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Rajesh Khanna, the phenomenon

Rajesh Khanna, who was one of India's biggest superstars at one point in time, turns 65 on December 29.

We take the opportunity to celebrate the star, and his contribution to the Hindi film industry, and profile his life. Take a look:

The struggling years (1966-1969)

Tom Alter had once said in an interview that when he entered the film institute in Pune, theatre was not in his mind. He came with a dream of becoming Rajesh Khanna. That was the charisma of Rajesh Khanna, the superstar. Everyone wanted to be 'him'.

Born in Amritsar as Jatin Khanna, he belonged to a rich family. His entering the movies was not appreciated by his father. Still, the pampered lad indulged in theatre. After wining The United Producers Talent Contest, he bagged his first film, Aakhri Khat (1966), directed by Chetan Anand. The film was about a baby's trip into the city, and made much before Hollywood could think of Baby's Day Out.

Aakhri Khat (pictured here) flopped. So did six other films that Rajesh signed up, like Raaz (1967), Baharon Ke Sapne (1967), Aurat (1967), Khamoshi (1969), Doli (1969) and Bandhan (1969).

But though Rajesh could not get lucky at the movies, he seemed to get lucky in love. He met the beautiful Anju Mahendru, and fell in love. Anju was a fashion designer at the time, and she groomed Rajesh for showbiz.

The couple lived with each other for eight or nine years. But as Rajesh's flops piled up, he could not bring himself to face failure, leading to constant quarreling at home.

Anju was his strongest critic and Rajesh could not get used to the criticism. The two finally parted ways, just as Rajesh was getting his first taste of success.

Text: Patcy N

Also read: The different avatars of Rajesh Khanna


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