To Kaka With Love: Remembering Rajesh Khanna

MUMBAI:“Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli Haye…Kabhi Toh Hasaye, Kabhi Yeh Rulaye”  is one song which will remain ceremoniously associated with the iconic Rajesh Khanna. It has been one year since Bollywood’s first superstar graced the lord’s feet but the vibes of his unparalleled stardom and his charm still echoes among his millions of fans. 

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Rajesh Khanna made a modest beginning in ‘Aakhri Khat’ in 1966. From then it was a journey which was destined to make history in Bollywood. With over 180 films in a career spanning over 40 years and an unbeaten record of 15 consecutive hits, Kaka as Rajesh Khanna was fondly called, went on to become the biggest superstar Bollywood. He was the biggest star the industry could get and till date remains an icon. His stardom was so huge that even BBC was attracted to Rajesh Khanna’s super celebrity fame and made a documentary on the icon titled ‘Bombay Superstar’. The star had arrived.

Kaka charmed in his earlier films with his sheer simplicity and innocence. Be it his bonding with an elephant in ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’, or his impeccable comic timing in ‘Bawarchi’. As our babu moshai scaled the heights of stardom, the list of his fans and followers also began to increase.

One can never forget Kakaji and Sharmila Tagore and their passionate romance in ‘Aaradhana’. It was those eyes of Rajesh Khanna which did most of the acting. Their sensuous pairing in ‘Roop Tera Mastana’ that set the screen ablaze or Rajesh Khanna’s wait for his dreamgirl – ‘Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Aayegi Tu’ which even today remains a cult favourite. Rajesh Khanna acted with Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh, Tanuja, Mumtaaz, Hema Malini and his lady love Dimple Kapadia, who went to become his wife. But till date his films with Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaaz are what audiences cherish the most.

Poetry and wonderful music has been a key to Khanna’s films and it would be an icing on the cake to see kaka hum beautiful lines. Eyes used to turn moist when Rajesh Khanna emoted on screen.

From comedy to serious roles Rajesh Khanna used to make a switch with such ease. He was the perfect man when it came to wooing women. His charm while riding the bike in ‘Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana’ is till today regarded as the perfect mantra to woo women.

His other notable films included ‘Roti’, ‘Andaaz’, ‘Do Raaste’, ‘Kati Patang’, ‘Amar Prem’, ‘Sacha Jhutha’, ‘Mere Jeevan Saathi’, ‘Dushman’, ‘Ajnabee’, ‘Avtaar’, ‘Avishkar’ amongst many other super hits.

But can we ever forget ‘Anand’? It is kaka’s most loved performance in his career. Even today when audiences watch a dying Rajesh Khanna and the last scene, all we get is goosebumps. Such was the prowess of our very own ‘babu moshai’.

Rajesh Khanna said in ‘Anand’, ‘zindagi badi honi chahiye lambi nahi’ and he stuck to those words like glue. He lived like a star, large hearted, free and on his own terms. A man of thousand emotions, Rajesh Khanna, the man who made us laugh, the man who made us fall in love and the man who made us cry the most. He said in ‘Aradhana’, “Pushpa I hate tears” but when he breathed his last last year, fans were left weeping.

Even during his last days he never let his fighting spirit go.

“Babu Moshai zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath me hain..jahananah isse na toh aap badal sakte hain ya main. Hum sab to rangmanch ke katputliyan hai jinki dor uparwale ki ungliyon mein bandhi hain. Kab kaun kaise uthega yeh koi nahi bata sakta hai.” 

On the eve of Rajesh Khanna’s first death anniversary, while fans and the government are set to unveil a statue of the icon at Bandra Bandstand, our prayers to kakaji and his family. Rajesh Khanna, you have left the world but your charm will continue to floor us, now and forever.

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