He thrashed the iconic Amitabh Bachchan in AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY and the public cheered, ladies drooled over this classically handsome man in AAN MILO SAJANA – the movie that starred Bollywood’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna, left all the glitz and glamour to become a sanyasi when he was at his peak, Vinod Khanna was the true stylish and suave matinée idol, who lived like a ‘hero’ -on his own terms and never ever felt insecure.
Born in Peshwar to a Punjabi family, Vinod Khanna came to Mumbai after the partition. During his days at the boarding school movies like SOLVA SAAL, MUGHAL- E- AZAM, MOTHER INDIA made him fall in love with cinema. During his graduation days at Sydenham College, Vinod Khanna was popular amongst female students for his dashing looks and it was the motivation from his female friends that he decided to give a shot in Bollywood.
The Filmfare talent hunt was on but Vinod choose the other way round. Spotted by Sunil Dutt at a party, Vinod was approached for a role in Sunil Dutt’s banner Ajanta Arts’ MAN KA MEET. A fan of Nargis Dutt, Vinod grabbed the opportunity hoping to meet the thespian Dilip Kumar as he was told that Sunil Dutt keeps on visiting Dilip Kumar, so by associating with Ajanta Arts, he might get a chance to meet the thespian. This is how the beautiful connection between Vinod Khanna and the Dutt’s started.
Sanjay Dutt was emotional on hearing the sad demise of Vinod and said, “It is saddening to hear of the demise of Vinod Khanna ji. I have watched him as a child and throughout my life was always fascinated by his style and charisma. He was always a thorough gentleman. He is and will always be a family to the Dutts”.
Call it destiny or coincidence, the thing which happened with Sanjay Dutt in NAAM, happened with Vinod Khanna in MAN KA MEET. The movie was planned to shape the career of Sunil Dutt’s brother Som Dutt saw Vinod Khanna taking the limelight in this average film. NAAM was designed to revive the career of Kumar Gaurav but Sanjay Dutt stole the show.
Vinod Khanna was a known scene stealer, be it paring with Amitabh Bachchan in blockbusters like KHOON PASINA, AMAR KABAR ANTHONY, HERA PHERI, and PARVARISH among others Vinod Khanna was nothing lesser if not better. His panther style walk was cheered by audience.
The iconic Amitabh Bachchan who shares a special bond with his friend ‘Amar’ stopped his on-going interviews for top media houses for his forthcoming SARKAR 3 and rushed to pay his last respect.
After the funeral, Amitabh posted an emotional note on social media remembering his dear friend. He shared a touching poem written by Prasoon Joshi and with a heavy heart said that today he saw their "48 year relationship going up in flames".
From recalling the first time he met him to working together in RESHMA AUR SHERA, Big B fondly remembered the film journey with his once-upon-a-time co-actor.
"I first saw him entering the Ajanta Arts office in Bandra, of Sunil Dutt, where I was making my way to seek a job ..a most good looking handsome young man .. a body in elegant frame .. a swagger in his walk .. He a big star .. but always most humble with selfless concern for others .. the rides he would take me on, in his recently acquired Beetle Volkswagen, yellow in color .. his generosity in smuggling me into the only Disco Club in the city at the Taj, where he was a member, and I not even remotely in any state to become one”.
Big B revealed that how the death of Vinod Khanna's dad brought them even closer as he stood by him through the difficult time. "The sudden passing of his father soon after our work together in Reshma .. I being with him in his hour of grief .. and then .. the amazing chemistry of the several historic films that we did together .. an association that was so lovable and considerate .. spending time in each other’s make up rooms, sharing our lunch, just biding time and talking of all kinds of talk .. the late shoot pack ups and the beyond midnight drives to Juhu Beach, to just sit with our directors and he to have a drink, and I mine," added the icon of the icons.
Vinod Khanna had such an impact on his colleagues, Dharmendra, Shatrughan Sinha all where awed by Vinod’s persona. The grand premiere of the highly awaited BAAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION was cancelled due to Vinod’s sad demise. Karan Johar said, “If my father (Yash Johar - a prominent name in film production and the founder of Dharma Productions) have been alive he would have done the same.”
Vinod Khanna always believed in himself and dared to take the path which no one can even imagine. At the time when he was at peak of his career, the suave handsome and stylish actor gave up everything to become a sanyasi (monk) at Osho. This haunting image has a lot to say.
Which actor/star in any chance would dare to even think of doing such a thing, people will call it as an insane action.
But after some time, it is reported that the rules and regulations of the ashram where not up to his believes and he was not getting the freedom and peace so he came back and again made his presence felt in movies like INSAAF, SATYAMEV JAYATE.
Vinod didn’t hesitate to divorce his wife Geetanjali in 1985 with whom he use to dance in disco during their affair in the morning at 11:00 and also marry a girl twenty years younger than him Kavita in 1990.
The man full of life nothing could stop Vinod who did things out of the box and walk those paths and took risk, starting as a character with negative shades earlier in MAN KA MEET, AAN MILO SAJNA with later got adapted by Shah Rukh Khan in his earlier films that gave him the edge over his rivals.
Vinod remained as the stylish, suave ‘matinee idol’ who never stopped and moved on with his trademark panther style walk. This song form Vinod’s 1974 film IMTIHAN sung by Kishore Kumar echoes as I conclude this. It goes like‘ruk jana nahi kahin tu haar ke’, woh ruka nahi kabhi bhi haar ke’.
Good bye Vinod Khanna there won’t be anyone like you.