The Yesteryears Diary

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Rajesh Khanna: Zindagi Ka Safar…

Having an enormous fan following madly love-smitten with his personality and his films, Rajesh Khanna was officially bestowed with the title- ‘The First Superstar’. From the hysterical fans kissing his car and covering it with lipstick marks to the people lined up on the roads cheering and chanting his name, Hameeta Malhotra digs deeper to invoke the charisma of Rajesh Khanna to pay him tribute on his 74th Birth Anniversary this 29th December.
‘Kaka’ as he was fondly called, he made his debut by the film ‘Aakhri Khat’ in 1966.  Of the 163 movies, 97 were solo-hero films, 20 were multi-starrers and 29 films had him in guest appearances. Not one, two or ten but he has fifteen mega hits to his credit. Yes, he starred in 15 consecutive solo hit films in 1960-1971 and became the first and the original superstar and still holds the unbreakable record. Kaka was the jack of every genre- tragedy, romantic, thriller, fantasy, crime or movies addressing issues of social awareness.

The girls were bewitched by him, wrote love letters to him in blood and elated to marry his photograph. Who could forget the tilt of his head, the flick of his neck, closing of eye for a split second, symbolizing the mischievous wink made our loving nation worship him!  Not only women, he also made men imitate his distinct style. Be it the Gurkha topi from Aradhana (1969) or the round-collared short guru kurtas, mufflers or belts on shirts, Khanna was a fashion icon in his own sense. His fashion experiments and hairstyle were aped by the masses across in India. Be it his gait, dancing style or distinct sartorial leanings, they will forever be associated with India’s first superstar.

His dialogues are still famous and become as common and cherished phrases. His evergreen and optimistic dialogues encapsulated in the line “It is too simple to be happy but too difficult to be simple” (Bawarchi) set the exemplary and tunes the people to always cherish the life. Not many actors can deliver such florid lines concerning with the injustices of social structure the way Khanna did in nearly every frame of Roti. ‘Insaan ko dil de, jism de, dimaage de, lekin yeh kambaqth pet mat de. Jab pet deta hai, toh usse bhook mat de.’ The trio of Rajesh Khanna, KK and RD Burnam banged the Box office in those times with 32 movies bringing about a golden era of music in the Hindi film. His carefree charm in ‘Mere Sapno Ki Raani’  and simmering song ‘Roop Tera Mastana’ and the evergreen melody ‘Ye Shaam Mastani’. A fighter till the end, Rajesh Khanna once said in his interview that I would love to live my entire life again and experience the same successes, same failures, same women and the same heartbreaks.

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