Actor Ambuj Dixit on Rajesh Khanna’s 80th birth anniversary: Rajesh Khanna is a legend of the Hindi film industry, who defied superstardom

It’s Rajesh Khanna’s 80th birth anniversary on December 29 and his fan following, which includes industry insiders as well, are excited about the celebrations. Kaka, as he was lovingly called, was a superstar in his own terms. His smile and acting prowess has not both mesmerised and inspired many. Interestingly, he had 15 consecutive solo hit films between the years 1969 and 1971. Actor Ambuj Dixit, known for his webseries’ Damaged and Love Crisis, is an admirer of the megastar. He talks about his favourite film of the late actor and why he loves him so much.

“Rajesh Khanna is a legend of the Hindi film industry, who defied superstardom. His films Anand and Amar Prem are my favourites. One celebrates life and the other one celebrates humanity which he both represented with great acting and charisma,” he says.

Rajesh has two biographies on him written by Yasser Usman and Narayanan Subramanian. The way his life came to an end was a bit tragic, yet he is still alive through his films and superhit songs pictured on him and sung by legendary singer Kishore Kumar.

“I don’t think his end was a big tragedy. He always lived like a superstar. In fact his whole life is a reflection of his film Anand. He believed in life to be big, not long,” he adds.

Rajesh Khanna had a great rise and a great fall. The success he saw no one else saw again and his personal life also made headlines in those days.

“Yes I completely agree, he will always be remembered through his film and music especially his collaboration with the legendary Kishore Kumar. Music became one of the biggest attractions of Rajesh Khanna films throughout his career. His movies were always known for the music with chartbuster soundtracks. The main reason for this was that he used to personally sit through the music sessions with music directors such as Kalyanji Anandji, RD Burman, Shankar Jaikishen, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, SD Burman and select tunes for duets and solo songs in his films. The trio of Rajesh Khanna, Kishore Kumar and RD Burman made several songs in a number of popular films, including Kati Patang (1970), Aap Ki Kasam (1974), Ajnabee (1974), Namak Haraam (1973), Maha Chor (1976), Karm (1977), Phir Wohi Raat (1980), Aanchal (1980), Kudrat (1981), Ashanti (1982), Agar Tum Na Hote (1983), Awaaz (1984), Hum Dono (1985), Alag Alag (1985) etc,” he shares.

The success-failure saga and personal turmoil took a toll on his life. He had no friends when he died, though his fans existed. His life reminds us that one day all success and fame becomes a thing of the past.

“Yes it always does come to my mind. Success is much more difficult to handle than failure. Success and failure both are temporary and we as human beings sometimes forget that in spite of knowing it very well. It has happened to the biggest of the ppl, not just to the great Rajesh Khanna. As long as we have that clarity then it’s much easier to handle both the aspects of life. We should embrace both success and failure as neither of them is permanent in life,” he explains.

Loneliness and emptiness is a reality with successful and famous people too. “Success is no measure of how lonely or otherwise a person feels. Yes, some successful people have been lonely but many unsuccessful people are lonely too. And, many moderately successful people are lonely too. Loneliness is based on a person, not his success. My brush of acute loneliness came when I lost my mother last year. In fact, successful people are easy to catch in the limelight, so they get associated with this feeling. Anyone, no matter how successful, can have a perfect work-life balance if s/he puts their mind to it,” he signs off.