There have been many superstars in Bollywood and many would be in future but there is one artist who has been regarded as the first most successful and glorious performer and he is none other than Rajesh Khanna. He is regarded as the original superstar and a magical one at that.
A “phenomena” and wonder of wonders despite flops had been signed by biggies like Shakti Samant and Asit Sen. And Khanna has arrived on the scene with Shakti’s Aradhana and Khosla’s Do Raasta in late 1969 and since then there has been looking back. He became the new icon of romance as well as passion fondly called Kaka a star was born on the horizon.
Twenty two more jublieehits were witnessed which made him the biggest superstar with an outstanding and remarkable run of films like Do Raaste, Itefaq, Doli, Bhandan, Saccha Jhutha, Safar, Aan Milo Saajna, Andaz, Anand, Kati Patang, Maryada, Dushman, Amar Prem, Anuraag, Namak Haram, Roti, Premnagar, Aap Ki Kasam, Ahnabee and Prem Kahani at the box office.
With back to back excellent success of his films he had become a sort of demi-god. He was known not only for his successful dream run but also for his dressing style which had men in that era copy him and his hairstyle.
The kurta became a statement in itself. Khanna’s stylish nod of his head , his smile and mannerisms had come to be known of a divine status.
His movies ran to packed houses with twenty five or more weeks but his downfall came as a bolt from the blue for his fans. Trends changed and Rishi Kapoor became the new romantic heartthrob and Kahanna ‘s stardom started fading with each passing film. His mannerisms and his magical touch to the movies he acted in lost their fresh magic and for this Khanna’s has to blame himself.
As a star, he continued doling out occasional hits like Amardeep, Thodi Si Bewafaii , Chhaila Babu , Dhanwan, Avatar, Souten, Maqsad and never shied away from experimentation in his films. At one time, he had reached the zenith of success but in later years of his super stardom he encountered many average and flop films. During his peak years, he did roles in films like Khamoshi, Anand, Aakramaan and also seen in grey roles in movies like Dhanwaan and Aaj Ka MLA , Ram Avtaar.He could not hold on to the charisma that had catapulted him to great heights.
He began tilting towards a political career uneventfully and turned producer with two films which went kaput at the box-office. He tried playing screen father to Akshaye Khanna in Aa Ab Laut Chalen and Tushaar Kapoor in Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai and even tried acting in a telefilm and in a soap or two.
Rajesh Khanna may be unknowingly engaged in wrongs he committed but his achievements stand out as a historic chapter in Indian cinema .With him , also closed the last chapter of innocence in Hindi films. He gave fifteen consecutive hits between 1969 to 1972 which is still an unbreakable record in Indian films. Though he came as a wind and went like a storm from the filmy scene yet the term superstar was used for the first time in Indian cinema for Rajesh Khanna.
An unparalleled star , a force to reckon with Rajesh Khanna is and would be an icon unforgettable.