The demise of Bollywood’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna not only stirred up the emotions of his friends and family but also evoked the sentiments of his fans throughout the world. While there are stories of young girls mobbing him in public in India, Khanna is a revered favourite in Pakistan as well.
Some admirers of the Bollywood star in Pakistan paid homage to him by posting his famous dialogues like “Arri oh Pushpa, arrey I hate tears re” and “Babumoshai, hum toh rangmanch ki kathputliyan hain jiski dor uss upar wale ke haathon main hai. Kab, kaun, kaise uthega ye koi nahin janta” on social networking websites, others chose to relive memories by watching his movies and listening to some of his evergreen songs.
Muhammad Sadiq, the owner of a DVD store located in Rainbow Centre says: “Whenever someone dies, people start recollecting memories. Similarly, Rajesh Khanna’s death had a huge influence on the sale of the CDs and DVDs of his songs and movies — especially those from the era when he started his career and his main blockbuster hits.”
The salesperson at Muzika, a popular music and video store in Defence, says that Khanna’s famous movies from the 1970s, like Amar Prem, Aap Ki Qasam and Aradhna were popular with the older generation since his death.
Khanna made his mark as a top notch actor in the film industry with his beautiful expressions and exquisite dialogue delivery, which continue to live on today in the hearts and minds of his fans. Aamir Maqsood Hameedi, a 50-year-old garment business owner, says he watched Khanna on screen for the first time in Mere Jeevan Saathi in which he played the role of a talented artist who later lost his eye sight. Hameedi narrates that he was instantaneously mesmerised by his acting skills and adds: “Rajesh Khanna was a very mature actor but more than that, he was a remarkable human being.”
“Pushpa, I hate tears re!” proclaims Yasmeen Ahmed, a 56-year-old housewife, recalling one of Khanna’s most popular lines. “I saw his first movie when I was a child. He was such a handsome man and had such masculinity in his looks as well as personality that he became a heart throb for every woman, young and old alike,” she recalls. Ahmed believes that his songs “Dushman Na Kare Dost Ne Wo Kaam Kiya Hai” and “Chingari Koi Bhadke” were classic hits, adding that “he was an extraordinary actor who simply cannot be replaced.”
Lollywood actors also added their two cents about the legendary actor. Humaima Malick, best known for her role in Bol, tells The Express Tribune: “He [Khanna] was indeed an enigmatic personality and his films were certainly a fixture in households for those who grew up in the 70s.” Seasoned actor Meera also tweeted, “Rajesh Khanna was [a] great legend, it is a big loss for the film industry.”
Even Pakistan’s Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf spoke of Khanna’s acting skills, saying: “He was a great actor whose contribution to the field of films and arts would be remembered for a long time. He had always enthralled the audiences with his excellent acting skills; I share the grief of the bereaved family.” Indeed, Khanna’s influence has left people from all walks of life spellbound.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.