Kaka.. aka Rajesh Khanna – the ‘original’ King of Romance and India’s first superstar has surprisingly remained an inspiration. Be it the icon for the icons like Amitabh Bachchan, King of Romance Shah Rukh Khan. Even one of Rajesh Khanna starrer draws an uncanny resemblance with a Hollywood blockbuster. Certainly Rajesh Khanna is the most KAABIL’ superstar India ever had.
Today on his 5th death anniversary, we underline and highlight in bold the charisma, aura he had on people who during his hey days was nothing short of hysteria all around. It’s overwhelmingly surprising to note that today Rajesh Khanna holds significance not only in the life of the Shahenshah and Baadshah of Bollywood but to a common movie enthusiast like me who was first awed by the charm of Rajesh Khanna, he was my hero before Mr. Bachchan. Big B with his supremely distinguished Angry Young Man avatar knocked the pleasant looking and charming Kaka out from the race like his famous left punch that knocked his opponents in his movies. Romance was out and action was in but the same Mr. Bachchan who knocked Kaka away always dreamt to be a ‘star’ like him and was amongst the first who rushed to pay his homage to the superstar when he passed away. In fact Bollywood from today, and those days when Kaka was at his peak paid their homage. Perhaps, even Rajesh Khanna couldn’t have imagined such a turnaround.
Romance bounced back again with SRK and the audience like me who once admired Rajesh Khanna as a small kid without understanding the meaning of his films and what is stardom and love, was now a college going guy and awed by the infectious charm of King Khan Shah Rukh Khan in DDLJ. Amitabh Bachchan remained the ultimate no.1 choice but the world was changing and globalization during the 90’s gave DDLJ that brought cross culture love (NRI love stories) on celluloid a new life to love on reel and may be in reality as well in some cases. With a little more understanding of movies by now, I am still surprised to find SRK in his illustrious career has adapted Rajesh Khanna trademark mannerism in his on screen romanticism to such a winning effect!
Not many people know – King Khan Shah Rukh Khan also hailed as the King of Romance has adapted the trademark mannerism of the ‘original’ King of Romance in his on screen romanticism.
The famous tilted nod especially seen in SRK’s chartbusters is similar to Rajesh Khanna's trademark tilted shake/nod of face; we have him repeatedly repeating in his songs and during the end of his dialogue deliveries!
Pages can be written on Rajesh Khanna’s moody ways and his stardom, those times actors had their own style, swag and mannerisms and Kaka’s titled nod was something quite cute and original. Today’s generations biggest stars lack this phenomenon and no doubt find themselves in that ‘insecurity’ zone.
Today when the world is observing the 5th death anniversary of India’s first ‘superstar’ Rajesh Khanna, an interesting update on Hrithik Roshan’s KAABIL is making headlines. Hrithik Roshan when he debuted in the year 2000 with KAHO.. NA PYAAR HAI, became an overnight sensation with some people comparing his fan following with the hysteria surrounding Rajesh Khanna but that was very short lived. Hrithik’s KAABIL has got one of top Hollywood studio interested in its remake.
Interestingly, Rajesh Khanna’s debut AAKHRI KHAT the 1966 film by Chetan Anand is lost in the memory even after India’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 40th Academy Awards in 1967, Rajesh Khanna’s debut which was earned by the actor as a prize for winning the United Producers Talent Contest starred as the city-based sculptor. AAKHRI KHAT is said to have inspired Hollywood's 1994 blockbuster BABY’S DAY OUT. Like the Hollywood movie, AAKHRI KHAT centered on the heroic escapades of a fifteen-month-old wandering the city streets, Rajesh Khanna played the second fiddle to the child played by Master Bunty.
But later he went on to win hearts and ruled the way nobody has done before and probably will not be done by anyone in near future. The ‘Anand’ to see him on screen is incomparable and still intact. The superstar mastered the art of dying on screen in classics like ANAND, SAFAR, etc only to remain immortal forever.
As Mr. Bachchan puts it in the eternal classical ANAND – ANAND marta nahi, ANAND marte nahi…
Long live Kaka aka Rajesh Khanna: The most KAABIL superstar who inspired Mr. Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan