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Death is not the end: When a star's film released after death

With a film starring Rajesh Khanna releasing on his death anniversary, we tell you about films that released after their stars had passed away

Cinema may bring actors and actresses long-lasting glory and a place in the annals of history, but it doesn’t take away from a star’s mortality.

Rajesh Khanna’s film, Riyasat, released in cinemas last week
Rajesh Khanna’s film, Riyasat, released in cinemas last week

While the industry has a fair share of celebs who have lived a full life and completed their commitments, it also has many actors who couldn’t watch their projects take their final shape. These are names who didn’t get to see their film/s hit the marquee. With Rajesh Khanna’s last film, Riyasat, having released last week, hitlist takes a look at other names whose big screen finale took place after their demise.

Rajesh Khanna in 'Riyasat'
Rajesh Khanna in 'Riyasat'

Smita Patil
Lowdown: She made her big screen debut in Mere Saath Chal (1974) and went on to star in more than 75 films, before passing away at the age of 31. After her demise in December 1986, a total of 14 movies starring her in pivotal roles released over the years. Galiyon Ka Badshah (1989), starring Mithun Chakraborty, was her last release.

Divya Bharti
Divya Bharti

Lowdown: This promising actress passed away at the age of 19 in 1993. The year saw seven of her movies — five Hindi and two Telugu — release back to back. The actress managed to witness the release of only two of them (the Telugu film, Rampur Ka Raja and the Hindi film, Kshatriya) while the rest were released after her death. Andha Insaaf was her last movie to hit the cinema halls that year.

Sanjeev Kumar
Sanjeev Kumar

Lowdown: He may have played older characters, but he died quite young. Rusvai (1985) turned out to be this multi-faceted actor’s last film. After his death at the age of 47 due to a cardiac arrest, 11 of his pending films released over the years with Professor Ki Padosan (1993) being the last one.

Meena Kumari
Meena Kumari

Lowdown: There’s a reason why she’s called the ultimate tragedy queen of Bollywood. Two months after Meena Kumari’s demise in 1972, her film, Pakeezah, became a box-office hit. However, her posthumous release, Gomti Ke Kinare, couldn’t cash in on her untimely death.

Balraj Sahni
Balraj Sahni

Lowdown: An exceptional actor who never received an award for his performances, he passed away in 1973. After his demise, three of his films — Pyaar Ka Rishta, Hindustan Ki Kasam and Hanste Zakhm — hit the big screen. In 1974, Scorching Winds was released and in 1977, his last film, Jallian Wala Bagh, was out in cinema halls.

Shammi Kapoor
Shammi Kapoor

Lowdown: The beloved star from the Kapoor clan made ‘yahoo’ famous long before internet took over. And then at the age of 78, he decided to make a cameo in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar (2011) which starred Ranbir Kapoor in an angst-ridden role. Unfortunately, Shammi Kapoor passed away in August that year, while the film released in November.

Farooque Shaikh
Farooque Shaikh

Lowdown: During a tête-à-tête with hitlist, this National Award-winning actor confessed that he never had a plan in place as far as his acting career was concerned. This was a week before Club 60 (2013) released. Twenty days later, he passed away following a cardiac arrest. In 2014, two films featuring him — Youngistaan and Children of War — hit the marquee.

Madhubala
Madhubala

Lowdown: Owing to bad health and other personal reasons, this screen goddess had almost stopped working by the early ’60s. In 1969, she passed away at the age of 36 owing to an irreversible heart condition. Two years later, Jwala (1961) — co-starring Sunil Dutt and Sohrab Modi — was released, although it was mostly shot during the ’50s.

In the West

Hollywood too have come across actors who have had posthumous releases...
>> In all fairness, James Dean had full-fledged roles in only three films. He witnessed the release of East of Eden (1955), but passed away at 24 before Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956) were out.
James Dean
>> River Phoenix died at the age of 23 in 1993. About two decades later, Dark Blood (2012) released causing nostalgic fans to flock the theatres.
River Phoenix
>> Contrary to popular belief, The Dark Knight (2008) was not Heath Ledger’s last release. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) was his last film.
Heath Ledger
>> Brittany Murphy passed away at the age of 32 in 2009. Her film, Something Wicked, released in April this year.
Brittany Murphy
>> Paul Walker died last year. His film, Brick Mansions, released this year, while the Fast & Furious 7 will be out next year.
Paul Walker 

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