Rajesh Khanna’s ladies recall times spent with him

Updated: Jul 19, 2012, 13:15 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: Indian Cinema’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna truly had a larger than life final journey that saw a mammoth cavalcade seeing him to the crematorium at Vile Parle, Mumbai. As the nation mourned his passing away, the thespian’s leading on screen ladies recalled times spent with the actor. Rajesh was synonymous to romance and the women who played a pivotal role in emitting that exuberance had some interesting stories to share. Here’s taking a look at what his top 5 leading ladies had to say:

Sharmila Tagore:

He was most certainly the first superstar and with due respect to other actors, nobody created that kind of a craze after him.
Elderly woman would want to mother him. Younger women wanted to fall in love with him. And the men also liked him because he had a lot of energy and style. He brought together people from nine-year-olds to ninety-year-olds. Most of my films with him have been hits. `Aradhana` was a very big hit while `Avishkaar` is a cult film. I have very positive memories of him. He was a wonderful actor, had a wonderful voice and came from a theatre background.


He told me that I am a strong person, and that he knew what I had gone through, the chemotherapy sessions. He said he did not feel hungry, and we joked that when lots of food was ordered for him, it was later enjoyed by all, except him. It was hard work for him, carrying me through snow (while shooting for the film `Roti`). I used to joke when we started shooting every day of that week that now you will have to carry 100 kilo sack on your shoulders, and he would say that I was not that heavy. But I was never a slim girl.

Asha Parekh:

When we did our first film, Baharon Ke Sapne, he wasn`t THE Rajesh Khanna. It was just his second film, and we were both playing deglamorised characters. I remember him as a shy, reserved man. By the time, we did our second film, Kati Patang, everything had changed. He was a superstar, the kind Indian cinema hasn`t witnessed. Girls would run after him, tear his clothes, kiss his car, stand outside his bungalow for a darshan for hours. I thought it was fairly entertaining. (As told to a leading daily)

Hema Malini:

It's sad news. I didn't imagine he'd go away this soon. I first worked with him in Andaz, and the iconic song from that film that audiences will never forget, is also one of my favourites - Zindagi ek safar hai suhana, yahan kal kya ho kisne jana?
As an actor, I'd say he was gifted. He'd learn his lines in a flash, and emote effortlessly. He was a temperamental man, and someone who kept to himself. There was this distance he'd maintain. He'd often report late on set. We were supposed to do quite a few films together, but they didn't materialise. And then came Prem Nagar. It was then that we gradually warmed up to each other.

He never arrived alone. He was always surrounded by a coterie of eight to 10. That's what they call popularity. Often, it's these very guys who desert you once the limelight dims. That's what happened to him, too. He lived a lonely life, although it was good to see his family rally around him while he was unwell. I wasn't in touch with him in the last few years, but I've always carried warm memories of him." (As told to a leading daily)

Shabana Azmi:

I haven't seen stardom like Rajesh Khanna's . We did several films together, and frequently filmed in South India. Women, whether young or old, would make a beeline for him. I remember this one girl who spotted him on a shoot, and screamed until she fainted out of exhaustion right before us. It was bizarre! I believe he thought of me as his lucky mascot in the fag end of his film career. We got along really well. Although I had heard of his tantrums, I wasn't witness to any of them. To me, he was a gentleman with an endearing childlike quality. There were stars, and then there were the boys-nextdoor. Rajesh Khanna was a mix of both. (As told to a leading daily)

With inputs from PTI