Mumbai: Late Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna’s birthday is on December 29. He was called the first ‘superstar’ of Bollywood and there was a mad craze for him during the 1970s.
On this special day, former Bollywood actress and social activist Somy Ali recalled how her mom had the biggest crush on the late actor.
“My mom had the biggest crush on him and all she would listen to was his songs, the majority of them sung by Kishore da, which would blast over the tape recorder in our house when I was a kid in Pakistan,” she reminisced.
Her first memory of watching his film was ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’. “I enjoyed it because of the love he had for animals and was furious at how cruel the leading lady was to him and jealous of his compassion and love for his elephant. Given I was five years old at the time and could not make the distinction between real life and a movie,” said the actress who worked in movies such as ‘Aao Pyaar Karen’, ‘Anth’, ‘Chupp’ and others.
She also recalled watching ‘Anand’. “I remember my mother crying profusely when Kaka ji died in the end. When I was seven years old, my father organised a trip for my mom and me to visit Mumbai,” said the former Bollywood actress.
“My dad was close friends with Dutt Saab’s manager, and he facilitated our visiting sets with Amit ji, Dharam ji, Rekha ji, and Kaka ji. So, I was lucky enough to meet him when I was seven and he invited mom and me to his house ‘Ashirwaad’ for lunch,” she shared. For her, the memory of that encounter is as vivid as if it happened yesterday.
She recalled telling ‘Kaka ji’ at 7 years of age that when she grows up, she wants to marry him. “He laughed out loud of course, and my mom was shocked and somewhat embarrassed. He was a thorough gentleman and I believe there will never be a superstar like him in the history of Bollywood. That smile, the emotions, the romance and the music, no one can beat that,” said Somy.
According to her, ‘Souten’, ‘Roti’, ‘Red Rose’, ‘Anand’, ‘Bawarchi’ and ‘Amrit’ were his amazing films.
She enjoyed watching pretty much anything with him and Mumtaz. “Their chemistry was phenomenal. Quite similar to that of Amit ji and Rekha ji or Kajol and Shah Rukh,” said the actress.
Before sleeping, she watches Rajesh Khanna songs. “It’s a nightly ritual. The strangest thing is that the day before he died, I was watching ‘Kati Patang’ at night and I had a bad feeling that something was going to happen to him while I did not know that he was severely unwell. The next morning, I read of his passing in the newspaper and I was bawling like a little kid,” she said.