He is referred to as the “first superstar” and the “original superstar” of Indian cinema. He is none other than Rajesh Khanna. The king of entertainment, romance and mostly importantly the ruler of a billion hearts across the globe. Many people thought he was arrogant and why wouldn’t he be? He was the only person to give 15 consecutive solo hit films in the period 1969-71. Rajesh Khanna is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema.
Rajesh Khanna was the winner of the All India Talent Contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare in which more than ten thousand contestants participated. Though he made his film debut in the 1966 film Aakhri Khat he received his first break as a leading actor in “Raaz” in 1967 opposite Babita who was already a popular actress then. What was good about Rajesh Khanna is that he was not just a bag of good looks but also a bundle of talent. He was then noticed for his performances in films like Baharon Ke Sapne, Aurat, Doli, Aradhana and Ittefaq. In case of Bahraon Ke Sapne, the response from the public in 1st week of run forced the film’s ending to be changed from a tragic one to happeier one from the 2nd week. Through Aradhana he rose to “instant national fame” and film critics referred to him as the first superstar of India.
In the late 1960s, Rajesh Khanna fell in love with the then fashion designer and actress Anju Mahendru. They were in a relationship for seven years. Mahendru states that the couple did not speak to each other for 17 years after the break-up. Later he married the budding actress Dimple Kapadia in March 1973. They have two daughters from the marriage; Twinkle and Rinke. They separated in 1984 but did not complete the divorce proceedings. In the 80’s Tina Munim was apparently romantically involved with Rajesh Khanna. Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia however maintained an amicable relationship where they both were seen together at parties and family functions together.
Rajesh Khanna’s health had been deteriorating for some time. On 23 June he was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai due to health complications. He died on 18 July 2012, at his bungalow, Aashirwad, in Mumbai. Sources confirmed that he was diagnosed with cancer.