Rajesh Khanna was every mother's son, every sister's brother and every girl's handsome boyfriend. He may have been cliched in his romantic roles, but he lit up the screen. "Pushpa, I hate tears," he said in Amar Prem and the audience swooned.
The gossip writers analysed his every move and wrote about his heroines, but he was not someone you could taint or criticise - he was so lovable.
He really was a beloved superstar and the pictures of a young, smiling Rajesh gazing out from almost every news outlet this morning just show how quickly those fond memories will erase the punchline.
It didn't seem right to combine this with the other stories today so more coverage of Rajesh under the cut... and then the other stories in the next post.
* Obituary from Jagran Post:
In an era long before this age of instant connect of mobile phones and internet, Rajesh Khanna was the man who sparked a frenzy never seen before and never since, not even by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan.
* Obituary from IBN News:
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.
* A nice tribute from Piyasree Dasgupta over at Firstpost. It includes a video mashup of his famous songs.
Khanna’s films defined romance like it possibly could be in an average Joe’s life – sans Switzerland, sans Hindi pick-up lines, sans waxed chests and a hero singing in a crowded-with-firangs, disco-balled, pub. Suspension of disbelief was probably so much easier – with a little help from a mush-magnet called Mere Sapnon Ki Rani, it was almost easy to fancy a guy in a jeep running after your toy train. Or believe all great romances start with the rains on the hillside with a cosily lit cave in the vicinity.
* And another nice tribute over at The Wall Street Journal.
For a generation that grew up on his films, he was the quintessential leading man, a romantic hero. The frenzy witnessed for Mr. Khanna was something that Hindi cinema hadn’t witnessed before. “Post-Aradhana, girls married themselves to photographs of Rajesh Khanna, cutting their fingers and applying the blood as sindoor [vermillion]. Rajesh was God, there has never been such hysteria,” marveled one film critic.
* And yet another at Livemint.
The 1960s had been the decade of technicolor confections set in Kashmir and other picture-postcard perfect destinations. Most of the decade was dominated by stars like Rajendra Kumar, Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand, all known for romancing their heroines with aplomb. The stories were light and frothy; the meaningful cinema of the 1950s was long gone. All these three stars, however, were fading by the end of the decade and there was no heir apparent in sight; Khanna, ever so plump, fair-complexioned and with a sweet, innocent look (in short, quite the Punjabi boy) came as a gust of fresh air that swept the audiences away.
* All the old guard expressed their condolences.
"I had called Dimple but she told me not to come as Rajesh Khanna was not in a position to talk...I miss him a lot and I have shared some of the best memories with him," [Manoj] Kumar said.
Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid tribute to the legendary actor. He offered his condolences saying, "I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and countless fans and admirers of Shri Rajesh Khanna."
And even more from Bollywood celebs around Twitter.
Bollywood Diva Madhuri Dixit wrote, “Another of Hindi cinema's giants passes, Rajesh Khanna. Our sincere condolences to his family. We will miss him dearly.”
The South industry, too, expressed condolences.
Sudeep: So honored to hv done a character! Which once the legend RajeshKhanna had portrayed,(Bawarchi-#73Shanthinivasa)..the True Superstar he was and will be
* NDTV gives us 10 things we didn't know about Rajesh.
3. Even though Rajesh Khanna had a 100% success rate with actress Mumtaz, delivering eight blockbuster films with her, Hema Malini was his heroine the most number of times. They appeared in 15 films together.
* The Times of India has lesser known facts about Rajesh Khanna.
Rajesh Khanna was raised by his foster parents who were related to his biological parents. His foster father initially didn't approve of his foray into films.
* Firstpost has Rajesh's most memorable lines:
Babumoshai, zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath hai. Usse na aap badal sakte hain na main - Anand
* The Hindu gives us a memorial slideshow.
* The Hindustan Times has Rajesh Khanna's top 15 movies.
Aradhana (1969) : Paired with Sharmila Tagore and directed by Shakti Samanta, this movie was voted best film of the year by the Filmfare Awards. It gave us songs like Roop Tera Mastana and Mere Sapno Ki Rani.
Let's remember him in his prime, smiling and happy... and dancing with Mumtaz.