorded by Khanna 2 weeks before he was to die. (when he was coming and getting discharged from Hospital).

  69. Rajesh Khanna’s ashes immersed In Ganges River.

    Usually as per Hindu customs, it is performed by Son or a male relative. In this case by Wife Dimple Kapadia
    Anyway all is well that ends well.

  70. I have seen most of the Funeral and Chautha pics of Rajesh Khanna , but never saw even one pic of Dharmendra or his sons Sunny, Bobby or daughter Esha. Only Hema gave tributes on TV.
    Did they boycott the occasion or was it plain coincidence.?
    Anyone who knows more on it may tell me..

    • Were they friends? I don’t remember ever seeing any hint of that…so why would he or his kids go to the funeral or chautha? Even Hemaji was not that close to Rajesh despite making movies with him.

      • If reports are to be believed, Dharamendra and Rajesh Khanna did not have the warmest of relationships. However, I do remember seeing a picture which showed Dharamendra visiting Ashirwaad soon after RK’s death. That should put speculations to rest.

    • absolute worng information. dharmendra had visited rajesh khanna in lelelavati hospital(was shown in TV) and check out videos of news channels. he had visited khanna’s home the day when Khanna had died. in the noon on 18th july, dharmendra had come to visit. There have been many deaths in recent days – but it was only in Rajesh Khanna’s case that there was big media coverage for 3 days – pne on his death day, funeral day and for chautha cermony(21st July – Prayer meeting). Jeetendra, Amitabh, Asha Parekh, Rakesh Roshan, Asrani, Bindu, Prem Chopra, Shabana Azmi, Jackie Shroff, Yash Chopra, Anu Malik, Sunil Shetty, Aamir Khan, the whole of Kapoor family – Rishi, Randhir, Rajiv except for Shashi , were seen on all the 3 occassions to pay respect to Rajesh Khanna. People like Salim Khan, Dahremdra, Salman Khan, SRK chose to come only on death day. Shashi Kapoor despite his catract operation attended the chautha cermony along with Ranbir and Kunal Kapoor. Actresses Poonam Dhillon, Padmini Kolhapuri, Sridevi, Sanjay Kapoor, Neelam Kothari came only for his chautha cermony.

  71. Well, they did a couple of movies together Rajput , Dharam aur Qanoon etc in the 80s..Anyway I would have thought Rajesh’s popularity( then) and death ( now) did bring in most film personalities to his tributes function…even those not really close to him too ( say Tabu or Reena Roy or Rakesh Roshan)..
    Well I could have missed the pic, too, Faldo,,tks.

  72. Dharmendra and Rajesh Khanna were definitely never enemies. Dahrmendra has said in many interviews that Khanna was the only superstar and he admired him for the success Khanna achieved. They have worked together in Khamoshi (where Dharm had made guest appearance), Rajput(where both of them were the lead heroes and Vinod Khanna had supporting role) and in Dharm Aur Kanoon (where both of them were the main lead heroes but Khanna had meatier double role). Dharam and Khanna had co – produced Barsaat in 1995 which was debut film of Twinkle Khanna and Bobby Deol. Dharm recites many incidents like the one he recited in an interview to star news – during primier of Jheel Ke Us Paar – people were taking autographs of Dharm till the time news broke out that Khanna had arrived in car. Soon the crowd ran to Khanna to get his autographs. Dharm continued to say “my words to Gulshan Nanda were – He is the real star. Star ho toh Rajesh Khanna jaisa – ada, music, acting , sab bhari”. Jeetendra in recent epiosde on Idian Idol 6 – telecasted on 21st July saturday – divulged many facts about Rajesh Khanna – that episode showed how everyone Amitabh, Jeetendra, Dharm and other contemprories – always regarded Rajesh Khanna as a better actor than themselves. Jeetendra also said in that episode ” Khanna jahan jata tha wahan bayanak crowd uske taraf chala jata tha. Chaahe Howrah ho ka koi aur jagah. Khanna was bahut mehnati (hardworking and was always interested in dramatic and had good music sense.” Memsaab try to see that episode from youtube. It was excellent. Even records of Khanna – 73 Golden Jub Hits and 22 Silver Jub Hit – is mentioned in that Indian Idol 6 21st July episode.

  73. @Shrikant – Good to hear that Dharamendra, Jeetendra and Amitabh shared a healthy rivalry with Rajesh Khanna and admired him as an actor. While there has been more coverage of Rajesh’s interaction with Jeetendra and Amitabh, one had not heard of much information about his association with Dharamendra.

  74. Not sure if this has already been posted here (my apologies if it has). But I’m reading this for the first time. A joint interview with Rajesh and Amitabh in 1990.

    • Thank you for sharing this link, Raja and to all others who’ve been kind to share the stories and links. It’s amazing to know more about RK and feel the love for him. Many thanks! It’s great to see and read about how honest he was about his superstardom and how it affected him. How aptly he says in that video at the end of the interview:

      izzaten shohraten ulfaten chahaten
      sab kuch is duniya mein rehta nahin
      aaj main hoon jahaan kal koyi aur tha
      yeh bhi ek daur hai woh bhi ek daur tha

    • Googled for this seeing the very abridged interview linked by raja.
      Pure gold. Loved Amitabh’s speculation on who the next superstar could be. :)

    • Thanks for this exciting coverage of Amitabh/Rajesh 1990 joint press interview. I must say it must have been a very very rare occasion. It looked very apparent that Kaka had a lot to say to his fans and to the Press. I have always been a Kaka’s fan for a long long time and please do NOT take my next questions as a dis respect to the departed great Superstar.
      1… Was this 1990 interview conducted in English or was it translated from Hindi to English?
      2… As a non-Hindi Speaking Fan i have only come across one RK interview where the conversations were conducted in English. I have seen lots of his old interview clips in the 70s & 80S but he rarely conducted his Interviews in English at all unlike other Bollywood Stars of the era.
      Here in Aberdeen you sometimes have to tape these RK clips and give it to your Hindi speaking friends to translate. (Has anyone got any of Kaka’s interview clips in English? (Apart from the 1973 BBC Documentary with Mumtaz)
      It was also painful watching the IIFA Award some time ago when Kaka was rewarded with a Life achievement Award. He spoke for so long in Hindi and perhaps did not remember that an international audience was watching. His only line in English was his last sentence ‘’ I thank you all from the bottom of my heart’’.
      The above is just an observation and does NOT make me love him less. He was my Hero! He was the greatest Hindi Superstar. Albeit for only 5 years. (1969-1974). He shook the foundation of Indian Cinema. He was the Superstar.

