Page 3 Profile: Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood superstar


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The Independent Online

So who is this? He seems important…

Rajesh Khanna, affectionately known as Kaka, or uncle, to his fans, passed away yesterday aged 69, his family said. The actor, referred to as Bollywood's "first superstar" had been in and out of hospital in recent weeks, although the source of his health problems was unclear.

First superstar? Just how big was he?

Very. Having made his debut in 1966 and starring in more than 160 films, including hits such as Kati Patang (Broken Kite) and Amar Prem (Everlasting Love), he was said to be mobbed by fans wherever he went. At his peak it has been reported that his car would be covered in lipstick while he was out in public and female fans would write him letters in blood.

Wow. He must have lived quite a life then?

Yes, the hysteria surrounding Khanna was unlike anything seen before, and he won a slew of industry awards. He was also a member of the Indian parliament, representing New Delhi in the 1990s.

Presumably there has been a strong reaction to the news?

While Khanna spent his final years as a recluse, his legacy lives on, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led a stream of messages from across the politics and arts spheres by tweeting, "I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and countless fans and admirers of Rajesh Khanna."