Vinod Khanna, a man who appealed to all - his raw appeal led to women swooning over him, his gentleman-ish looks made him a favourite with elderly; his toned, hunky body, was the envy of his peers. We lost the veteran actor to bladder cancer today. He was ill for a long time. The whole film industry came out to offer prayers and condolences to the departed soul. Here are some moments from the actor's life that touched many hearts.
1. Back to stay
This is around the time Insaaf was being shot. It was Vinod Khanna's comeback film. He had left everything, including his family to be with Osho Rajneesh in Oregon, he had changed his name to Vinod Bharti. Director Mukul Anand revealed in an interview to India Today magazine: "At one point, the unit almost lost Khanna to his Bhagwan again. That was the second time Osho Rajneesh came back. For over a month, Khanna kept an expensive set worth Rs 8 lakh, waiting."
He said he didn't want to act anymore, that they should get someone else. The film almost collapsed. "It took him almost a month to realise he wasn't going back to Rajneesh," said Anand. But the real acceptance came only a few months later when the film industry went on strike. Khanna walked 14 km in a morcha from Shivaji Park to town. All along the way people cheered him mobbed him and hugged him. "That clinched it," said Anand. And Vinod Khanna knew he was back to stay in the film industry.
2. Family meant a lot to him
He had lost everything when he left for Rajneeshpuram and once he came back, he craved for his family and did everything to be near his sons. According to a magazine, he lived in a small room with a couple of chairs and a bed for furniture, a radio and some biscuits when he could have afforded a luxury hotel. Why he did this? To be near his sons who lived close by.
3. The real 'Dayavan'
Mahesh Bhatt recalled his generosity. Mahesh Bhatt, talking to India Today magazine (August, 1987 edition) said that Khanna gave him money for buying a flat. He said that the Dayavan actor didn't want to humiliate him with monetary handouts so he took Bhatt's younger brother as a secretary.
4. Gem of a person
After Insaaf was completed, Khanna went up to the producer and asked him to cut all delayed production costs from his fee. He gave Shakti Kapoor a home to stay in three years when he was new and struggling in the industry. Watch Shakti Kapoor's reaction
5. A method actor
For a role in Mera Gaon Mera Desh, he had genuinely bloodied himself by a belt to get into the skin of the character. A revelation by Dharmendra.
We will always remember him as the superstar who left everything in pursuit of inner peace. RIP, Vinod Khanna.
(With inputs from India Today magazine 1987 edition)