It is indeed a bleak Wednesday when it brings about news about the passing of the original superstar of Bollywood. Rajesh Khanna, the evergreen star who literally won a billion hearts with his charm and mannerisms, passed away at the age of 69 after a prolonged fight with illness. Along with the entire film industry, the television industry also paid homage to the great actor in its own way.
There is no adjective apt enough to describe the phenomenon that was Rajesh Khanna. At the peak of his career, he commanded the collective attention and affection of women across the nation. The star of films like Anand, Aradhana, Kati Patang and Bawarchi ruled the hearts of millions in a way that is still unmatched.
Within a week of actor Dara Singh's death on July 12, the film industry suffered another blow today with the death of a stalwart. The irony being that Rajesh Khanna and Dara Singh acted together in the classic movie Anand. And Rinku Karmarkar, who plays Renu Vyas in the show Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuchh Kaha, summed up this sentiment perfectly when she said, ” Dara Singh ke naye kushti akhaade me, 'Babumoshai dobara kushti seekhne chale gaye. It is a win-win situation up there, but a complete loss to the world of romance.
Hema Singh, Imarti Devi of Kairee, and an accomplished actress, agrees. She reacts,”We grew seeing Rajesh Khanna. He was a versatile, romantic hero who created a new idiom-Superstar. His demise is a great loss for our industry.” We couldn't agree more. Preeti Choudhary, who plays her daughter in law Ambi on the show, says, “He was a rockstar, nobody could have done his roles better than him. I remember his song 'Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu'. He will be missed.”
Preeti is not alone in reminiscing about the famous song. Akanksha Singh, Megha of Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kaha also has fond memories of the song. “I always used to sing this song and imitate and imitate Rajesh Khanna ji in my childhood. It feels really sad to know that all the industry legends are leaving us one by one,” says Akanksha.
This news came as a shock to many people who were expecting him to make a recovery. Says Jayati Bhatia, who plays Mataji in Sasural Simar Ka and is a dancing star on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa,”I was at the Jhalak shoot when Manish (Paul) gave me this terrible news! The show was on but I took a moment aside to pay my respects. I remembered his handsome face, his style and his immense contribution to the film industry.”
Though Rajesh Khanna found his biggest admirers in female fans, its not just the women in the television industry who were affected by his death. Avinesh Rekhi aka Kabir Jaiswal of Chhal has this to say-“Its a great loss for the film fraternity. He had a unique persona and I liked many of his films, Bawarchi, Anand, Namak Haram and Mehbooba to name a few. His dialogue delivery was a style set by him, which will always be remembered.”
The death of Rajesh Khanna is in no way a loss only for his family. It is a loss for an entire nation which he moved to smiles and tears through his acting. And he will be sorely missed, as these reactions from tellydom testify.