Vinod Khanna died after a prolonged battle with cancer at the age of 70. In his 45-year-long film career, Khanna amassed a huge fan following through memorable roles in films like Mere Apne, Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Wanted, Dabangg and others. He was also a successful parliamentarian, having represented Gurdaspur in Punjab for four terms.
Here are 10 unknown facts you must know about him.
Early life: Vinod Khanna was born on October 6, 1946 in Peshawar (now Pakistan). After Partition, his family moved to Mumbai. He pursued his schooling in Mumbai and later in Delhi. During his stint at a boarding school in Nashik, he was influenced by films like Solva Saal and Mughal-e-Azam. It was then he decided to enter films.
A modest debut: Khanna was noticed by Sunil Dutt who cast him in his 1968 film Man Ka Meet in a negative role. Later he did supporting roles in films like Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Reshma Aur Shera, Purab Aur Pashchim and others.
Claim to fame: Khanna got his first lead role in 1971 film Hum Tum Aur Woh and there was no looking back for him. He earned critical acclaim for his role as an army officer in 1973 film Achanak, which was based on the KM Nanavati case. He later acted in several successful films during the 1970s which established him as one of the prominent stars of those times. Among his most successful films during those times are Farebi, Inkar, The Burning Train, Chandni, Qurbani and others.
A perfect combination: Vinod Khanna attained stardom during the era when Amitabh Bachchan was at the peak of his career. Both the actors worked together in 10 films which turned out to successful. Reshma Aur Shera, Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Hera Pheri, Parvarish and Khoon Pasina are some of the films. Many considered him as a probable contender to replace Big B as a superstar.
Personal life: Vinod Khanna married Geetanjali in 1971 and became father to Rahul Khanna and Akshaye Khanna. In the mid-80s, he moved to US to work in Osho’s ashram. His dedication towards the spiritual guru hit his marital life and Khanna divorced her after returning to India. In 1990, Khanna married Kavita and became father to son Sakshi and daughter Shraddha.
Life as a monk: Towards the end of 1970s, Khanna began to follow Osho Rajneesh. According to a senior journalist, he was seen donning orange kurta and beaded malas into shootings. In early 1980s, he moved to Rajneeshpuram, a township in Oregon, the United States which was populated with his followers. The actor washed dishes and worked as a gardener in the ashram.
Political life: Vinod Khanna jumped into the political fray in 1997 when he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Punjab’s Gurdaspur in 1998 general elections and returned to the Lower House in the 1999 polls as well. He also served as a minister for culture and tourism in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government in 2002. A year later, he was appointed as MoS External Affairs. In 2009, he lost the Lok Sabha elections but was elected in 2014.
Last appearances: Vinod Khanna was last seen in Ek Rani Thi Aisi Bhi opposite Hema Malini which released last week. Prior to that, he played Shah Rukh Khan in Rohit Shetty’s 2015 action flick Dilwale. He also acted alongside Salman Khan in Wanted, Dabangg and Dabangg 2 which became blockbusters.
Ad world’s favourite: Vinod Khanna was a very good looking man and amassed a huge fan following. He was among the first celebrities to endorse a brand. Here’s a look at the throwback picture of him featuring in an ad campaign.
— Rahul Khanna (@R_Khanna) January 15, 2015
Last days: Vinod Khanna was admitted to a Mumbai hospital on April 2 after complaining of severe dehydration. Later on, a photograph of him accompanied by family members went viral on social media thereby triggering speculations that he might be suffering from cancer. However, both the veteran actor’s family and hospital administration denied any such reports. On April 27, he breathed his last after battling with bladder cancer.
May his soul rest in peace.
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