Rajesh Khanna, one of the greatest actors that Indian cinema has ever produced, was literally the first ever Super Star of Bollywood. He was the only Indian actor who has 35 movies that celebrated their golden jubilee, Bollywood speak for movies that ran for 50 weeks. He truly defined the era of romance and became the heartthrob of India in 70’s.
Rajesh Ji started his early career as a theatre artist and then participated in an all India acting competition which was organized by United Producers. The competition had 10,000 participants among which 8 of them made into the finals including Rajesh Khanna. Rajesh Khanna eventually won the competition and this opened the doors of Bollywood for him.
The kind of fan following Rajesh Khanna had was mind-blowing where girls use to marry his photograph and cut their arms to use their own blood as sindhoor. People would form cues of hundreds in front of his house and whichever hotel he used to stay all over the India, waiting for a glimpse of him.
His fame was such that in the early 70s, police had to suspend shooting of a movie because of the thousands gathered on the Howrah Bridge to see Rajesh Khanna in a boat. The cops were afraid that the weight of people would make the bridge crash.
He was the only actor in Indian cinema who could deliver 15 consecutive super-hit movies, which were Aradhana, Doli, Bandhan, Ittefaq, Do Raaste, Khamoshi, Safar, The Train, Kati Patang, Sachaa Jhutha, Aan Milo Sajna, Mehboob Ki Mehendi, Dushmun, Anand and Haathi Mere Saathi. This record still stands.
Rajesh Khanna started to become type cast in late 70’s, due to which he tried to act in some innovative projects but they were commercially unsuccessful. His performances, however, were highly appreciated. Eventually actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor started to deliver some blockbusters in the early 80 and, as a result, Rajesh Khanna started to lose his lustre.
During the late 80’s Rajesh Khanna’s career was going downhill, as the trend was completely action oriented he could not catch up with it and then he eventually started to act in smaller roles in 90’s.
Rajesh Ji finally took his retirement after 90s. A few years later he was diagnosed with cancer. In 2012 his health condition became worse and he was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. On 18th July 2012, soon after being discharged from hospital, he passed away.