One of a kind: Actor and BJP politician Vinod Khanna in April 2009. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)
POLITICIANS and leading personalities from the Indian film industry have been paying tributes to the popular star and lawmaker Vinod Khanna, who passed away in Mumbai earlier today (27). He was 70.
Khanna, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of parliament, was suffering from severe dehydration when he was admitted to hospital last month. A statement from the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital said Khanna was suffering from bladder cancer.
India’s president Pranab Mukherjee led tributes to the star of films such as Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Mere Apne.
“Heartfelt condolences on the passing away of Shri Vinod Khanna, a highly talented and acclaimed actor & MP,” Mukherjee said on Twitter.
India’s home minister Rajnath Singh said “Vinod Khanna had an illustrious career in films and politics. He carved a special place in the hearts of millions of Indians.”
From the film industry, producer-director Karan Johar said: “His screen presence is unparalleled even today. His super star swag is what we grew up on. RIP #VinodKhanna… thoughts and prayers.”
Veteran actor Anupam Kher tweeted, “ Will remember #VinodKhanna ji for his larger than life performances & his graciousness. There r very few people like him. Will miss u Sir.”
The actor is survived by his wife, Kavita Khanna, and four children – Rahul, Akshaye, Sakshi, and Shraddha.
Khanna made his acting debut in 1968 with Man Ka Meet and early in his career, played a negative or a supporting role.
His potential was first noticed in Gulzar’s Mere Apne in 1971 and he was in demand in the 1970s and 1980s, acting in several blockbusters such as Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Reshma Aur Shera, Elan, Insaaf and Dayavan.
He and superstar Amitabh Bachchan were a popular pair, and acted in several films such as Amar Akbar Anthony, Here Pheri and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.
At the height of his popularity, Khanna surprised his fans when he took a break from acting for five years to join spiritual leader Osho Rajneesh at his ashram in Pune in 1982.
But Khanna returned to cinema in the late 1980s, and courted success again with films such as Insaaf and Satyameva Jayate.
He was was last seen in Dilwale in 2015.
Like many popular actors and actresses, Khanna stepped into politics and was a Member of Parliament from Gurdaspur, Punjab.
The sitting MP had won the seat four times.
Khanna’s contemporary Shatrughan Sinha described his death as a personal loss.
“Vinod Khanna was a greatly admired personality. It’s a personal and emotional loss for me as we have been very close and journeyed together in films as well as in politics,” Sinha, who worked with Khanna in hits like Mere Apne, Bombay 405 and Do Yaar, said.
The singer Asha Bhosle remembered him as “a decent man and a star till the very end.”
Rishi Kapoor, who played Khanna’s younger brother in Amar Akbar Anthony and worked with him in another memorable hit Chandni, tweeted, “Will miss you Amar. RIP. Remembering the good times with you, Vinod. Thank you for being my friend.”
Superstar Rajinikanth said, “My dear friend Vinod Khanna… Will miss you, RIP. My heartfelt condolences to the family.”