  75. Memsaab, I have bought some posters. As you too collect posters I write to seek your help. How do I preserve them and frame them. With age they have become brittle. And also what is deacidifying a poster. Kindly help me Memsaab as they are rare posters of kati Patang, Guide, House No. 44.

  76. Memsaab, I have bought some posters. As you too collect posters I write to seek your help. How do I preserve them and frame them. With age they have become brittle. And also what is deacidifying a poster. Kindly help me Memsaab as they are rare posters of kati Patang, Guide, House No. 44.

  77. I was vacationing in Gatlinburg,TN, USA where I had rented a log cabin on one of its tall mountain peaks. I had my movie projector with me and I was watching RK songs from youtube, little did I know that RK was breathing his last at that time. I learnt the sad news next day in the evening. So at night till 2am, I put on RK’s songs on full blast, that could be heard perhaps a mile away, not that anybody lived in the vicinity in those forsaken mountains to hear or complain about loud noise in an alien language, but I wanted high-up heavens to hear what it had stolen from us. I wanted to fill those mountains, and the empty sky with sound of RK’s songs. I wanted those twinkling stars up in the sky to know and welcome our super star.

    Whenever I used to feel sad or bored or lonely, I used to watch RK’s songs on youtube or DVD. Now, when I watch his songs, I get feeling of sadness and loneliness, of personal loss, of passing of an era I grew up with, of losing people that made it so sweet and memorable.

  78. 1. How could Sunny Deol have visited Rajesh Khanna’s home ? We all know about Sunny’s liaison with Dimple.

    2. Hema and Rajesh starred in ‘Prem Kahani’ which was a golden jubilee hit that was released when Rajesh Khanna’s popularity was ebbing. Yet, it was Hema who did many movies with Rajesh Khanna – including movies like – “Durga”, ” Sitapur Ki Geeta” (B-grade movies) in the late eighties and early nineties. This was professionalism at its best.

    I am not sure which awards function it was (APSARA, ,may be) and Hema Malini sauntered in late for the awards nite and the camera focussed on Rajesh who looked the other way. His expression said it all. Neither did Rajesh Khanna get along with Jaya Bhaduri with whom he acted in “Bawarchi”.

    3. In one his interviews he has mentioned that he could have married Mumtaz but chose to marry the younger, nubile actress of Bobby. He also explained why he left Mahendru after 7 years of courtship.

    4. His ego and attitude created problems for him, but none can deny that he will be a phenomenon. Look at his ouevre – ” Aakshri Khat”, “Aurat”, “Bawarchi, “Anand”, “Namak Haram”. His biggest mistake was to enter politics. Plus, he did a terrific job in “Avtar”, “Amrit”, “Souten” and ” Swarg”. It should not have been difficult for him to transition to powerful character roles like Amitabh in his later years. I wish he had maintained his physique like Amitabh.

    5. This is the problem of acting in classic movies at a young age. After reaching those heights, it appears that the only way is a spiral downward. Can we imagine else other than him in ‘Anand;’ or ‘Ajnabi’ or ‘Daag’? He had achieved too much too soon and that proved to be his undoing.

    6.Last but not the least, why is everyone so mum on the hit movies that he gave in the 80’s . it is a sheer travesty of justice. I wish he had not stopped to the level of acting in movies with Laila Khan,

    • @Ramarathnam: Hema and Rajesh did not star in Prem Kahani.You must have meant Prem nagar. The former starred Mumtaz

    • @Ramarathnam Dharmendra and Rajesh Khanna were definitely never enemies. Dahrmendra has said in many interviews that Khanna was the only superstar and he admired him for the success Khanna achieved. They have worked together in Khamoshi (where Dharm had made guest appearance), Rajput(where both of them were the lead heroes and Vinod Khanna had supporting role) and in Dharm Aur Kanoon (where both of them were the main lead heroes but Khanna had meatier double role). Dharam and Khanna had co – produced Barsaat in 1995 which was debut film of Twinkle Khanna and Bobby Deol. Dharm recites many incidents like the one he recited in an interview to star news – during primier of Jheel Ke Us Paar – people were taking autographs of Dharm till the time news broke out that Khanna had arrived in car. Soon the crowd ran to Khanna to get his autographs. Dharm continued to say “my words to Gulshan Nanda were – He is the real star. Star ho toh Rajesh Khanna jaisa – ada, music, acting , sab bhari”. Jeetendra in recent epiosde on Idian Idol 6 – telecasted on 21st July saturday – divulged many facts about Rajesh Khanna – that episode showed how everyone Amitabh, Jeetendra, Dharm and other contemprories – always regarded Rajesh Khanna as a better actor than themselves. Jeetendra also said in that episode ” Khanna jahan jata tha wahan bayanak crowd uske taraf chala jata tha. Chaahe Howrah ho ka koi aur jagah. Khanna was bahut mehnati (hardworking and was always interested in dramatic and had good music sense.” Memsaab try to see that episode from youtube. It was excellent. Even records of Khanna – 73 Golden Jub Hits and 22 Silver Jub Hit – is mentioned in that Indian Idol 6 21st July episode.

