London, Jul 18: Overcome with emotions after Rajesh Khanna's death, yesteryear Bollywood star Mumtaz, who acted with him in many hits, today said the actor was “very close” to her even though he came across as an introvert to others.
Speaking to PTI here, Mumtaz said she was “crying the whole morning”, but was happy that she had met the ailing Khanna - ‘Kaka' to his fans - in Mumbai last month, when the two discussed their respective battles with cancer.
“He told me that I am a strong person, and that he knew what I had gone through, the chemotherapy sessions. He said he did not feel hungry, and we joked that when lots of food was ordered for him, it was later enjoyed by all, except him,” said Mumtaz who overcame her battle with breast cancer.
Khanna, 69, died today at his ‘Ashirwad' home in Mumbai's Bandra area. He was discharged from Lilawati hospital two days back. His family as well as hospital authorities did not specify about his illness.
Khanna and Mumtaz acted in 10 films, including memorable ones such as ‘Ap Ki Kasam', ‘Roti', ‘Apna Desh' and ‘Sachcha Jhootha'.
Mumtaz said that every film that she and Khanna acted in became a superhit.
She said she had lots of memories of working with Khanna. She recalled that they used to joke about him carrying her on her shoulders for nearly a week in snow while shooting for the closing scenes of the film ‘Roti'.
“It was hard work for him, carrying me through snow. I used to joke when we started shooting every day of that week that now you will have to carry 100 kg sack on your shoulders, and he would say that I was not that heavy. But I was never a slim girl,” Mumtaz said.
Recalling Dara Singh's demise last week, Mumtaz said that during the last year and a half, many known artistes have departed.
“I know that millions of Rajesh Khanna's friends will be heart-broken in India. But what can you do. I am very, very, very sad...dekhi zamane ki yari, bichde sabhi bari bari,” Mumtaz said.
Mumtaz lives in London with her family.