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In an era long before this age of instant connect of mobile phones and internet, Rajesh Khanna was the man who sparked a frenzy never seen before and never since, not even by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan. In picture: Rajesh Khanna and Tina Ambani. They worked together in 11 films from 1980 to 1987. (All photos/mid-day archives)
Rajesh Khanna's very name spelt magic in the 1970s. He sparked hysteria, particularly amongst his legions of women fans, who would line the road for a glimpse, chant his name, cover his car with lipstick marks and even write him letters in blood. They got married to his photograph, cut their finger, let the blood flow and applied 'sindoor'.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna with wife Dimple Kapadia and daughter Twinkle Khanna at an event.
Kaka, as he was popularly known, was one of the highest-paid actors of his time, his record of consecutive solo super hits still unbroken.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia maintained an amicable relationship where they both were seen together at parties and family functions. Kapadia also campaigned for Khanna's election and worked in his film 'Jai Shiv Shankar' (1990).
Who can forget the years between 1970-1979 when he starred in mega hits like Safar, Kati Patang, Sachaa Jhutha, Aan Milo Sajna, Anand, Amar Prem and Mere Jeevan Saathi. Ever the urbane, suave romantic who wooed like few others.
In picture: An old picture of Rajesh Khanna with R. D. Burman.
Glory and fame galore came his way with the two 1969 films - Aradhana and Do Raaste - where he teamed up with two of his best co-stars, Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz, respectively. Both the films were super hits. Hindi film's first superstar was born.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and R. D. Burman. Many of the musical scores for Rajesh Khanna's films were composed by R.D. Burman.
Rajesh Khanna had 15 consecutive solo hit films between 1969 and 1971. Between Aradhana in 1969 and Prem Kahani in 1975, Rajesh enjoyed god-like status.
It was all about charisma - a certain something that went beyond the art of acting. He had that unique way of delivering dialogue, of crinkling his eyes and that interesting head tilt that was all his own - and designed to get fans swooning.
Describing the charm of Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh once said: 'I got famous purely because I was working with Rajesh Khanna in 'Anand'. People asked me questions like, 'How is he to look at? What does he do?''
In picture: Rajesh Khanna meeting former Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao.
The mega story had a small beginning in Amritsar. Born Jatin Arora on December 29, 1942, he was adopted and raised by foster parents.
He went from being Jatin to Rajesh, thanks to his uncle who changed his name when he decided to join films.
In 1965, the journey to filmdom started after he won the All India Talent Contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare. He made his debut with Aakhri Khat in 1966.
Rajesh Khanna became the heartthrob of the nation, singing timeless melodies like Mere Sapnon Ki Rani... in Aradhana, Zindagi Ek Safar in Andaaz or Yeh Shaam Mastani in Kati Patang. Singer Kishore Kumar and composer R.D. Burman were amongst his closest friends.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna with his daughter Twinkle Khanna, with who he shares his birthday, December 29 and wife-actress Dimple Kapadia.
In his four-decade career, Rajesh Khanna appeared in about 160 films, of which 106 had him as the solo lead hero and 22 were two hero projects.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna with Jaya Bhaduri (now Bachchan) in a still from Bawarchi.
Rajesh Khanna proved his mettle in offbeat films too. He teamed up with Hrishikesh Mukherjee for the critically acclaimed Bawarchi and Namak Haram.
In picture: A snap of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia's much-hyped wedding.
The quintessential romantic actor also did the intense Avishkar, directed by Basu Bhattacharya.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore, who starred together in several films thanks to their chemistry which was popular with audiences. Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore teamed up for movies like 'Aradhana' (1969) and 'Amar Prem' (1972) among others.
He moved to television and played the main lead in two serials - Ittefaque and Apne Paraye during 2001-02 and also featured in Raghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi between 2008-09.
In picture: Khanna and Waheeda Rehman in Khamoshi.
The decline to B-grade films was inevitable. Rajesh Khanna also starred in Wafa with Laila Khan.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna with Amitabh Bachchan in a still from Namak Haram.
Rajesh Khanna dabbled in politics, being Congress MP from the New Delhi constituency from 1991-1996.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna in a still from Aradhana.
Rajesh Khanna forayed into politics after Rajiv Gandhi's insistence and remained politically active till 2012.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna in a still from Anand.
When Rajesh Khanna was a member of Parliament for the Indian National Congress he did not take up any film project, however, acted in the film Khudai (1994).
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in a still from Amar Prem.
Talking about his personal life, like the Hollywood legends of yore, Rajesh Khanna's personal life also had a larger than life dimension.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna with R. D. Burman and B. R. Chopra.
He fell in love with Dimple Kapadia, who was only 16 and whose first film Bobby was yet to release.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and frequent co-star Mumtaz in a still from a film.
Dimple Kapadia was 15 years younger to him but the pull was strong and they got married after a whirlwind romance in 1973. They had two daughters Twinkle and Rinke. The marriage lasted 11 years.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and Asha Parekh in a still from Kati Patang.
It was a lonely life for Rajesh after that. He disappeared from the headlines and appeared to be a shadow of his former self in his rare public appearances.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna with Leena Chandavarkar in Mehboob Ki Mehndi.
But the family came together in his last days. His estranged wife was the one who took care of him during his illness.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and Poonam Dhillon in Red Rose. The film was a remake of the Tamil film Sigappu Rojakkal starring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi.
Son-in-law Akshay Kumar was also a great comfort.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna flanked by his wife Dimple Kapadia and son in-law Akshay Kumar, wave to well-wishers gathered outside his Ashirwad bungalow in Mumbai on June 21, 2012
Rajesh reappeared in an ad a few months before his death, and once again became the talk of the town - he was clearly unwell but the zest in his voice was intact as he intoned Babumoshai from his much-loved film Anand.
In picture: Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini. The duo's on-screen chemistry in Prem Nagar was appreciated by fans and critics alike.
Here are some interesting trivia you probably didn't know about Rajesh Khanna:
Rajesh Khanna tried his hand at direction with Jai Shiv Shankar in 80s. His wife Dimple was paired opposite Kaka in the film, which never saw the light of the day.
During the filming of the song Mere Sapnon Ki Rani in Aradhana, Sharmila Tagore was shooting for a Satyajit Ray film. Hence, director Shakti Samanta had to shoot their scenes separately and then join the scenes together.
Rajesh Khanna's cheerful Punjabi character in Anand was based on actor-filmmaker Raj Kapoor, while his Bengali friend Bhaskar Banerjee (played by Amitabh Bachchan) was modelled on director Hrishikesh Mukherjee himself.
The superstar's debut was Aakhri Khat and it led to a spate of hits like Aaradhna, Amar Prem, Aan Milo Sajna, Aap Ki Kasam, Anurodh, Avtaar, all starting with A.
Jeetendra and Rajesh went to the same school in Girgaum and then later to KC College too. In fact, it was Khanna who inspired and supported Jeetendra to get into movies.
Rajesh Khanna's uncle, who disapproved of his acting aspirations, asked him to change his real name from Jatin if he wanted to act.