    • @M R Ramarathnam I think you have lots of misconception about Rajesh Khanna’s career!!
      1) Dharam Visted thats enough and Hema also visited thats enough . In one of the above comments i have mentioned who all came in detail for his chautha, death day and on funeral day!!!
      2)Prem Nagar had Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna-Hema Malini pair had 2 hits in early 70’s, but due to 3 failures in the 1975-1970 period, the producers were reluctant to cast them as a pair. After Hema got married, her only box office hits in the eighties were opposite Rajesh Khanna and Dharmendra only. Hema Malini had 8 blockbusters opposite Rajesh Khanna as a pair in the 1980’s Bandish, Kudrat, Dard, Rajput, Hum Dono, Babu, Sitapur Ki Geeta and Durgaa where Khanna had special appearance.
      3) In 2000 interview he has explained “Anju Mahendroo and I were very true lovers and Anju’s mother was very affectionate towards me. After I achieved super-stardom, somewhere in 1971, my mother insisted that I get married. I had female fans swooning over me and had crazy fan following. It was then that I decided to discuss about marriage with Anju. But I think destiny had some other plans due to which Anju felt its too early to marry and kept evading this topic for at-least a year and said she is not ready for it. She even started to date others just to make me jealous. This resulted in breakup. But by 1989, we had matured and moved on and became friends again.You know what, I still love my wife, Dimple. On the other hand, my ex Anju Mahendroo is one of my best friends today. Dimple, Anju and me have become closest friends.” and in another 1991 interview Rajesh Khanna has said “ina Munim was a big fan of mine since her child hood and was very excited when she learned about she being part of films starring me in lead role.We worked in 11 films and of them we were romantically paired in 7 films.As a pair we had 6 box office success of the 7.After I separated from Dimple in 1984, Tina became my support system and we became close friends.She was in love with me but was not open about it till 1984. By 1986,Tina insisted on marriage but I always knew Dimple and I will get together soon as it was misunderstanding only and never wanted to make my children feel that their parents don’t love each other.The moment I rejected Tina’s proposal, she decided to discontinue her acting career. By 1989, Dimple and me became closer and friendly. ”
      4)Khanna has done parallel, art films as well as commercial films. and his filmography speaks everthing as to how many genres he has done! unlike amitabh who after acheiving success kept doing angry young man films, Khanna did not stick to one genre, though called as romantic king etc…rajesh did films of all genres from 1966-1991!!!! If u wish i wil eplain more with regard this point as to how Kaka is superior to amitabh in his carrer from 1976-1991 itself!!!!!
      5) Thats not true ..if it was then he would not have 79 critically acclaimed films of the 128 as the lead protogonist and Kaka has 73 GJH and 22SJH from 1966-1991!!!! He has 106 solo hero films!! Kaka has more solo hero number of films than any Hindi actor!!!(Amitabh has only 43 solo hero films and 64 two hero films and rest are supporting roles or guest appearances or as narrator only )Kaka’s carrer did not end in 1975 so its you who is ignoring claassics from 1975-1991!!!
      6) Just go through my reply!!

    • @M R Ramanathan – the solo hit movies of Khanna of 80’s were – Aanchal, Phir Wohi Raat, Bandish , Kudrat, Dard ,Dhanwan, Prem Bandhan,Fiffty Fiffty,Ashanti,Souten,Avatar,Agar Tum Na Hote,Awaaz, Angaarey,Naya Kadam, Hum Dono, Babu, Bewafai,Adhikar, Shatru, Anokha Rishta, Nasihat, Amrit, Awaam etc..and multi star hits like Rajput, Maqsad , Zamana, Dharm Aur Qanoon he had 22 silver jubliee hits in 1966-1991 period and 73 Golden jubliee hits in 1966-1991(3 golden jubliee hits in 76-78 period).Khanna remained a favorite with producers throughout his career. In 1976-78, he had 7 critically acclaimed films which flopped at the box office(especially Tyaag, Mehbooba, Chakaravyuha, Naukri, Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein though flopped have excellent performances by Khanna and were unfortunate flops and had 2 more flops which was panned by critics in 76-78 and the 4 commercial hits of 76-78 were Chhaila Babu, Anurodh,Mahachor and Karm. To say that after Namak Haram, Khanna’s career went downhill is rubbish, as Aap Ki Kasam, Roti, Prem Kahani, Prem Nagar all came only after Namak Haram.Films like Redrose and Aaj Ka MLA Ram Avtar though flopped were critically acclaimed and Khanna has performed well even in them.. Infact every producer has repeated Khanna in their films atleast 3 times…in his career, at different times with author backed role for Khanna eg- BR Chopra had 3 hits with Khanna (Ittefaq -1969, Karm in 1977, Awam in 1987) same goes the case with D Rama Naidu, Shakti Samanta, Yash Chopra, Narinder Bedi, K. Raghavendra Rao, Narayana Rao Dasari, J.Om Prakash, Mohan Kumar etc…So story of big producers shying away from approaching Khanna is a fiction and Khanna has minimum of 4 films releasing every year from 1970-1991.Another highlight of Khanna’s career was” his record in 1985 – 8 superhits off the 11 released as the lead hero” and in year 1985 he also made special appearance in Aar Par(a flop) and had unreleased film Bayen Hath Ka Khel, which had its musical release in 1985.Khanna was awarded Filmfare Special award in 1991 for having starred in 101 films as the solo lead hero and just 21 two hero films in short span of 25 years.By 2011, he now holds record for actor with most number of author backed lead hero films – 106 solo hero films and only 22 two hero films . Khanna has done 163 feature films and 17 short films (so his total film tally comes to 180 in 40 years as told by Khanna in IIFA awards). …….By the way iam just 24 year old and iam copy pasting from the artcile i wrote in this link

  79. While trying to isolate some old newspapers, I found a few weeks old Bengali newspaper in which his Bengali secretary/manager for 20 years (since 1971) – Prashanta Ray(Prashant) wrote about his life.
    I am trying to summarize this article as Memsaab will probably be interested.

    “Bahut saath diya hai”(Has been on my side for long and in need)

    On hearing about kaka’s condition, Prashant rushed to his house “Ashirbad”. He wrote and gave a letter to the security guards and said ” Give it to them, they know me”.
    Then Dimple’s phone came “Prashant, come quickly!”
    Kaka was in a semi-consciouss state when he entered. Dimple called him in his years “Prashant has come.”
    kaka looked once and holded prashant’s hands and said to Dimple “Dimple, this man has been on my side for long and in need. Take care of him!”
    By then, both Dimple and Prashant were in tears.

    Prashant says about how rare it is to find a man such a big heart.

    “Well Done!”

    This is about how once Anju Mahendra was chasing Kaka and bombarding with phone calls when Kaka and Dimple were engaged and about to get married. Prashant phoned kaka and informed him that Anju-ji was about to reach the place where Kaka and Dimple was. That enabled Kaka and Dimple to escape.
    kaka later praised Prashant :”Well Done!”. Incidentally, Prashant had to lie to contact and inform Kaka.

    “Is the roti covered with ghee?”

    There was very frequently some construction work going on in his house Ashirbad. Kaka made sure that the labourers eat the same food that he does.

