First News
Volume:7, Number:43
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LEISURE
THIS WEEK

Vinod Khanna Dies at 70

| Tanmoy Khan |

A film career that spanned nearly half a century and covered 146 movies came to an end on April 27, leaving millions of admirers mourning his death

The end snuck up on Vinod Khanna as he suffered away from the public eye, and his fans had no clue it was going to come so soon until they saw the picture of their emaciated and frail star, flanked by his wife and son standing in a hospital room. The Bollywood actor, who acted in 146 films in his career, was preparing himself for the last act of his life. Khanna, once acknowledged as one of Bollywood’s handsomest heroes, passed away at a Mumbai hospital on April 27 at the age of 70. He was suffering from advanced cancer of the bladder. According to hospital sources, he breathed his last at 11.20 am, weeks after he was hospitalized for severe dehydration.

Vinod Khanna acted in lead roles in many super-hit films and is best remembered for his performance in films like Mere Apne, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Gaddaar, Jail Yatra, Imtihaan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Inkaar, Kuchhe Dhaage, Amar Akbar Anthony, Rajput, Qurbani, Kudrat, Dayavan, Kaarnama, Suryaa: An Awakening and Jurm. Born in Peshawar in present-day Pakistan in 1946, Khanna made his debut in 1968, first acting in small second lead roles or negative roles. His angry young man role in the movie Mere Apne, his negative role as the main villain in the super-hit movie Mera Gaon Mera Desh and his role in the critically acclaimed movie Achanak shot him to fame and recognition over the years. In 1982, at the peak of his film career, Khanna temporarily quit the film industry to follow his spiritual guru Rajneesh. After a 5 year hiatus, he returned to the Hindi film industry giving two back to back hit films Insaaf and Satyamev Jayate.

Vinod Khanna’s debut film was Sunil Dutt's 1968 film Man Ka Meet directed by Adurthi Subba Rao, as a villain where Som Dutt was the hero,which was a remake of a Tamil film. He was one of the few Hindi actors who began by playing villains and moved on to play the hero. He got his first break as the solo lead hero in the film Hum Tum Aur Who in 1971 opposite Bharati Vishnuvardhan. It was followed by the 1971 multi-hero film Mere Apne directed by Gulzar. In 1973, his performance as an army officer facing death row in another film scripted and directed by Gulzar, Achanak, was critically acclaimed. It echoed the true life story of K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra and Khanna portrayed Kawas Nanavati, the real-life Navy officer.

In 1999 Vinod Khanna received a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the industry for over three decades. In 1997, Khanna joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and was elected from Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab in the next year's Lok Sabha poll.

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