Izzaten Shohraten Chahaten Ulfaten

"Izzaten shohraten chahaten ulfaten
koi bhi cheez duniya mein rahti nahi
aaj main hoon jahaan kal koi aur thaa
Ye bhi ek daur hai woh bhi ek daur tha"

- Amar Prem

Everyone has acquaintanceship with success at some point or the other in life.However, intensity and duration of such an experience and its impact on a person and his life, varies.Success has an ability to remove the lid off a human character as nothing does.It is a limited state of consciousness where inhibitions disappear,fears fade and new possibilities take shape; actions continue to have repercussions but the state of success tends to change a successful individual's response to it.

Stardom is an elevated form of success where: your success is reflected from the people around you; you are known more for your success than for the reason why you are successful ; your life is envied for what it appears to be rather than what it actually is.Stardom can have a shorter life, and meteoric rises can have greater falls.

When you perceive yourself as the most significant person you have met in recent times, chances are that someone is already preparing to replace you.When you no longer see a need to reason your arrogance, it could be a signal to your journey back to oblivion.

Who would have know these better than 'the first superstar of Hindi cinema'?

Rajesh Khanna passed away, a year back, in July 2012 after prolonged illness and loneliness.

Forty years ago,when he was a young man and already a superstar,he was known for his arrogance and tantrums.BBC journalist Jack Puzzey who was working on a documentary on Indian cinema described him as someone with 'the charisma of Rudolph Valentino and the arrogance of Napoleon'.Puzzey,while working on the documentary, sought his appointment and Rajesh Khanna made him come daily to his banglow ,wait the entire day and leave without meeting him for 5 days.Those were the ways of the young Rajesh Khanna - immature and probably an innocent ways of checking and reconfirming his own significance in the world.

His last movie 'Riyasat', that was to be posthumously released last year found no takers.This was unimaginable four decades back when he ruled the Hindi film industry.Between 1969 and 1972,he gave fifteen consecutive hits.This was a record in self and has since never been broken.

His life,was more magical than his movies and this added to his charisma.A twenty-three-year-old man participates in a contest-'United Producers Talent Hunt'-and wins it.This gets him an opertunity to play the lead of a low-budget movie 'Aakhri Khat'. The movie turns a dud at the box-office but goes in as India's entry to the 40th academy awards in 1967.However, with this movie Jatin Khanna is re-baptized as 'Rajesh Khanna'. Three flop films and a special appearance later Rajesh Khanna finally arrives, with the blockbuster 'Aaradhana', as the first superstar of Hindi cinema.He was consecrated with a super-stardom as none of his predecessors had and as none of his successors were to ever to experience.
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In his heydays,he was mobbed everywhere he went.It is said, women married his photographs and wrote letters to him in their blood.Rajesh enjoyed every bit of it.There are stories that he would purposely park his car across the road and walk to his house,accrosscreating a traffic jam.His fans kissed his car and covered it with lipstick marks.Some attribute this to innocence of the time.The whole of India was moving from its post-independence identity.But, even his contemporaries never experienced a fan-frenzy like the one he generated.

Having experienced fame,grandness and pseudo-power at his peak,it is difficult for a man to accept the loneliness and the commonness on his way down.Initially, the man tries to fight back to reclaim the life he believes he rightly deserves.But after losing a few battles, sometimes the desperation sets in.Besides,the aspiration and the determination may not be as severe and as strong as when he had struggled his way up.

In such situations, chances are that a person might change fronts.He may tend to move into other battles that are fiercer, yet comforting to believe are easier.Rajesh Khanna was dating Anju Mahendroo,then an upcoming actress and model with western appearance.He is said to have been attracted to western lifestyle and women but to the core he was a small town guy and this contradiction  caused the split in their relationship.Rajesh is said to have craved for her words of encouragement while Anju was always critical of his work and ways of living.She was a very practical women who hated the sycophants that Rajesh maintained at his bungalow 'Ashirwad'. When she could no longer stand him she walked out of the relationship.Rajesh did not take this lightly and is said to have used his position in the film industry to ruin her career.He had allegedly paid not to let any of her movies release in the theaters.Ironically he had to go back to this woman in his final years, as an old man in his 60's minus the stardom,power and might be the ego.

In the heat of his broken relationship with Anju ,Rajesh married then sex symbol,Dimple Kapadia who was of age sixteen and fifteen years younger to him.Rajesh Khanna is said to have had a great fascination for Raj Kapoor's heroines and she was fresh from the blockbuster 'Bobby'.He proposed her and she immediately agreed.If the reports are to believed, even this was not without the young superstar's frivolous ways - he made her throw the ring Rishi Kapoor had presented her into the sea to prove her loyalty to him.

The marriage, however did last long and in few years they started living separate due to differences over Dimple's acting career and Rajesh's disloyalty.Tina Munim with whom Khanna had a brief affair during the same period once said in an interview,"Kaka(Rajesh Khanna) was incapable of loving anyone.He was only ever in love with himself".
He had relationships with many women,some of which were very intimate,yet he was lonely all the while.

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This was also the time that saw his downslide and rise of the longest reigning superstar and one of the best actors in Indian cinema - Amitabh Bachan.Between 1973 and 1984 Rajesh Khanna did 45 movies of which only 'Avatar' was a major hit.In his heydays, it is said, Rajesh Khanna was the most difficult person for the directors and producers to handle.He wanted them to agree to his terms if they wanted him in their movies.Many directors who were instrumental in creating him ,like Shakti Samantha,Yash Chopra,Manmohan Desai ,later started distancing themselves from him.It was because of one such fall-out with the famous writer duo,Salim-Javed, over his demand for change in script that was written for Vinod Khanna,that they decided to replace Rajesh Khanna with Amitabh Bachan both in 'Zanjeer' and 'Deewar'. These movies launched 'The Super Star Amitabh Bachan'.

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But it seems he was subconsciously aware of everything. The 'Jathin' in him saw it all and realized it all.He observed his life like someone watching a cinema - impacted yet detached enough not to intervene.He knew that like struggle,the success was just another phase.But the 'Rajesh' in him could not see himself outside of the 'stardom'.

In an interview he had given to a leading magazine during his post-super-star years, this duality is clearly visible.He said ,"They say, in showbiz when a giant falls,he falls.It doesn't matter if he rises again because to the world he has fallen".
After a while he continues,"Yeah ! A king is a king ! He might not have a following.He might be dying alone,lost in a desert but he will still be a king,whether on the throne or in exile".

It was a bigger struggle within than without.
However,it was a fairytale life of a man who saw it all and lived it all-A story of meteoric rise and a painful fall.May be that was his soul's purpose- to experience it all and like any meaningful life ,learn from it.

May be it indeed was a life well lived.


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