Bollywood pays tribute to Rajesh Khanna
Legendary actor Rajesh Khanna passed away today. He was 69.
Akshay Kumar announced the tragic news to the media waiting outside Khanna's home, and said: "Rajesh Khanna has gone to a nice and heavenly place. We are happy about that. Pray for him."
Film personalities paid tribute and mourned the loss of the first superstar of Indian cinema.
Veteran actress Saira Banu, who missed a chance of working with Khanna during his stardom days, remembers the actor as a very 'shy' person.
"I was supposed to work with him in Choti Bahu but I could not because I was ill. I shot with him for two days and found him very charming, humble and shy. May his soul rest in peace," Banu said.
Watch Irrfan pay tribute to Rajesh Khanna here.
Image: Akshay Kumar
Rajesh Khanna's contemporary Manoj Kumar said he was planning to meet the actor.
"I had called Dimple (earlier) but she had told me not to come as Rajesh Khanna was not in a position to talk.
"I don't believe Rajesh Khanna is no more with us. This is a bitter truth that we have to accept some day. Looks like God is upset with the film industry. First, Dev Anand, then Shammi Kapoor and then Dara Singh. We are losing legend after legend," he said.
Image: Manoj Kumar
Madhuri Dixit paid her tribute on Twitter: 'Another of Hindi cinema's giants passes, Rajesh Khanna. Our sincere condolences to his family. We will miss him dearly.'
Image: Madhuri Dixit
Image: Karan Johar
Shahid Kapoor tweeted, 'RIP to the 1st king of romance... Rajesh khanna.'
Image: Shahid Kapoor
Choreographer/director and now actor Farah Khan said, 'Just hrd the saddest news.the 1st Superstar of india is no more.bt the legend that was Rajesh khanna will live eternally thru his films.'
Image: Farah Khan
Shabana Azmi, who had worked with Rajesh Khanna, tweeted, 'He was d SUPERSTAR like no other. Did 10 films with him Met him last at Apsara awards Pale shadow of himself but smile as winsome RIP RajeshK'
Image: Movie poster of Avtaar
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan tweeted: 'To live with intention & walk to the edge. Play with abandon, choose with no regret. Smile & made us do the same.Sir,u defined our era.RIP.'
He added: 'Mom & me use to sit & watch Mr.Khanna's films back to back.Whenever life felt tough u made us feel how love could change it all. will miss u.'
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar said, "The epitome of superstardom is no more amongst us. There was none, there is none and there won't be any like you kakaji. You will be missed."
Image: Shah Rukh Khan
Anupam Kher tweeted, 'Rajesh Khanna gave us a crash course in Romance. He introduced us to a special twinkle in the eye that made us feel good about ourselves.RIP.'
He added, 'Rajesh Khanna taught us how to smile. He added dignity to our concept of Romance. His songs made us forget our daily struggles of life.'
Image: Anupam Kher
Shekhar Kapur tweeted, 'u weren't there, n u did not c it, u will never again experience an event that hit d Nation like a hurricane as #RIPRajeshKhanna did.'
Image: Shekhar Kapur
Subhash Ghai looks back at his association with Rajesh Khanna and says: "Rajesh Khanna was a great friend. He was never low on energy and always had so many things to say. I remember him from the old times, as we had enrolled in a Pune film institute for acting in the same year, before any of us became successful in the film industry.
"He really wanted to be an actor and that inspired me tremendously. After getting admitted in Pune, there was a talent contest on acting which we both won. But later, a director came in scouting for an actor and he was selected promptly as he was very good looking. The film was Raaz.
"Later, as we went about our own careers, our meetings became less frequent. But whenever we met, we spoke fondly. I saw him rise to prominence. He was a school of talent. He created his own style.
"I met him six days before he passed away. Although he looked very sick, I told him, 'Kaka you'll be fine and on your feet in no time.' He asked me about my film school and was curious about how it functioned.
"Rajesh Khanna hasn't gone anywhere because legends dont die. They live in spirit with us forever."
Image: Subhash Ghai
Filmmaker Amol Gupte says, "You cannot talk about Rajesh Khanna in mere words. He was a phenomenon, a celebration in himself, the original and last superstar of India.
"I don't know him at an intimate level but it feels like a personal loss to me. I remember classics like Aradhana and Amar Prem. His absence feels as if a part of cinema has died. I feel unfortunate that I never got an opportunity to work with him or meet him during his last days."
Image: Amol Gupte
Farida Jalal, who worked with Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana says, "Rajesh Khanna was the first ever superstar of the industry, and I was there to see his stardom. The kind of adulation, girls drooling over him, asking for autographs was unbelievable. His sheer presence on screen would drive fans crazy. I have never witnessed that kind fan following for any other superstar. The younger generation will not understand. He shot to fame after Aradhana and gave back-to-back hits.
"Aradhana was my first film with him. Both of us were new then and I was there in the second half of the film. Our song Bagon me bahar hai, kaliyon pe nikhar hai was quite popular. I don't know why we were never cast together after that. I wish we had done more films together."
Image: Farida Jalal
Photographs: Sahil Salvi