New Delhi, July 18: President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were among the host of political leaders who mourned the death of Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 69.
In a condolence message to the actor’s wife, Dimple Kapadia, the president said she was “saddened” to learn about his death.
“In his prime as an actor he was the heartthrob of the young generation of 1970s, who tried to model themselves on him and his style,” she said.
Patil said that his powerful acting brought life into the celluloid character he played in over 160 films.
“In his passing away, the film world has lost a powerful actor and creative personality,” the president said.
Rajesh Khanna had been battling with health issues for a long time, and was admitted to the hospital in the last one month. His funeral will be held 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Kaka, as he was popularly known, is survived by wife Dimple Kapadia and daughters Twinkle and Rinke.
He began his career with “Aakhri Khat” in 1966. He became a superstar like no other with his work in hits like “Aradhana”, “Do Raaste”, “Safar” and “Anand”. He was last seen in a TV commercial for Havells fans earlier this year.
The prime minister in his condolence message to Rajesh Khanna’s daughter Twinkle said the actor “was a celebrated artiste who entertained millions of Indians with his performance in a variety of films.”
“He was called the first superstar of the Indian cinema and his popularity as a romantic hero in the 1960s and 1970s is a part of our film folklore,” he said in a statement.
The prime minister said the actor’s “legacy will live on in the form of the numerous entertaining and acclaimed films that he leaves behind.”
“In the passing away of Shri Rajesh Khanna the Indian film industry has lost one of its most successful and most charming heroes. On this sad occasion, I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and Shri Khanna’s countless fans and admirers,” he added.
Khanna, known as the first superstar of Hindi film world, had dabbled in politics as well. He was Congress MP from the New Delhi constituency from 1991-1996.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also expressed her heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.
“Congress president Sonia Gandhi has expressed her deep sorrow and grief on demise of Shri Rajesh Khanna,” the statement said
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said “it is indeed sad to learn that the renowned Hindi film actor and former Member of Parliament Rajesh Khanna is no more with us.”
“Rajesh Khanna was a legendary actor who personified outstanding artistic grace and distinctive creative skills, distinguishing him from his contemporaries in Indian film industry,” she said.
Mourning the sudden death of the actor, Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari said Rajesh Khanna was a versatile actor and his departure has left a void in the Indian film industry.