Rajesh Khanna was considered the first superstar of Indian cinema. He entered the film industry through a talent contest and had absolutely no contacts or any family background to help him give a lift in Bollywood. His career is an example of what can be achieved through hard work and sincerity. The peak of his career lasted for 5 years, between 1969, when the release of Aradhana happened, and 1973, when Namak Haraam was released. He delivered fifteen consecutive hits in this peak 5 years time which is still a record unbroken. He was such a superstar then that people worshiped him, women married his photographs and his style became the style of the nation. He was one of the most loved romantic heroes of Bollywood of all times. Here is a list of 10 unknown things about superstar Rajesh Khanna.
10. BBC filming
He was one of the few superstars to be filmed by the BBC, back in 1974. The BBC made a film, The Bombay Superstar, based on the popularity of Rajesh Khanna. This was during the time when he got married to Dimple Kapadia and when his movie, Daag was premiered. There was also a textbook prescribed by the Bombay University that contained and essay on him which was titled “The Charisma of Rajesh Khanna”. He was so popular during the peak of his career that he was mobbed in public appearances and fans kissed his car and chanted his name like God.
9. The temperamental star
The darker side of Rajesh Khanna points towards his dominating nature. He was known to be arrogant and self indulgent. He used to have mood swings which proved to be his greatest enemies. Although people knew of his darker shades, he was much loved and admired. Popularly known as Kaka, he was the first superstar, the first romantic hero of Indian Cinema and loved by the masse as well as the classes. He can be well compared with a blazing meteor, which shot swiftly through the world of Indian cinema, lighting up the lives of millions, as he passed.
In his personal life, Rajesh Khanna is known to have many relationships. He was initially in a long relationship of 7 years with designer and actress Anju Mahendroo. He later married Dimple Kapadia who was almost half his age and was barely 16 then. This marriage was even before Dimple’s first movie, Bobby was released. Their marriage lasted for 11 years after which they separated. They have two daughters, Twinkle Khanna and Rinkie Khanna. Despite the fact that the divorce formalities could not be completed, he went on to have an affair with Tina Munim. Since he did a lot of movies with Mumtaz and he was also romantically linked with her for quite some time. In his last few years, he was living with Anita Advani as a live-in partner, who claims that she took care of him and his health during his bad days.
7. Talent star
He was a finalist in the All India Talent Contest organized by the United Producers and Filmfare in the year 1965. He topped among 10,000 contestants and made his presence visible to producers and directors of Bollywood.
Rajesh Khanna joined the politics as a Member of Parliament of the Indian National Congress from New Delhi constituency. He also won the 1992 by-elections and retained his seat as MP till the year 1996. He was a political activist and campaigned for the Indian National Congress till the 2012 Punjab elections also.
Very recently, Rajesh Khanna appeared in a TV commercial of Havells Fan. This was his first television commercial, and ironically his last. The advertisement was made with Havell’s “fans are forever” campaign in mind, and the makers of the ad optimally chose Rajesh Khanna for the role as he still has a great fan following, with the younger generation also being aware of the Rajesh Khanna hysteria.
4. His real name
Rajesh Khanna was born in Amritsar on December 29, 1942 as Jatin Khanna. He chose his screen name as Rajesh Khanna when he did his first movie in Bollywood. He was adopted and raised by the relatives of his biological parents.
3. India’s first Oscar nominee
The first bollywood film to enter the Oscars nomination was a Rajesh Khanna movie, Aakhri Khat, where he played the role of Govind Bali. This movie was also Rajesh Khanna’s debut movie.
2. A Playback singer
Not many people know that Rajesh Khanna was also a great singer. Although Kishore Kumar’s voice suited his character the most, he was the playback singer for 7 movies including Safar, Sautan and Amar prem. He also lent his voice for stage plays, one of them being, Caligula, which was directed by Arun Kuckreja in the year 1992.
1. The producer
He was also a producer later in his career. He produced and co-produced 6 films which include his hit film, Barsaat which introduced his daughter Twinkle Khanna to Bollywood. This movie was released in the year 1995.