    “I hate tears”

    One servant in Ashirbad used to consume an addictive substance, Kaka came to learn about it and said to Prashant ” Prashant, I heard that that boy consumes that thing. I have heard that those who consume addictive substances, when they run out of money, there lives become the most miserable fellows. Give him Rs.100 extra when he goes to market.”
    Prashant did so. A few days later that boy came crying to kaka. ” I have heard that you give me Rs.100 extra for that reason. I have never heard of such a boss. I quit consuming it from last night when heard about it. I promise, I will never consume that again.” He was still crying. Everyone else was happy at his recovery. Kaka was about to go out. He said while getting to his car ” I am very happy to hear that. Now keep your mind at working hard. And don’t cry! I hate tears.”

    “Rajesh Khanna kabhi discount nahi leta” (Rajesh Khanna never takes discount)

    Frequently, businessman such as people from a car’s showroom used to come to his house. Once Prashant was negotiating with such a car dealer. Kaka called him outside and in a tensed and almost in a scolding manner he asked Prashant “Prashant, what do you think you are doing? Rajesh Khanna never takes discount. If you have the guts then buy with full price, or else don’t buy”

    “Pancham is my heart”

    Kaka used to frequently remark to Prashant that “Pancham is my heart”.
    He also wanted all of his songs to be sung by kishore Kumar. If a producer said that a song has to be sung by someone else like Rafi, he will never argue, but deep down he was never happy with that. Kishoreda was a frequent visitor. As for Panchamda, he used to come almost daily. And if Pancham is coming, you know that Rajesh Khanna will be in a good mood. Together they will sit and discuss film and music.

    Once Kaka said to Pancham during dinner “Pancham, tu ne Raja Rani mein achchha music nahi diya”(Pancham, you didn’t give good music in the film Raja Rani). Pancham was probably hurt by that comment. The next day, Pancham came to Ashirbad very early at the dawn and then kept calling ” Where is his majesty? Tell him to listen to this new tune that I made for him.” Then kaka listened and liked it.
    That tune was “Suno, Kaho” from Aap ki kasam. Apparently, Pancham made it based on the rhythm of a whirring fan.

    (kaka said similar things after pancham died. He said “If I was his body, then he was my soul.” He even used the last line from Anand and said ” RD Burman hasn’t died, RD Burman doesn’t die.”)

    “Make sure that they keep getting tea and food”

    Except for one or two selected media people, Kaka used to avoid them.
    Prashant had to fix appointments with many reporters/interviewers. the instruction was “Make them sit in a comfortable room. Make sure that they get tea and food every hour until I arrive. ” And kaka will never arrive. After a few hours, the interviewer will understand that this guy isn’t going to give interviews and then they will leave.

    Never seen Amitabh enter Ashirbad

    After spending 2 decades in Ashirbad, Prashant had never seen one person enter Ashirbad – Amitabh Bachchan. He only came once, and that was after Kaka had died.- and when he came Prashant was surprised as he did not expect it.
    It was kaka who introduced Prashant to Amitabh at the sets of Anand, but he had never seen Amit-ji come to Kaka’s house.

    There was much disagreement between kaka on one-side and Amitabh and Hrishi-da on another side on the sets of Namak Haraam. Much later, kaka told Prashant how he felt very hurt by the way Amitabh behaved many times in the sets of Namak Haraam.

    Kaka used to say “People never understood me. I am not money minded. I am an artist. I just can’t spend my life like that by calculating every step.”
    Prashant knows very well how moody and uncalculated Kaka was.

    “Zindagi kitna badal gaya hai rey”(Hey, life has changed so much!)

    May be it was his moody and uncalculated nature that he started to get lesser works with top directors and that ultimately changed his life. Earlier, Kaka was surrounded by a top class team -and Prashant observes that this was largely a Bengali group: directors like – Shaktida, Hrishida ; actresses like Sharmila Tagore; musicians like Panchamda, Salilda; singers like Kishoreda. But slowly but certainly this largely Bengali group started to leave and got replaced by a 3rd class team – especially the directors and producers. Earlier, there was a discipline, there was a culture, but these new people were not only 3rd rate directors , but also people with 3rd rate morals. They did nothing but drink alcohol, massage kaka’s ego like “you are so great! you are a bomb!” and were all fair-weather friends.
    Prashant believes that these third rate directors, producers, actors were largely responsible for his downfall.

    Then, kaka and Dimple separated ( and she only came back much later). This had really broken him a lot. This almost ended everything that kaka had left.
    In the late 80s he often used to say to Prashant “Zindagi Kitna badal gaya hai re”.(Hey, life has changed so much!)
    kaka had even tried astrologers etc to get back his stardom, but nothing worked.

    Even in his bad times, Kaka financially helped Prashant when he was getting married. He even warned him “Prashant, if I hear that you are taking dowry, I will fire you immediately”. Of course, Prashant assured him that he was better than that.

    Prashant remembers himself how life had changed in Ashirbad. Earlier strange things used to happen at Ashirbad. Whole night parties, handicapped mother comes with a child and says that the doctor has said that unless this boy gets to see Rajesh Khanna in person , he will go mad.
    Then when kaka married, you hear news that some women got a heart-attack. And young Dimple brought a lot of youthful energy to the house Ashirbad as she came in as a bride.

    Then things started to become lonely. One day in the early 90s, kaka entered Prashant’s office and asked him ” What do you do in your office Prashant? I have no work myself, what work do you have so early in the Morning?”
    That was the day when Prashant decided to leave Ashirbad, which was his address for 20 years.

    In the last 5-6 years before his death Prashant was often called by Kaka in phone. He will sometimes tell him ” Prashant, when the older brother becomes poor, does the younger brother forget?”. Such words will pierce through Prashant’s heart like a knife and Prashant will assure Kaka that he will be there whenever kaka asks him.

    Prashant remembers what kaka told him in a phone two years ago ” Who do I have Prashant? I have nothing apart from this loneliness”.

    I said summarize, but I covered a lot. I am exhausted

  80. You’re welcome. I am glad that someone liked. This means all that typing wasn’t in vain. :)
    I thought this was an interesting article. I didn’t even know that a guy like Prashant existed.
    (I am fairly ignorant anyway. My interest in Bollywood is primarily a result of my interest in RD Burman’s music.)

