Khanna, 69, passed away today at his ‘Aashirwad’ home on Carter Road in Bandra.
Not many know that Rajesh Khanna was one of eight finalists in the 1965 All India Talent Contest set up by United Producers and Filmfare from more than ten thousand contestants. After having performed in Aakhri Khat directed by Chetan Anand, Khanna went onto become the nation’s heart throb with films that obtained cult status with his mere presence.
Filmmaker Subhash Ghai said, “He was the powerhouse of Hindi film industry. I met him on the sets of aaradhna, he had some kind of energy and you will be charged when he is around you. His name will be written in golden words.”
Producer-director Karan Johar said Rajesh Khanna’s charm will live always.
“The magic…the mannerism…the mania of Rajesh Khanna is inscribed in every archive of indian cinema…forever….RIP SIR!!!,” said Karan Johar.
His contemporary Manoj Kumar alleged he was planning to meet Khanna.
“I had called up Dimple but she told me not to come as Rajesh Khanna was not in a situation to talk…I miss him a lot and I have shared some of the best memories with him.
Tusshar Kapoor tweeted, “Rajesh Khanna ji, our 1st superstar is no more! I worked with him in ‘Kyaa dil ne kaha & learnt a lot just talking to him! May his soul RIP!.”
“RIP Rajesh khanna Saab … U , ur stardom, ur magic will live forever!.” said actress Neha Dhupia.
“Loss of a Superstar! Iconic Actor! RIP Rajesh Khanna!,” Bipasha Basu posted.
“Rip Rajesh Khanna,” said Sonam Kapoor.
“RIP to the 1st king of romance… Rajesh Khanna,” Shahid Kapoor posted on the micro-blogging site.
Mahesh Bhatt tweeted, “When we lose a loved one, something within us dies. Our generation loved Rajesh Khanna. Today a bit of us dies with this enigmatic star.”
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said, “Too young. Too early. Tragic. RIP Rajesh Khanna. A candle that burned brighter than any star for too short a time.”
Madhuri Dixit tweeted, “Another of Hindi cinema’s giants passes, Rajesh Khanna. Our sincere condolences to his family. We will miss him dearly.”
Manna Dey the music legend, who replayed singing for Rajesh Khanna, especially in ‘Anand’, touched the hearts of millions, today said he was greatly honoured to sing for the superstar.
“Rajesh was my friend. He was a decent person. I have been greatly honoured to sing for him,” Manna told a Bengali TV channel over the phone.
“The epitome of superstardom is no more amongst us. There was none, there is none and there won’t be any like you kakaji. You will be missed,” said filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar.
Veteran actress Saira Banu, who missed a chance of working with Khanna during his stardom days, remembers the actor as a very “shy” person.
“I was presumed to work with him in ‘Choti Bahu’ but I could not as I was sick. I shot with him for two days and noticed that he was very charming, humble and a shy person. May his soul rest in peace,” Banu said.
Shabana Azmi, who featured opposite Rajesh Khanna in movies such as “Amar Deep”, “Thodisi Bewafaii” and “Avtaar”, said, “He was the superstar like no other, did 10 films with him. Met him last at Apsara awards. Pale shadow of himself but smile as winsome RIP Rajesh Khanna.”
Anupam Kher wrote, “Rajesh Khanna gave us a crash course in Romance. He presented us to a special twinkle in the eye that made us feel good about ourselves. RIP.”
Films that are integrated with Raajesh Khanna’s name forever include the likes of Aradhana, Ittefaq, Sachaa Jhutha, Kati Patang, Anand, Aan Milo Sajna, Haathi Mere Saathi, Bawarchi, Daag: A Poem Of Love, Ghar Ka Chiraag and Swarg.