Bollywood's original superstar Rajesh Khanna has died at home in Mumbai. He was 69. Mr Khanna was suffering from cancer.
Rajesh Khanna, who shot to superstardom with the 1969 hit 'Aradhana' opposite Sharmila Tagore, passed away at his home, two days after being discharged from Lilavati hospital. He had been ailing since April. Rajesh Khanna entered Bollywood after winning a talent contest in 1965. He got his first break a year later in Chetan Anand's 'Akhri Khat', the rest as they say is history.
Rajesh Khanna is considered to be the original superstar for having 15 consecutive hits to his name, a record that remains unbroken. Through the early 70s films like 'Kati Patang', 'Safar', 'Ittefaq', 'Aan Milo Sajna' and 'Haathi Mere Saathi' consolidated his superstardom. During this phase Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Anand' remains one of the actor's most memorable performances.Rajesh Khanna was also successfully paired with a string of leading ladies including Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz.
Though a romantic hero, Khanna essayed a variety of roles with ease in his illustrious career spanning four decades. His portrayal as a cancer patient in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee-film 'Anand'(1971) in which he got the better of Amitabh Bachchan left many teary eyed.Nicknamed “Kaka” by his adoring fans, he is survived by estranged actress wife Dimple Kapadia and daughters Twinkle and Rinkie, all of whom were by his side when his end came.
Khanna's family as also Lilawati Hospital authorities were tightlipped about the nature of the actor's illness.“We cannot tell you about the nature of Khanna's illness....Please get in touch with his family,” a spokesman for Lilawati who identified himself only as Dr Trivedi said.
According to sources close to the family, the cremation will take place tomorrow.Vijay, a close friend of Khanna who had been interacting with the media since his illness, said, “Kaka's food intake had gone down over the last few days making him very weak.”
The news of Khanna's death this afternoon spread like wildfire and hundreds of teary-eyed fans descended at his bungalow 'Ashirwad' in Bandra.
Several celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Yash Chopra, Rishi Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Abhishek Bachchan, Anu Malik, Vindu Dara Singh, Sajid Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora Khan turned up at the actor's Bandra residence Ashirwad.The news of Rajesh Khanna's death came in just a week after veteran wrestler-actor Dara Singh's demise July 12.