    • Can’t blame you for that! He deserves to be so much more well-known outside of India than he is…

      • Hehe, I am glad that you agree.
        I also agree with you that Vishal Bharadwaj is a genius.(you probably said that somewhere) Some of my most favourite songs of 90s was actually by him. A few songs I only learned much later that it was by him. For example the Hindi opening of jungle book(jungle jungle baat chali) opening was one of my childhood favourites. I only learned much later that it was by him.
        I was listening to this:

    • Thanks Elementary. This was a great read. I think a lot of the post early 1990s stuff was speculation and a bit mawkish :-)

      For instance, I came across this interesting piece on Mr. Khanna by someone who is possibly one of the first Indians to do a doctoral thesis on popular Hindi cinema (on Amitabh Bachchan which has since been published) way back in the late 80s, early 90s. In her piece (linked below) she mentions how surprised she was to see Rajesh Khanna so engaged with his political work in Delhi. There is a bit there where she talks of him working on a mound of files in 2002 (when Shah Rukh’s ‘Devdas’ released) and his term in Parliament had been long over (in 1996). Bombay gossip had always disparaged his political interest saying he hardly did anything – this bit certainly says otherwise.

      • Thanks, Suhan!
        That article that I summarized also briefly mentioned about Rajesh Khanna joining politics. May be he wanted to regain some of his stardom through politics.
        Kaka did gain back a lot of his stardom back after he died. He wouldn’t be lonely with the kind of attention he got after his death. That’s how the article finished.

  81. If you think that’s old lady voice , you should listen to some of the songs she was singing 5 or 10 years after this. This was fairly decent, if you compare it to those songs.

  82. I know , but in this song I think it’s still somewhat acceptable. It didn’t sound as awkward as some of her other songs.
    In any case, my point was more about how Vishal Bharadwaj did a lovely job here.

  83. Rakhee Gulzar in an interview to Mumbai Mirror published on Sep 18, 2012, says “Rajesh Khanna broght good films and continued to do only good films. Amitabh brought bad films” and she continues to praise Rajesh Khanna..”When Rajesh passed away was at my farmhouse near Panvel.I called up Gulzar and told him to rush to Ashirwaad, I did not come to Mumbai to as I didn’ want to see Khanna that way.I didnt want to make a spectacle of my tears either. But I did visit him in hospital. A few days after his demise I went to his house and placed a rose below his picture kept outside his bunglow.Rajesh was one of the seven wonders of the industry.There was a magic in his face and in his mannerisms.He was shy and conservative but misunderstood.Why wouldn’t he come 3 hourse late for a shot when his co-stars like me took 3 hours to dress up?Rajesh never used any make-up ever in his career. Would any body from current top stars do a film like Bawarchi?” She considers him to be the best among the actors from 1960-1990 gneration. Rakhee says she did not like any SRK film after DDLJ.

  84. Yes, Rakhee is daringly outspoken and here she speaks her mind.Her interview comes across as so straightforward and frank. Though Rajesh acted in several nice romances, touching tragedies in 70s and even Masala films later in 80s, he somehow still held his own in terms of Story quality, music and overall message conveyed. Amitabh may be doling out sweet Hindi platitudes now on KBC shows like a renowned scholar but in his stock of films while he was becoming a crorepathi himself, many were rank bad ones where mostly he acted like a drunken lout and glorified violence and portrayed some kind of mean streak. True, times changed and people’s taste too underwent transformation in those 10 years which marked the innings of these two superstars, but there is no denying that this ‘angry young man’ was not a pleasant change for some like me who liked nice decent flicks of 60s and 70s..My two paisa worth

  85. Thank you for a wonderful tribute and amazing comments!
    I became a passionate Rajesh Khanna fan as a teenager with Aradhana, but since then with my career persuits and eventual move to US, I did not follow his later movies after Avatar, nor met him personally or anything. His death hit me very hard which was totally unexpected. I mean I am one of his billion of fans.
    Since then I have been devouring everything I can find on UTube, netflix and amazon just trying to make peace with this overwhelming wave of grief and sorrow and it is really hard going. This site has been instrumental in keeping me grounded, specially @raja, @suhan and @memsaab thank you so much for everything!

    • It’s amazing how people you’ve never met can still really mean a lot to you. I am sure Rajesh would be so pleased to know how many people loved him enough to mourn…and you are in good company here, for sure :)

      • Yes, I am in pretty good company indeed. Thank God for that ! Just feel so guilty for not supporting Rajesh during his down time. After all he gave so much to us with his work. He was such a great talent and artist, that not letting him know that we adored him so much while he was still alive to appreciate it, is what breaks my heart. I am sure, all this huge outpouring of love and adulation would have brought a smile to his face or brightened the twinkle in his eyes!
        Rest in Peace Rajesh Khanna. There is nothing we can do but hope you have a party up there with Kishore Kumar and Panchamda.

  86. Interesting thread.

    Its interesting that a number of superstars start out with that certain something (like Lata, Rajesh, Amitabh) and then turn into caricatures of themselves. And I kind of agree that the Amitabh era resulted in a change in direction for Indian commercial cinema that wasn’t very pleasant – though many a 80s kid might disagree:)

    The comments on Raakhee did remind me though that I need to go back and see a few Raakhee movies, She is one of few 70s stars I love.

    And from what I remember Anju Mahendru was quite a sassy lady.

  87. Chalo – Things are sure looking up. Obama wins, Warren wins, Tammy Baldwin wins, Maryland and Maine win and people STILL love Kaka :-) Time to celebrate Memsaab with a post!

  88. I feel so unfortunate that I was not there to see the superstardom received by rajesh khanna. I really pity this fact. Anyways,what can I say about him. He was the first yesteryear actor whose name I got to know. Aradhana was the first old film I watched. It was some seven years ago that I heard the tune of just one or two words of jeevan se bhari teri aankhen and I instantly loved that song. It was now two years ago that I heard that song for the first time and it became my one of the favorite songs of rajeshji and my favorite romantic song.
    My parents and everybody has told me about his craze. And believe me,I was listening to all that with my mouth open. I mean,I haven’t heard anything of that type.
    When I watched aradhana for the first time I was very young. The next time I watched the movie was after his death. And I noticed how handsome he has looked in that movie, really! Of course I haven’t lost my heart to him nor I am ever going to lose it.
    If you ask me then he looked his best in aradhana and he gave the best performance of his career in anand. Please don’t take this statement of mine negatively. I just mean to say that he delivered fantastic performance in all his movies by my favorite is anand.
    I have seen about fifteen of his movies and all were fantastic. And the best thing was that in each of his movies he has done different type of acting. He had the right control on his emotions,way of delivering the dialoges and everything. I love his acting in aradhana especially in the last scene. In Kati patang his way of talking in “poetic language” was spectacular. In safar he showed pure love on his face. And anand, what can I say about that masterpiece. The way he showed pain on his face was superb. I mean really you could make out that the person who is so laughable, so cheery has lots and lots of pain in reality. He was indeed one of the best actors of Hindi cinema.
    He also had one more speciality-he looked good with all his actresses. But for me,he looked his best with sharmila tagore. Both of them complemented each other.
    He has even given us one of the best songs. Nobody could sing romantic songs on screen better than him. One of my favorites I have mentioned above and others are all the songs of aradhana,anand,Kati patang,amar prem,o mere dil ke chain,zindagi ka safar,woh sham kuch ajeeb thi etc.
    I am sure that a new film directed by shakti da with hero being rajeshji,music by pancham da,singing done by kishore da and lyrics by anand bakshi will be released very soon in heaven. God must be saying,” You all have seen masterpieces created by this magical combination but now it is my turn to enjoy them!”
    One dialoge which is suitable for this article is from anand- kabuki kabuki Bhagwan ko bhi achche logon ki zarurat pandit hai.
    Rest in peace rajesh ji and my sincere thanks to you for giving us wonderful songs and movies.

