The undoubted prince charming of Bollywood, Rajesh Khanna ruled the tinsel town from 1969-1975. The rise of Rajesh Khanna on the horizon of Bollywood was no less spectacular than a meteor. The years between 1969 and1975 witnessed the Rajesh Khanna phenomenon sweeping Bollywood off its feet. The madness and hysteria generated by Rajesh Khanna were unparalleled in Hindi cinema.
Fondly addressed as ‘Kaka’, Jatin Khanna (he was rechristened as Rajesh Khanna when he entered Bollywood) was born on 29 December, 1942 in Amritsar.
Within no time after his debut in Bollywood, Rajesh Khanna became popular among women with his drool-worthy looks and charming smile. He is the lone actor to have delivered fifteen successive super hits.
Such was the charisma of Rajesh Khanna that his smile caused women to faint, slash their wrists and send him letters with blood. His hairstyle and distinctive ‘guru kurta’ was a fashion statement among youths of that time. His sideways nod, typical style of delivering dialogue and his charming smile were admired by everyone.
The story of Rajesh Khanna is unparallel. He became the craze of the nation, and critics started calling him the First Superstar of Indian Cinema (No. 1 Actor). He remained the Superstar for 7 years (1969-1975) and shared the status with Amitabh from 1977-1991 till he left films to join politics in 1991.
Story of lovelorn
It never had a prequel and can never have a sequel. Though in reel life he was the king of romance, the one and only prince of women’s heart, in real life he was a lovelorn.
When Rajesh Khanna was a superstar, his first girlfriend Anju Mahendru was a model-actress who was struggling to get a foothold in Bollywood. They had a stormy affair from 1966 to 1972. While Kaka was a conservative man brought up in a traditional household, Anju was bold and independent. The differences between them resulted in conflicts leading to separation. As Anju was not ready for marriage, the relation got bitter. After their break-up, the ex-superstar quoted as saying, “The world was after me and I was after her (Anju).” The lack of understanding and compatibility forced them to call off their relationship.
When ‘Bobby girl’ Dimple Kapadia came into Rajesh Khanna’s life, little did she know that she would have to bear the brunt of the fiasco of his first affair? Khanna married to Dimple who was 15 years younger to him in March 1973. The marriage proved wrong from the very beginning.
According to sources, Dimple, who was vulnerable and eager for drawing attention from Kaka, was so awestruck by her superstar husband that she was robbed of the confidence to behave in a natural manner. She did what Kaka liked; she wore what her husband told her to put on. For teenage Dimple it was like a climbing a ladder and failing again and again.
Things became worse, when Rajesh Khanna’s films started flopping at the box-office. He had become more rigid and withdrawn into his shell. Dimple couldn’t recover from his failure. Amidst this situation, separation was the only way out for unhappy marriage.
With the passage of time they had learnt to understand one another and distance brought a mutual understanding between both of them. When Kaka fell serious ill, Dimple was by his side.
1. Before he married Dimple Kapadia, Rajesh Khanna bought a lavish bungalow called Dimple from actor Rajendra Kumar and renamed it Aashirwad. The house had proved unlucky for "Jubilee" Kumar, but Rajesh Khanna delivered 15 hits in a row, a record still unbroken by any actor.
2. As a struggling actor, Rajesh Khanna had a MG sports car.
4. Rajesh Khanna was the highest paid actor from 1970-79.
5. His closest friends in Bollywood were singer Kishore Kumar and music director R D Burman.
6. Rajesh Khanna's debut film Aakhri Khat was India's official Oscar entry in 1967. It didn't make the final five cut.
7. Director Shekhar Kapur offered Mr India to Rajesh Khanna first.
8. Before he made it big, Rajesh Khanna was called the "faaltu hero" because of his unconventional features.
9. The "guru kurta" he made famous was originally the dress of choice of farmers and small time politicians.
10. The song Roop Tera Mastana from Aradhana starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore made Bollywood history as the first single take shot.
India lost its first superstar Rajesh Khanna, on July 17, 2012.