Bollywood has produced several superstars, but none of them has enjoyed the heights of popularity and stardom that he had in those days. None of the superstar had such a huge fan following. He was the first romantic hero to have a huge fan base in Europe and America. We are talking about none other than the first superstar of India, Rajesh Khanna, who passed away yesterday at his residence in Mumbai.
Rajesh Khanna's dark, soulful, fleshy good looks had established him as India's leading romantic hero. Many of female fans were completely mad over his unique style of dancing, dialogue delivery and gestures. Wherever he went, he was mobbed by crowds of women. His female fans chanted his name, plucked at his clothes or covered his car in lipstick kisses.
Sharmila Tagore, who had a great on-screen chemistry with Rajesh Khanna in films like Aradhana, Safar, Avishkaar and Amar Prem, says that he had an inherent enigma in him and his appeal went beyond age groups. The yesteryear actress said, "Elderly woman would want to mother him. Younger women wanted to fall in love with him. And the men also liked him because he had a lot of energy and style. He brought together people from nine-year-olds to ninety-year-olds."
A few of his female co-stars were envious over his girl following. In an interview, actress Mumtaz, who shared a great on-screen chemistry with Rajesh in eight successful films, had said, "I would pull his leg and tease him about his fan following. Whenever Rajesh entered a hotel in Madras, there was a queue of 600 girls waiting to see him at midnight. As a result, even I would get some importance, as people would ask for my autograph as well."
However, film critic Monojit Lahiri remembers, "Girls married themselves to photographs of Rajesh Khanna, cutting their fingers and applying the blood as sindoor. Rajesh was God, there has never been such hysteria." According to Indian scriptures, Lord Krishna had a huge female fan following and had around 16,000 wives. Like him, Rajesh Khanna was also very popular among women during his time and enjoyed almost godlike status. If we are to go by the statement of Monojit Lahiri, this actor had even more number of wives than Krishna. Hence, Kaka can be best described as modern days' Krishna.