Born as Jatin Khanna on 29th December 1942, the charismatic actor renamed himself as Rajesh Khanna and shot to fame in Bollywood. He was a man of many talents – he worked as an actor, a director, and as a politician. However, he is best known as India’s original, first and foremost film superstar, with fifteen consecutive blockbuster hit movies within a mere three years. An enigmatic personality, he won over the hearts of millions of Indian women in his day, and charmed generations. Known as the King of Romance in Bollywood, he truly set a benchmark for romantic heroes in the coming eras of film and television. Charming to no end, he debuted in 1966 with the film Akhri Khat, and after that there was no looking back. He quickly became the most popular and highest paid actor in Bollywood, tying at one point with the equally enigmatic Amitabh Bachchan.
He starred in extremely successful and loved films such as Baharon Ke Sapne, Ittefaq,and Aradhana. Aradhana especially was a great milestone for him, shooting him to instant superstar status, showcasing his amazing screen presence, and highlighting his chemistry with his co-actresses brilliantly. The songs of his films became iconic, thanks to the voice of
Kishore Kumar, who continued to voice his songs until Kumar’s death in 1987. Rajesh Khanna appeared in some of Bollywood’s most iconic movies like
Haathi Mere Saathi,
Amar Prem, and Mere Jeevan Saathi. His status as the greatest superstar of Bollywood was cemented. He was also known for his especially adoring and obsessive fans, who very often tried to mob him during his public appearances, chased his car, and married themselves to photographs of him.
Rajesh Khanna’s legacy in Bollywood was so impressive that even after his tragic death on 18th July 2012, he is, even today, regarded as the greatest romantic hero Bollywood had ever witnessed. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan posthumously, and the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards bestowed him the title of The First Superstar of Indian Cinema in 2013.