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Rajesh Khanna's Bollywood journey
His rise to Bollywood superstar reads like a movie script. As a struggling actor in Mumbai, Rajesh Khanna won the All India Talent Contest organised in association with Filmfare, beating over 10,000 contestants.
Though the actor got his first break soon after in Chetan Anand's 'Akhri Khat' in 1966, and followed it up with a few films including Asit Sen's 'Khamoshi', it wasn't until his double role n 'Aradhana' in 1969 opposte Sharmila Tagore that a star was born.
Through the early 1970s films like 'Kati Patang', 'Safar', 'Ittefaq', 'Aan Milo Sajna' and 'Haathi Mere Saathi' consolidated his superstardom. During this phase Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Anand' remains one of the actor's most memorable performances. Khanna, music composer RD Burman and singer Kishore Kumar were a team most sought after in the early 70s.
He married actress Dimple while he was still riding his success wave in 1973, but the two separated a few years later.
He was also successfully paired with a string of leading ladies including Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz.
Though Rajesh Khanna's popularity declined with the rise of the angry young man - Amitabh Bachchan - the star continued to deliver hits well into the 1980s with films like 'Souten', 'Dharam Kanta' and 'Maqsad'. He eventually moved on to do older and character roles and enjoyed box-office success with 'Avatar' and 'Swarg'.
In the 1990s the actor took a break from films and joined politics having won the 1992 by elections on a Congress ticket from Delhi.
Though Khanna appeared in a B grade film recently, it was this commercial directed by R Balki that brought him back to the limelight. The commercial recreates an era actually lived by the Bollywood's first superstar who leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.
RIP INDIA'S FIRST SUPERSTAR
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The yesteryear actor was ailing since quite a while and had just been discharged from Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital on Tuesday. He had been diagnosed with a kidney problem.
Reports said that Rajesh Khanna was not responding to medicines and had been put on IV and had been grasping for breath since morning. He had been put on life support.
Television reports said that his son-in-law Akshay Kumar had returned from his shoots abroad to be by his side. All his family members had already gathered at his Bandra house which has been cordoned off by police officials.
Born Jatin Khanna on December 29, 1942, he took up the screen name of Rajesh Khanna when he entered filmdom. He acted in 163 films, including 106 as the hero.
Khanna won 3 Filmfare Best Actor Awards, four BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi), and also the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
He debuted in films in 1966 with the film Aakhri Khat. He attained unprecedented heights of stardom with films like Aradhana, Amar Prem, Kati Patang, Khamioshi, Raaz, Baharon Ke Sapne, Ittefaq, etc.
He married Dimple Kapadia in March 1973, but the couple separated in 1984. He has two daughters – Twinkle (Akshay Kumar's wife) and Rinkie – from that marriage.
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