Vinod Khanna, who passed away today at the age of 70, has been one of the most good looking and celebrated stars of Bollywood.
However, the actor who looked like a dream with his trademark cleft chin shocked everybody when he decided to give away his flourishing career and follow his guru Osho and the path of spirituality. Though the industry was already concerned about the actor’s obsession with Osho since late 1970’s and his weekend trips (due to which he would wrap up everything till Friday) to Rajneesh’s Poona resort, Khanna remained indifferent to it all as he was always spotted wearing an orange kaftan and a beaded mala to most of his shootings. But when the resort faced some problem and Osho had to shift overnight to Oregon, Vinod Khanna left everything behind and followed his guru to Oregon.
When the news initially started floating, everybody dismissed it as another rumour. However, as days passed by, the directors started revealing that the actor had installed all his projects for an indefinite period and the producers confirmed that he had returned all the signing amounts. Though it seemed like a farce, it was true. Vinod had decided to quit Bollywood and join Rajneesh in Oregon.
The final blow came when a very composed Vinod Khanna called a press conference at the newly launched Centaur in 1980. He was accompanied by his childhood sweetheart and first wife Geetanjali and his sons Akshaye and Rahul Khanna. Instead of making any elaborate speech, he kept it to the point and formally announced that he had made up his mind to quit the film industry and was shifting base to follow his guru. His family seemed supportive of his decision. Following weeks after the announcement, he left for Oregon and was hardly seen in India during the years he stayed away. The media slowly forgot him.
However, five years later, on a cold November morning in 1985, he was seen back in India driving his guru Rajneesh in a Mercedes to Delhi’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. The star was back. But would the industry accept back it’s darling? Would the action hero of The Burning Train and the heartbroken lover boy of Qurbani be able to make a comeback? Would the only hero who was compared to the then superstar Amitabh Bachchan mark his presence?
Well, he tried. After his comeback to the industry, Khanna was seen on a magazine cover spotting white beard. After that, he was also seen in Mukul Anand-directed Insaaf and Feroze Khan’s Dayavan in 1988. Yash Chopra signed him as a heartbroken widower for Chandni and Mahesh Bhatt offered him Jurm. He became, in fact, one of the first bunch of actors to endorse a brand. Remember, that dream-like face in a blue denim shirt asking “I use Cinthol. Do you.”? I definitely do!
— Rahul Khanna (@R_Khanna) January 15, 2015
Even though he tried and delivered his best, the 90s saw the decline of the star. However, his charm and his persona will always be etched in our memories. Though he has left us forever, he will always be alive in our hearts.
Rest in Peace, sir!