73 years back, a baby boy Jatin Arora was born in Amritsar, Punjab. The year was 1942 and the date was 29th December. Jatin Arora was remamed Jatin Khanna when he was adopted by Chunnilal and Leelavati. In 1965 he won the United Producers All India Contest prevailing over 10000 competitors. The prize was a chance to become a Hero in the intensely competitive Hindi Film Industry. His illustrious predecessors were Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Raj Kapoor. Unbelievable that he overtook them in terms of popularity and adulation, as also in number of Hits. He is none other than superstar Rajesh Khanna
The 1st superstar’s hits. Rajesh Khanna was lovingly called Kaka by all due to his baby face. He had as many as 74 Golden Jubilee Hits, 22 silver jubilee hits as well as 9 average hits, totalling an astonishing 105. Kaka had the maximum number of solo hero films in the history of Hindi films. He hardly acted in multi-hero movies. In 3 years he had as many as 17 consecutive super hit movies from 1969 to 1971, an unparalleled feat not been repeated thereafter. Is there any doubt that he is the first mega star and the 1st Superstar of Bollywood.
Kaka and his top heroine His top heroine was Mumtaz. They had as many as 10 movies together out of which as many as 8 were super-duper platinum jubilee hits. “Gore rang pe na” is their most famous song together. Mumtaz , herself a C survivor has said that she met Kaka when he was ailing and they discussed their fight against the dreaded disease. Of her memories of Kaka, she recalled him carrying her on snow in the movie “Roti”. She used to joke with him saying he had to carry a 100 kg sack on his shoulders for a week. The gallant Kaka had replied that she was not that heavy, though Mumtaz laughingly says she was never slim.
Kaka’s other 3 top heroines Sharmila Tagore comes to mind. Can anyone ever forget “roop tera mastana”, the iconic song from the movie Aradhana which got Sharmila ji her one and only best actress award. The other movie of the loved duo which has to be mentioned has to be Amar Prem, which had Kaka’s most famous dialogue, “Pushpa, I hate tears.” Kaka and Asha Parekh too were a top pair and the songs, “yeh sham mastani” and “achcha toh hum chalet hain” come to mind immediately. The 3rd top heroine i would like to pick has to be Zeenat Aman, and the top 2 Kaka-Zeenat songs for me are “Hum dono do premi” and “Ik ajnabee haseena se”.
Kaka and 2 of his controversial relationships Kaka 1st girlfriend was Anju Mahendru, who has been linked with the legendary Sir Gary Sobers as well. He however had a sudden break from her and reportedly to spite her took his baraat past her bungalow. The next relationship was with Dimple whom many say he married on the rebound. Interestingly he had purchased a bungalow called Dimple from Rajendra Kumar and had renamed it Aashirwad. Later he was to marry someone named Dimple. They were separated in the 80’s. Both of them were with him by his side when he was breathing his last.
Kaka and Kishore Kumar. The duo were made for each other. Kishore Kumar who was the highest paid singer even had a special clause in his contract that if he is signed for a Rajesh Khanna movie, he has to sing his songs, and if there are two heroes in the movie, he only will be Rajesh Khanna’s voice. No need to say anything more than what Kaka himself says “Kishore kumar was the soul and i was the body”. Ironically Shakti Samamta had wanted Rafi Saab to sing Roop Tera Mastana and SD Burman prevailed upon him to give the song to Kishore Kumar. Since SD fell ill, RD completed the song. The rest is history.
Views of Amitabh Bachchan on Kaka Superstar Amitabh Bachchan has tweeted “the word superstar was invented for him, and for me, it shall ever remain his, and no others. His generation and the generations that follow, shall never be able to describe or understand his phenomena”.
Unbelievable Examples of the phenomena The kind of craze he invoked and the adulation he received was just amazing. Girls used to marry his photograph by cutting their fingers and applying the blood as sindoor. His car was covered with kisses from lipstick, female fans sent him letters written in blood and so on. The trend of wearing Guru shirts and belt on shirts was started by him. Public demand led to change of movie ending in 1 movie as people could not bear to see him dyeing. A song sequence under Howrah bridge was cancelled as it was feared that so many fans would come to see him that the bridge itself would collapse. All this is unprecedented.
Kaka’s death To the dismay of all, that dreaded disease took Kaka away on 18th July 2012. 9 lakh people attended his funeral and came from various places in India and abroad. As in his heydays there was lathi charge to disperse the crowd. Amitabh Bachchan later said that among his last words were “Its time, lets pack up”
Hey, wait a minute. Has Kaka left us. No, its his birthday today. Let us celebrate it. He is with us and will remain with us. He is an immortal.