Mumbai, Aug 11: A bronze statue of legendary actor Rajesh Khanna today unveiled at a city hotel here in the presence of several Bollywood personalities.
Khanna, considered as Bollywood's original ‘superstar', passed away on July 18 last year following health problems.
In order to honour the superstar and pay a befitting tribute, UTV Stars, an entertainment channel, will install this statue at the ‘Walk of the Stars' at Bandra Bandstand Promenade.
The statue shows Khanna carrying two balloons in his right hand, which immortalises one of his iconic poses from his film ‘Anand'.
The late actor's wife Dimple Kapadia, daughter Twinkle, son-in-law Akshay Kumar along with industry friends like Rishi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Hema Malini, Randhir Kapoor, Rakesh Roshan, Asha Parekh, Zeenat Aman, Farhan Akhtar with wife Adhuna and mother Honey Irani, Mithun Chakraborty, Anju Mahendroo, Amar Singh, Rajiv Shukla and others were present on the occasion.
On the occasion, Dimple said, “Kakaji (as Khanna was fondly called) was energetic, he lived and died on his own terms. His contribution to cinema is unparallelled, he was the first superstar. His courage, bravery and fearlessness was even there during the time of his death. In real life he was Anand and he lived like Anand.”
“My journey with him was good, thriling... A roller coaster ride. I feel honoured to be with him and have two children. We are proud to have his statue,” she said. Dimple even recited a line from Khanna's last advertisement, in which he says, “Babu moshai, mere fans mujhse koi nahi cheen sakta” (nobody can take my fans away from me).
Daughter Twinkle said, “He is in my heart and he will always live there. It is a sentimental moment for us but as a family we are happy with this initiative.”
Akshay read out a message written by his 10-year-old son Aarav. “I thank everyone for coming here. I remember ten days before he passed away... He was in bed and did not remember anyone except me. He kissed me. I don't know what happened to him. He was a great person and will always be there by my side.”
This statue will be placed with statues of other prominent personalities of Bollywood like Yash Chopra, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand. Referring to it, Akshay said it is a great moment for the family as his statue will be placed alongside other big personalities.
“His look (of the statue) means freeness, happiness, freedom. The balloons signify always be free in life... The statue looks good,” he said.
Actress Hema Malini said, “It is a nice thing that statues are placed. It is a great honour for his immense contribution. He was a good friend.” Songs like ‘Aacha Toh Hum Chalte Hai', ‘Zindagi Ka Safar', ‘Mere Sapno Ki Rani', were played before the event began.
Khanna, the first superstar of Indian cinema, had given 15 consecutive solo hit films during 1969-72, including ‘Aradhana', ‘Haathi Mere Saathi', ‘Anand' and ‘Amar Prem', a record that remains unbroken till today.
Born as Jatin Khanna, the actor had charmed his way into the hearts of millions of swooning female fans in the 1960s and 70s. Though a romantic hero, Khanna essayed a variety of roles with ease in his illustrious career spanning four decades.