Remembering Vinod Khanna on his birthday: The fable who was a quintessential masculine eye candy though also that singular star who thumbed his nose during misty frills


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Veteran actor, Bollywood pin-up, swain of a Seventies, lady politician, voluptuous sanyasi, devout seeker, a ultimate friend, star of a fibre of twin-hero hits with Amitabh Bachchan, doting father to actors Akshaye and Rahul Khanna and Bollywood’s almighty Amar. It is tough to conclude who Vinod Khanna truly was. When he died progressing this year during a age of 70, a whole Bollywood, both immature and aged alike, assimilated together in anguish a detriment of one of Hindi cinema’s legends. “You were a anticipation of many women in a northern India by a 1980s,” tweeted singer Richa Chadha, who wasn’t even innate when Vinod Khanna was in his primary in a 1970s and early 1980s. Even for many younger-generation Bollywood actors like Chadha, and film buffs in general, Khanna was that singular masculine eye candy who lent both glorious and gravitas to his roles to emanate an impossibly singular and different physique of work.

It competence warn we to know that Khanna, with his heading masculine looks, started out as a villain. But he couldn’t stay there for long. He was too appealing to be a villain! Blame Sunil Dutt for it. The late actor-producer speckled Khanna, a associate Punjabi, during one of a large swish Bombay parties that a immature bon vivant used to visit and motionless to expel him as a bad male in Man Ka Meet in 1969. Though designed as a launch-pad for Sunil Dutt’s younger hermit Som Dutt, Man Ka Meet finished adult raised Khanna into a setting as a earnest star to watch. After Man Ka Meet, a immature Khanna, innate into a moneyed business family, fast got typecast as a villain. In Mera Gaon Mera Desh, his many famous tour as a baddie yet, Khanna was Jabbar Singh, a dacoit whose dreaded name and equally awful exploits desirous Gabbar Singh of Sholay.

With his manly, large looks – after on, when he became godman Rajneesh’s (Osho) follower, a some-more select and noted outline started doing a rounds, ‘sexy sanyasi’ – and enthralling shade presence, Khanna combined plain-spoken glorious to a palette of Bollywood villainy, that until afterwards had been dominated by a likes of a voluptuous Pran and Ajit. But then, it contingency be forked out that Khanna was usually moonlighting as a villain. He was never in it for a prolonged haul. And yet, his infirm career got interminably tangible by a cinematic code of outlaws and dacoits that he played in film after film, in that he grabbed some-more eyeballs than a hero.

If 1971 was a breakthrough year, interjection to Mera Gaon Mera Desh it was also noted for Gulzar’s Mere Apne that was instrumental in providing him a much-needed switch to favourite roles. In Gulzar’s directorial entrance that explored campus politics, a working Khanna teamed adult with Shatrughan Sinha, with whom he would go on to make for a successful bromance. However, it was with Amitabh Bachchan and Feroz Khan that Khanna grown a many some-more enchanting masculine bonding. Mere Apne also set a tinge for Khanna’s fast 1970s shade picture – a voluptuous savage who was also a true-hearted friend. Khanna really had a waste of personification second leads in two-hero projects especially designed to boost a Amitabh Bachchan cult though he never unsuccessful to reason his possess even in a larger-than-life participation of Big B.

In a array of hits such as Hera Pheri, Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Khanna acted a critical plea to a hitherto-unchallenged stardom of Bachchan. He was a Amar to Bachchan’s Vijay, their shade names suggesting something about how their lives and career would figure adult eventually. If Vijay is victory, Amar is immortal. In a renouned stage from Amar Akbar Anthony, as a elder hermit Amar, Khanna gets to severe adult Anthony, a loveable brute played by Bachchan. You can suppose a assembly of a day lapping adult that stage as a dual brothers are pitted opposite any other in an overwhelmingly biased clash. Bachchan was a punch who got a laughs though we gamble Khanna had a assembly sympathy. Sacrifice for a consequence of loyalty was a repeated thesis of many of Khanna’s renouned hits. In Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Bachchan dies in a arms of his clinging crony while in Qurbani (1980), Khanna becomes a sacrificing figure of a pretension who gives adult his life to save his friend’s (played by Khan). If there was no Dharmendra in that ultimate church of masculine lick called Sholay we competence consider of Vinod Khanna as a critical contender, though then, it’s also satisfactory to ask – would he be means to lift off Veeru with such healthy comic timing as a goofball Dharmendra did? Clearly, Khanna had his stipulations as an actor. Comedy was not his clever fit and he was intelligent and unsentimental adequate to know what he was able of.

In a masculinity department, Khanna belonged to a Dharmendra pantheon. Much like a He Man, he was a guy’s male with a tender majority and old-school attract that done him irresistibly appealing to women, distinct supposed opposition Amitabh Bachchan whose ticket-buyers were particularly male. The womenfolk went to see a heartthrob Rajesh Khanna while Vinod Khanna captivated a tag of a thinking-woman’s sex symbol. There was also something grand about Vinod Khanna, for he wasn’t given to an pornographic office of celebrity and money, like everybody else in a glamorous universe of movies.

He was a singular star who thumbed his nose during misty frills. In 1982, a same year as Bachchan’s near-fatal damage on a sets of Coolie, Khanna done an astonishing exit from Bollywood and from a element life, reportedly fasten Osho in Oregon to be his gardener! In a following years, Bachchan entered politics and went from a Member of Parliament and a many critical masculine in India after Rajiv Gandhi to box-office poison. Had a diversion incited out differently if Khanna had stayed on? We will never know though many critics bring him as an instance of mislaid potential, a maven who though was a master of his possess mind. “Vinod Khanna, to me, was a yogi,” wrote Shobhaa De in an obituary, published in Mumbai Mirror in May this year. “Someone in hunt of an fugitive aloft truth, and possibly, himself. He seemed like a masculine on a goal looking for deeper explanations to life than a paltry ones many of us settle for. His devout query was a singular many appealing peculiarity he possessed. A seeker is always a some-more engaging chairman than someone who has all a answers.” Despite his 5 year deficiency from films, when Khanna done a quip he had adequate goodwill and stardom left to assistance him waves over a supposed “self-destruction” and “downfall” that a trade had predicted. Insaaf, Dayavan and Chandni were exile hits, proof that he was still box-office catnip.

On a Simi Garewal discuss show, billed as a tell-all, Khanna was asked about his remarkable preference to forgo films and family to follow his “inner voice.” To a prodding by Garewal, he said, “Everybody has to transport alone. You come alone. You go alone.” Vinod Khanna did go alone, like group before him, though not but a spirit of grin and gratification during a life lived deeply and meaningfully. “Rote paint aate hain sab, hasta hua joh jaayega, woh muqaddar ka Sikandar jaaneman kehlayega,” chanted a destiny’s child Amitabh Bachchan roving on a motorbike in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar. Maybe, Bachchan was singing it for his clinging friend, companion, co-worker and rival.

(Shaikh Ayaz is a author and publisher formed in Mumbai.)

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