    • Sorry the dialoge was kabhi kabhi Bhagwan ko bhi cache logon ki zarurat padti hai.

    • great.I completely agree with ur every statement except one that his best was not Anand..but there are many more much better than Anand which he has given which the media does not highlight and his best was Amar Prem and Kudrat……………. i insist that u watch his other classics too – Kudrat, Redrose, Amardeep, Hum Dono, Shatru, Dharm Aur Qanoon, Rajput, Babu, Ashanti, Chhilla Babu, Prem Kahani, Bandhan, Chakravyuha, Souten, Amrit, Anoka Rishta, Dil Daulat Duniya. and Tyaag.
      What seperates him from other actors of his and subsequent generation is that – he attempted different genres simultanoeusly.

      In comparison to all actors of different eras – Khanna – the first superstar of Indian Cinema and not just Hindi Film Industry alone- stands out. Though he is popularly referred to as the King of Romance and best romantic actor by different generations of Indians – his successful films throughout his career had romance just as an element in them. Khanna never repeatedly did college romance like Aamir Khan, SRK, Salman in 90’s did repeatedly or ran around trees like Shammi Kapoor , Rajendra Kumar did in 60’s or continuously to keep himself in market stuck doing one kind of cinema like Amitabh did with angry young man films from 1975-1999(although Amitabh achieved success only from 1975-1984 in this genre and as his films got repetitive his film of this genre flopped from 1985-1999) or like Akshay who did comedy movies after 2000 or doing over the top characters in name of entertainment like Rajnikanth or doing tragedy roles like Dilip Kumar again and again or specializing in simplistic roles alone like Raj Kapoor. In spite of being given the superstar status Rajesh Khanna accepted variety of scripts and different characters. Khanna had become the highest paid actor in 1970 and remained so till 1987. But still accepted roles considered – unconventional roles for a hero, especially for some-one who is regarded as superstar of the country and is highest paid actor during that period (1970-1987), best examples are the characters he played in Ittefaq, Khamoshi, Safar, Anand, Dushman, Maalik, Bawarchi, Namak Haram, Avishkaar, Palkon Ki Chahon Mein, Anurodh, Naukri, Chakravyuha, Thodisi Bewafaii, Redrose, Awaaz, Babu, Aaj Ka MLA Ram Avtaar, Anokha Rishta, Aakhir Kyun, Amrit.

      Even the Manmohan Desai film he did – Roti was different from all other films of Manmohan Desai – it was not formula based film and Sachcha Jhuta was the inspiration behind the film Don (1978) and its subsequent remakes. Basu Chatterjee had told in an interview after Charvyuha was released that “Khanna gives me what I want within 3 hours all by himself whereas in case of others like Amol Palekar, Zarina Wahab, Vinod Mehra, Dharmendra, Girish Karnad they give me what I want only after 9-10 hours after I put my efforts on them.” Khanna accepted roles which others dared not to touch or experiment after achieving the top star status. This is the reason Khanna continued to get work from different directors and producers across India, despite his salary being such that will shoot up the budget of the film. Directors like Chetan Anand, Narinder Bedi, Surendra Mohan, B.R.Chopra, Yash Chopra, Shakti Samanta, Sohanlal Kanwar, B.R.Ishara have repeatedly cast Khanna in minimum 3 films each in the period 1969-1996. Khanna has films dealing with various issues – problems of labour class in Namak Haram, when a less educated wife faces when the husband falls for a modern girl in Aakhir Kyun, problems of farmer in Bandhan etc and did film of every genre possible – pathos, tragedy, fantasy, crime, horror , political adventure, suspense thrillers, mystery, socially relevant and entertaining movies. He was accepted in all the roles he essayed by the audience – romance, action, emotions, drama, comedy. Khanna, having had fast grasping power and quality of adapting and getting into the skin of character quickly, could give hits in every kind of genre of film even though he had more than 2 films releasing ever year from 1969-1991. The quality of role he did or the music it had did not deteriorate for silly reason that he made more films at hand and so quality got affected! Khanna entertained the audience in every kind of film he did.

  89. Again sorry it is achche

  90. Hey all followers of this blog and memsaab,

    a book having reference to Rajesh Khannna – read its review A sure you would like to read it.

    Name: My Magical Palace

    Author: Kunal Mukherjee

    Pages: 380

    Publisher: Harper Collins India

    Rahul Chatterjee, a 13-year-old boy who comes to terms that he’s not like other boys in his school and finds his world turned upside down. Gone are the days where he had all the freedom in the world to play in the palace’s garden which is a sight to behold within the four walls of Mint House in Hyderabad. The year is 1973 and we are told that few areas in Hyderabad are grappling with riots between Hindus and Muslims. In the middle of all this chaos Rahul realises that he’s in love with Rajesh Khanna, a fact which makes him quite uneasy every time he thinks about how his family would react when they come to know that he’s a ‘girlie’ boy.

    Kunal Mukherjee rekindles a lost era of Hyderabad in his book My Magical Palace, which is a reference to the Mint House where Rahul Chatterjee lives with his sister Rani and his parents.

    Rest read there in the given link

  91. Only those who grew up with RK can really understand how wonderful he was. I grew up with his movies and idolized him as a child. Then my entire family immigrated to the USA and I grew up in the states. And yet I still love RK to this day and he is my favorite star of all time. I still love Hati meri Saati, Sucha Jutha, and Dushman. In fact my all American 12 year niece loves HMS and calls Rajesh the elephant guy. She loves that movie. Rajesh Khanna will live on forever!

