Kaka, the king of romance
Rajesh Khanna's leading ladies get nostalgic about their co-star and his ardent fan following
‘Phir bheega diya Mumtaz ko, aa gaya na bukhar?’
Mumtaz: Those were the best days of my career. Kaka and I enjoyed working with each other. Otherwise a reserved person, he was very free with me. Hum log bahut acche dost ban gaye they and we had good chemistry between us. He was a huge icon and there is no replacement for him. I am glad that recently I met him in Mumbai.
He was not really meeting anyone but I called Dimple and requested her. He was very happy to see me. Dimple complained that he was not eating anything. So I told him that he must fight, as I did as a cancer survivor. To which he replied, ‘Mumtaz you are a very brave girl.’ I asked Kaka to be brave too. He promised he would but he left us.
There are so many fond memories of us working together. We did the maximum number of films together and our fans loved our pair. We used to always get a rain duet and I always got fever after sooting it. He used to joke then, ‘Phir Mumtaz ko bheega diya, ah gaya na bukhar?’ There are many such incidents but at this moment, I am at loss for words.
He often came late on the sets and I used to hate it. But then he would tease me. I am at least happy that I could speak to him and spend sometime before he left us. He will always remain in my heart and in the hearts of millions of fans.
‘Kishoreda’s voice was the closest to Kaka’s’
Leena Chandavarkar: Kishoreda used to always remember Rajesh Khannaji. They had met for the first time during Aaradhna. Sachin Dev Burman introduced them and Kishoreda spoke to him for a long time to understand his voice. I think that Kishoreda’s voice was the closest to Rajesh Khanna. I also have fond memories as we were in a talent contest together which I ultimately did not qualify as I was under age. Rajesh Khannaji and Farida Jalal won that contest.
He was an amazing human being and when I had started off as an actor, I remember how his car used to be blocked by beautiful girls on Carter Road outside his residence. I remember when Kishoreda passed away he came to our house and was here for a long time. He said that my soul is gone and my body is still here. He was inconsolable and that’s when Amit spoke to him. Another fond memory was when he had come for Amit’s 20th birthday and I had seen pictures.
I love Kishoredas song Diye Jalte Hai and I remember when Kishoreda had sung Roop Tera Mastana he was very happy as he wanted a modern trendy number. He said that Kishoreda has sung the song in a very modern manner. I last saw him some months back in his car on Carter Road and waved to him. Today I am extremely sad as I feel as if I have lost one of my family members."
‘He was the king of romance’
Poonam Dhillon: I have a special soft corner for him. I was 13 years old and with a group of friends, I had gone to see a shoot of the film Karam. He spotted me amongst the group and called out to me. I was very nervous and wondered why he wanted to speak to me. He called me and told me that I have beautiful eyes. I was blushing and was also slightly embarrassed.
When I joined films, although I did Trishul, which had me in a small role and then Noorie with newcomers, Red Rose was my first brush with a big film as he was a huge star. I met him a few months back at a wedding and heard about his health.
I wanted to meet him but I was told that he is not meeting people. Today I feel so nostalgic that a true romantic star is no more. He was the king of romance and I will always remember him for the way he helped me.
‘I have seen the frenzy of his fans with my own eyes’
Farida Jalal: I consider myself very lucky that I got to work with him in Aaradhna. There are so many fond memories of him and the film. People say that he was the first and biggest superstar of the country and all that is true. The frenzy of his fans is something that I have witnessed with my own eyes during the silver jubilee and golden jubilees of Aaradhna.
He became a superstar after that. Incidentally we both started together when we won a contest. He was the guy selected and I was the girl selected and presented on the stage together. I will always remember him with fond memories and may God bless his soul.