Rajesh Khanna is an Indian actor who has been called “Bollywood’s first superstar.” In his youth, he created on the screen the image of an “outsider in love”, which evoked in women both compassion and a thirst for possession. But in real life he was capricious. A 1974 BBC documentary called the Indian a man with “the charisma of Rudolph Valentino and the arrogance of Napoleon.”
Childhood and youth
Rajesh Khanna was born on December 29, 1942 in Amritsar, India, where his father and mother emigrated from Pakistan. After 7 years, the family moved to Mumbai. The actor’s real name is Jatin Arora, but he was adopted by his parents’ relatives, carpet seller Chunni Lal and his wife Leela Vati.
As a child, Rajesh was friends with the future fakir Chand, knew how to charm people. Neighbors, especially neighbors, looking at the boy, said: “He has a lot of radiance on his face, he will be a hero in life.”
After winning the United Producers Talent Contest, Khanna made his debut in Chetan Anand’s Indian film The Last Letter. At the casting, the aspiring actor was noticeably nervous, but decided to be bold. When the producers were asked to read the dialogue from the newspaper advertisement aloud, Rajesh replied that he could not do this because he did not know the personal history of the character and his entourage. And thus made it clear that he went through drama school.
For the sake of success, the artist worked without rest, from 1969 to 1971, adding fifteen new films to his filmography. The film “Devotion”, in which Rajesh played the double role of Arun Varma and Suraj Prasan Saxena, became special in the actor’s creative biography. The scene where a young officer was driving a jeep next to the train, humming a romantic song, and the girl in the carriage blushed while reading a book, became a classic. The video for this episode is still very popular on YouTube.
The actor had incredible success with the girls: they sent thousands of letters written in blood, hid photographs under the pillow, collected dirt from the wheels of his car and rubbed it into their hair. When a film with Khanna was filmed in some city, the fathers locked their daughters at home.
From 1966 to 1972, Rajesh dated model and actress Anju Mahendru. The woman taught Khanna a lot, prepared him for the cruel world of show business. The reason for the breakup was the inability of the actor to put up with failures and listen to criticism. And the lady of the heart did not differ in tact and did not choose expressions.
In March 1973, actress Dimple Kapadia became Rajesh’s wife . Having entered into a marriage, the artist broke millions of hearts, the fans cried and refused to eat, 75 girls even committed suicide. The couple went on a trip to Europe and the United States, and then organized a luxurious party at the Hilton Hotel.
In the last months of his life, Khanna felt unwell and could not eat. In June 2012, he was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital, an intensive care unit. On July 8 they were discharged, calling them “perfectly healthy”, but after 5 days they needed a second hospitalization. Due to low blood pressure, the man was hooked up to a ventilator. The actor died on July 18, 2012 in Mumbai. Cancer was the cause of death.
Rajesh’s body was burned at Pavan Hans’ crematorium in Ville Parle on July 19, 2012. The funeral was attended by Khanna’s family, director Manoj Kumar, movie star Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek. Also, despite the rainy weather, 9,000 people from all over the country attended the ceremony.