  92. Came across the “Memsaab” blog today and am absolutely thrilled with its contents. Wanted to particularly read about the complicated superstar, since I grew up with him in my schooldays. Just crossed the 50 year mark now. Somehow, impressions you form in those pre-teen years never fade away, and the fresh, smiling face with that famous twinkle in the eye is still imprinted in the brain. Nobody, but nobody, could lip sync like him. The only other person who could lip sync so well was Sivaji Ganesan for whom the voice of T.M. Soundararajan suited beautifully. The last half hour of Amar Prem is a lesson in dialogue delivery (it is there on you tube). The slow, easy and lazy drawl had much more impact than all the shouting and raving going around now in the name of “powerful dialogues”.

    He was capable of changing facial expressions in an instant, bringing subtlety into emotions. Closely watch his expression when he discovers a dry leaf in the book (Kahin door jab din, Anand); also how his playful expression becomes respectful when he stands in front of his elder brother (Rona kabhie nahin, Apna Desh)

    Even the most outlandish dresses somehow seemed to suit him. The yellow trousers and mustard overcoat in “Yeh Shaam Mastani, the electric blue Punjabi outfit in Shehzaada (Thokar me hai meri zaara zamaana), the pink safari suit in Mere Jeevan Saathi (Deewana lekhe aaya) and the ridiculous, pink overcoat in Chailla Babu (title song). All available on You tube. Could have retained his short hair though, without yielding to the compulsions of wearing the new “stepcut” style, Never suited him.

    He had excellent chemistry with not only his leading ladies, but with his co-stars, young and old. He really had something special going with Om Prakash in Jhoroo Ka Ghulam, Amar Prem and Apna Desh, with Junior Mehmood (Aan Milo Sajna) and lots of kids (Shehzaada, that famous song again). Was comfortable having Surjeet Kumar in many of his movies (the man who played the mouth organ in THAT SONG), Prem Chopra and Bindu. I was enthralled with seeing RK and Sanjeev Kumar, another stalwart, together in the few scenes they come together in Aap Ki Kasam, an otherwise maudlin movie.

    Surely there must be someplace in the Universe for his soul to incarnate again. Best regards to all.

  93. Rajesh khanna was one actor who had a terrific script sense. Also, he had an ear for music. People accuse him of mannerisms in the later part of his career but which actor does not have one? He never cultivated the press & so they wrote rubbish against him. His ashanthi was a very big hit, but was downplayed by the media. It ran for 27 weeks in Bombay.

    HIs average hits like “Dard”, “Rajput” etc., were categorized as flops. The press wrote that the dilip-amit starrer “shakthi”, released in 1982, was the first hindi film to talk of live-in relationships. They conveniently forget that the kaka-vidya sinha starrer “Karm” released in 1977 was based on this subject. It was too bold for its time & hence was not such a big hit.

    He did many films free for producers (Tyaag is one such film) but never publicised it. He gave life to salim-javed but they betrayed him & alas, even bad mouthed him. However rajesh never retaliated.

  94. Memsaab, pardon me for re-visiting this old post, but I really loved your tribute to Kaka. He was one of the more spontaneous actors that I’ve seen. At his peak (1969-1974, IMO), he was wonderfully subdued in his performances, played a great variety of roles – including quite a few women-oriented themes – and carried them off very convincingly. Like you said, he wasn’t afraid to experiment at all.

    He (along with Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor) had a great taste and took great personal interest in the music in his movies (obviously very obvious). Apparently, songs had to be okayed by him before they could be finalized. It was said that if he couldn’t catch the tune in 3 attempts, he would ask it to be changed.

    I hope you will post your thoughts on some of his other good movies – Aradhana, Anand, Amar Prem (another great Rajesh Khanna – Sharmila output), Bawarchi, Khamoshi.

  95. Hawa badal sakti hai, magar kaka ji aapke fans nahin badal sakte…..S.R.KRISHNA, ODISHA

  96. Dear, dear Memsaab – 5 years it is since Kaka and I was looking for Tom Alter’s fabulous tribute to glory in again. And found that none of the links worked! So am copy/pasting it here for posterity – there couldn’t be a better place for it in the www :-)

    Rajesh Khanna You are the reason I am an actor

    An afternoon in early 1970, the winter sunlight a song, my newfound friend, David, and I cycle from Jagadhri to Yamunanagar, through the fields, through the late afternoon, through time itself. We are young and lean and angled and the sun touches us with colour; the world is ours, we are the world’s in those days, there was a ten kilometre gap between Jagadhri and Yamunanagar and as we took the shortcut through the fields new for me, a childhood habit for David, I asked him ‘Yaar, film ka hero kaun hai?’ without looking back, but with that angle of the head which meant he knew something I didn’t, David said, “Koi Rajesh Khanna karke hai.”

    And today he left us. David and I are still friends – no, not friends – we are ‘yaars’ in all that the word implies which only that word can imply but Rajesh Khanna is gone. Yes, he is gone, yes, the tape recorder plays on, but he is gone.

    That film was Aradhana and I cycled five times that week from Jagadhri to Yamunanagar to see the film once more with David, four times alone. I wanted to be able to angle my head like David and say “Koi Rajesh Khanna karke hai”. I wanted to sing ‘Mere Sapnon ki Rani’ at the top of my voice as the wind through the fields ruffled my hair. I wanted to crinkle my eyes at beautiful women. I wanted to serenade Sharmila with snowclad mountains in the background I wanted to be able to charm the world with a smile and a style and walk and a tilt of neck and just the right emphasis never too much, never not enough on each word I spoke.

    He left us today – Rajesh Khanna – as his last days drained him, what did he remember? Was he aware of all he had given us to remember?

    He was shadow and sunlight, he was life and death, he was love and gentle lust, he was man and boy, he was lover and beloved, he was fragile and eternal, he could weep and laugh, he could turn a moment into a symphony, he could feel so effortlessly, and express so perfectly he could be cute, he could be dashing, Asha Parekh’s sahelis loved him, all of India loved him

    When he was on song, he filled the screen – no, he filled the cinema hall, no – he filled all of us with a belief that anything was possible. He could die, and stay alive he could enter a room filled with confusion and doubt, and make things come true, he could wipe the tears of a mother, and caress the trembling hands of a daughter and when he sang oh, my when he sang, he could make women tremble, he could make men shiver.

