“He would’ve enjoyed all the attention and adulation that he is getting now,” someone close to the departed superstar told a friend after Rajesh Khanna’s death last Wednesday triggered off a frenzy of emotions and eulogization.
According to this close friend of the family Rajesh Khanna’s loved ones were aware of the imminent end. “They all knew Kakajee was going. He was taken out of the hospital for the last time because he wanted his final days to be spent in his home Ashirwad. He insisted on going home. Dimple just did whatever Kakajee wanted.”
Two weeks earlier when this friend visited Rajesh Khanna in hospital he had gotten up from his bed, tilted his head in that phenomenal trademark gesture and said, “It’s not over. Not yet.” Now we believe the late legend’s wife, daughters and son-in-law are getting together to realize the Khanna’s dying dream: to turn the superstar’s bungalow Aashirwad into a museum of Rajesh Khanna memento and memorabilia.
[pullquote_right]Akshay, forever the dutiful son-in-law, has already set the ball rolling. “Kakajee didn’t want the bungalow to be sold. And the family will respect his wish,” says the family friend.[/pullquote_right]
Says the emotional friend, “He wanted to get back in front of the camera. He had a movie offer and he was to do another ad with R Balki. Dimple called Balki over to Ashirwad just four days before Kakajee’s demise to speak to Kakajee about the new ad. ‘It would motivate him into getting better,’ Dimple confided in Balki.”
Balki confirms his meeting with Rajesh Khanna. “I must have been one of the last non-family members to have met him. He was asleep when I went to meet him. He opened his eyes long enough to look at me and smile that famous smile of his. Then he said, “I’ll be back’. And he went back to sleep. He had a tremendous will to live. And to get back in front of the camera.”
Balki is now sitting on a goldmine of memento from the dying Khanna. He has footage of Rajesh Khanna waving doing a jig and saying to his fans and singing, ‘Achcha to hum chalte hain.’ Apparently that last farewell flourish was never intended to be a part of the ad that Balki shot with the Khanna. Was it a premonition of death that prompted the superstar to turn to the camera to do a typical Rajesh Khanna jig and sing , ‘Achcha to hum chalte hain’?
Balki wonders, “When he did that jig and that popular song of his from the film Aan Milo Sajna we thought he was just playing the role that came so naturally to him, that of an ageless superstar. We didn’t include it in the ad. But now when I look back at the moment it seems historic.” Balki refuses to incorporate that golden moment showing the fading superstar indicating to his fans that the end was near, into the ad, as it appears exploitative. But the footage is momentous and Balki wants it to be seen as a legacy of the phenomenal actor’s farewell hurrah for his fans. Says Balki, “I don’t know what I’ll do with it. At the moment it’s a piece of art, a treasure that I want to share with Mr Khanna’s close family and friends.”