Age : 69
Date Of Birth : 29 December 1942
Died : 18 July 2012
Birth Place : Amritsar, Punjab, India
The rise of the superstar Rajesh Khanna on the horizon of Bollywood was as magnificent as a meteor. Rajesh Khanna phenomenon swept the Hindi film industry off its feet during the years 1969 to 1972. Rajesh Khanna created a huge madness and a mass hysteria amongst his female and male fans which is still unmatched by any actor in the history of Hindi film Industry. His fans worshipped him as a God after his series of super hit films. Hence , till date Rajesh Khanna is considered as Bollywood's first and original superstar.
Rajesh Khanna was born as Jatin Khanna on 29th December 1942 in Amritsar, Punjab. He was adopted by his parents Chunni Lal Khanna and Leela Wati Khanna. His foster parents were relatives of his biological parents. His biological parents were Lala Hiranand and Chandrani Khanna. After adoption, he was named as Jatin Khanna and lived in Saraswati Niwas in Thakurdwar near Girgaon in Mumbai. He did his schooling from St. Sebastian's Goan High School along with his good friend Ravi Kapoor who later took the screen name as Jeetendra. Jeetendra and Rajesh Khanna's mothers were friends. Rajesh Khanna completed his school education from Hill Grange High School on Peddar Road in Mumbai. During his school years, Rajesh Khanna took an interest in theatre and stage plays. He took part in those plays when he was studying in school and college. He won many prizes in the inter college drama competitions. The great actor completed the first two years of his graduation at Wadia College in Pune but then he changed the college and went to K. C. College in Mumbai with Jeetendra and graduated in Arts. Khanna also mentored Jeetendra for his first film audition. His uncle suggested him to change his name from Jatin to Rajesh when he was trying for films. His all the friends used to call him Kaka.
Rajesh Khanna was selected as one of the eight finalists in the 1965 All India Talent Contest which was organized by United Producers and Filmfare. He was selected from more than ten thousand participants. Rajesh Khanna won that competition. He marked his Hindi film debut with the film 'Aakhri Khat' in 1966. He was next seen in 'Raaz'. Both the films were directed by Ravindra Dave. However, Nasir Hussain and G.P. Sippy were the first filmmakers to sign Rajesh Khanna after won the competition. Rajesh Khanna's debut film 'Aakhri Khat' was India's entry for the Oscars in 1967 for the best foreign language film category. He had signed a contract with United Producers , hence he got films like 'Ittefaq' ,'Doli' and 'Aurat'. Rajesh Khanna marked his presence with his stunning performance in the films like 'Baharon Ke Sapne' , 'Aradhana' ,'Doli', 'Aurat' and 'Ittefaq'. Actress Waheeda Rehman suggested director Asit Sen to cast Rajesh Khanna in his film 'Khamoshi'.
When 'Aradhana' was released, Rajesh Khanna rose to instant national fame. The film critics referred to him as the first superstar of India. In that film, Rajesh Khanna was paired opposite Sharmila Tagore. The duo later gave many hit films. Released in November 1969, 'Aradhana' made Rajesh Khanna a star. His gestures found instant like amongst the audience. In addition, super hit numbers from this film made him more popular. A few months later, 'Do Raaste' spun the same magic as 'Aradhana' had done.
Not only his style and gestures was loved by all, but his image of a vulnerable and gentle romantic guy made girls hysteric and go crazy for him. During the crest of his career he would be mobbed during social appearances. His fans used to kiss his car, which would be covered with lipstick marks, his fans used to line the road, cheering and chanting his name. Female fans sent him letters written in their blood. There used to be a line of cars of his producers and hysterical fans outside his bungalow every day. Some crazy girls got married with his photograph , they would cut their fingers and apply the blood as Sindoor. No other celebrity had generated such a mass hysteria amongst people before this.
Most of Rajesh Khanna's songs were sung by Kishore Kumar. The Kishore Kumar-Rajesh Khanna duo worked sensation and it was almost impossible to see them as separate identities. They became a singer-actor duo and together they gave many hit songs till 1991 which are still remembered. Rajesh Khanna gave a mesmerizing performance in a number of popular films, like 'Kati Patang', 'Shehzada','Amar Prem', 'Mere Jeevan Saathi',' Apna Desh', 'Aap Ki Kasam', 'Namak Haram', 'Bawarchi', 'Ajnabee', 'Maha Chor',' Phir Wahi Raat', 'Karm', 'Aanchal', 'Kudrat', 'Agar Tum Na Hote', 'Ashanti', 'Awaaz',' Alag Alag' and 'Hum Dono'.
Rajesh Khanna's most admired pairs were with Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz. He and Mumtaz were cast together in eight successful films. They were neighbors and got along very well, and as a result they shared a great on-screen chemistry. Rajesh Khanna gave 15 consecutive solo hit films between 1969 to 1971, which is still an unbroken record in Indian film history. These films are 'Aradhana',' Doli', 'Bandhan', 'Ittefaq', 'Do Raaste', 'Khamoshi', 'Safar','The Train', 'Kati Patang', 'Sachaa Jhutha', 'Aan Milo Sajna', 'Mehboob Ki Mehndi', 'Dushman', 'Anand' and 'Haathi Mere Saathi'. Later the superstar was seen some critically acclaimed films like 'Maha Chor', 'Anurodh', 'Chailla Babu', 'Bhola Bhala' and 'Karm'.
Like all other good things that come to an end, the magic of Rajesh Khanna also came down with the arrival of the next superstar of Hindi cinema, Amitabh Bachchan. Rajesh Khanna created sensation in the film industry by marrying Dimple Kapadia, who at 16 was 15 years younger than him! The former couple has two daughters- Twinkle Khanna and Rinke Khanna. Before marrying with Dimple Kapadia, he was in a courtship with the fashion designer Anju Mahendru. But eventually they broke up. Dimple and Khanna also could not live together for many years, after the birth of their daughters, Dimple walked out of his house along with their two daughters. But the couple did not take divorce.
With his film carrier almost over, Rajesh Khanna entered politics in the 90's and became a Member of Parliament on Congress ticket. In the mean time, he has also tried his hands at TV with serials like Batwara.
Rajesh Khanna's elder daughter Twinkle Khanna who is an interior decorator and former actress, got married to famous actor Akshay Kumar. While his younger daughter former actress Rinke Khanna got married with the London based banker Samir Saran.
India's original superstar after battling prolonged illness, ended his earthly career in the afternoon of July 18, 2012. His entire family including his wife , daughters and son in law were present at the time of his departure by his side. It was later revealed that the actor was suffering from Cancer and was under the treatment for one year. But at last, the great actor departed as God called him in an eternal home for his heavenly career.