    His cheekbones, even when the weight of stardom took the edge off them, were like questions marks who had already answered the questions when he would get up from a chair, or from a bed, he would quickly pull down his shirt at the back, to subtly cover his posterior and yet, when he danced in fields, on trains, in jeeps, across meadows, down valleys his body moved with such subtle ease and rhythm that the universe swayed with him.

    His walk almost a strut, with short mincing steps his hands moving, chiseling the air into his own notes pain was in his eyebrows, and desire in his eyes he was Rajesh Khanna, and yet he was all of us – no – he wasn’t – I take that back – he was Rajesh Khanna and there never will be, never was anyone like him.

    Three times I travelled from Mussoorie by night bus to Delhi to see his films, on Friday, first day, first show, Anand, Dushman, and Amar Prem at Regal in Anand, just before he enters Ramesh Deo’s office, there is a closeup of the swinging door, and the crowd went berserk upon just seeing the door in Dushman, when he woos Bindu and tilts his cap, the entire cinema hall screamed in Amar Prem, when he sings to Sharmila on the studio created Hooghly, young and old alike sighed.

    In the latter half of 1970, when he was becoming the Phenomenon and I was working at Woodstock School in Mussoorie, I had a 45 record of Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaye, which I played from my small record player in my even smaller room. Day and night it would play, and people from sweepers to kitchen help to memsahibs would stop to listen, as Mukesh and Rajesh combined to make each evening a wonder. And when we played cricket on the Hostel field below my room, I would leave the windows open, so we could play in tune with the song and if we were truly blessed, it would be played on a loudspeaker from town, from where the clock tower used to be, and as the music swept across the valley and then over our field, we were hushed into such wonder that time herself stood still.

    And in December of ’71, as Pakistan and India began their war, it was Rajesh Khanna that made sense of things through the peace of his films, and back in my room again, with pictures of Sharmila adorning the walls of my room and my heart, the nights would shiver and calm and I prayed for the war to end, even as I prayed for his songs to never end.

    I came into films because of him – a truth which I will always acknowledge – and I was blessed beyond words to actually tell him this, as we shot together in Bangalore at the end of ’74 for a film called ‘Naukri’- Rajesh Khanna, Raj Kapoor, Zaheera, Padma Khanna and Tom Alter – I could not believe it now, that is not true – I could believe it, because it was my dream and the film directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

    The first morning of the shoot, I have been told to report in the lobby of the Ashoka Hotel by nine in the morning. I am there by 8:45. I stand at the entrance, looking out on the gardens. The minutes gently tick by. Suddenly, as if struck by lightning, I feel a current of excitement up my spine. I spin around and there he stands, on the spiral stairs coming down from the first floor to the lobby there he stands. Rajesh Khanna looking at me.

    I mean that it was like a bolt of lightning up and down my spine – it was him looking at me. And then he descended the stairs, and walked up to me and crinkled his eyes, and said “Mujhe Rajesh Khanna kahte hain.” We already knew each other for years we talked and talked, and I went with him in the car to the park which was our location, and at lunch time I took my food into a corner under a tree, and he came up to me, and asked “Tum filmon mein kyon aaye?” and I answered, and the answer came from Jagadhri via Mussoorie via Poona via my heart “Aap ki wajah se”.

    As simple as that, as true as that.

    Shadows and sunlight he was and he is gone.

    What did he remember over those final days?

    Those fields, and streams, and mountains of his mind and of his films of his life, those sweaty studios, where his charm could turn grimy walls into palaces – walking down Juhu Beach, balloons in hand, and then releasing them with a tilted and wistful smile, looking up to sky as if to say “You may be up there, but I am my own sky down here” and knowing, even as he smiled, that his safar was doomed on a motorcycle, with Hema in tow, taking the bends with a smile and such shining energy in black, romancing Asha Parekh, asking when she will come again, looking the handsomest he ever did on screen, hands in pocket, totally at ease, at the height of his powers romancing Mumtaz in the village of Meena Kumari, the pyaara dushman who takes on evil society and wins, and yet never loses his innocence.

    In Sujit Kumar’s jeep, serenading the train to Darjeeling, Gorkha hat on his head, and a song on his lips never has romance been so real, so now, so complete. There was not a shaadi from ’70 -’73 where Mere Sapnon ki Rani was not played. With graying hair, meeting Vinod Mehra at the end of the film, and crinkling his eyes through his glasses, and making us all believe that he was both young and old and with Waheeda again on the Hooghly, the real one this time, and the two of them as starcrossed as any lovers could be and in his thick sweater, he made a fashion statement which even the downcast beauty of Waheeda’s unbelievable eyes could not match.

    With Mumtaz in a car, with the rain outside, and Rajesh in a cricket sweater, and the two of them so made for each other that you wished the rain would never end and with Sharmila, with her so tidily hiding in matching towels, and him still callow and on the verge of completeness, and the fire burning and the two of them circling it, and each other, and all of us, as her roop made him mastana and in darkened cinema halls from Mussoorie to Mangalore and back again, desire was no longer a dirty word, and we were freed and with Asit Sen in Anand, passing him on the stairs, and saying ‘kyon mote’ so swiftly and with such timing that the words were gone before they were said.

    And back to Anand were it all began and will always end. Dara Singh who had to leave us the same time that Rajesh did, lifting up a local loafer over his head to allow Rajesh to meet not his own lady love, but Amitabh’s for that moment on screen, you had the charm of gentle strength, and the charm of gentle energy together for a magical moment – and the boy Daraji lifted – Aditya – is still struggling as an actor in Bombay 42 years after that scene.

    And now Rajesh Khanna has left us.

    Yes, the tape recorder plays on a spooltape it is, not a CD, not even a cassette tape, but a spool, spinning and then finally speaking those immortal words the spool spins on, yes, but he is gone even though he is not. I am bereft, and yet fulfilled today.

    He was my hero – always will be – it is as simple as that. The relationship between a hero and his fan is the most sacred relationship in the film world and for me, it will always be a late afternoon in early ’70, and David and I are cycling through the fields from Jagadhri to Yamunanagar to see Aradhana at Yamuna Talkies.

    Link –

  97. We need more reviews of his films. His body of work contains so many different genres of films and characters. Versatile actor. Miss him. Such a great pure soul.
    Memsaab do write reviews of his other films as well.

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