‘He was full of life and indifferent to what the media wrote about him’
Rajesh Khanna lived life King Size till the very end. He was one of the most generous people I have ever met in my entire life. What media reported about him, his financial condition and relationship with his family was completely false as I was witness to whatever was going on in his life. He was full of life and was quite indifferent to what the media wrote about him. But he used to also tell me that this is the same media that had helped him during his struggling days.
He would also tell us that, “We are Khatris and hum log betiyon ko dete hain unse kuch lete nahin (we provide for our daughters, we don’t depend on them)”.
‘Akshay Kumar was his buddy and that is how he addressed him’
He shared a special bond with Dimpleji and she cared and nursed him till the end. She was there with him 24/7. Before Kakaji fell ill, I have seen Dimple come to his house and he would also visit her for lunch and dinner. Akshay Kumar was his buddy and that is how he addressed him, too. There is another incident I need to mention here. Both Kakaji and Dimpleji were invited by a radio station and one listener asked Dimple about the secret of her beauty. Kakaji took the mic from her and said, “It’s me.” During the same trip, Dimpleji went shopping and came back with Kaka’s favourite cigarettes and sun glasses. He wasn’t wearing his trademark glasses during that trip and when Dimpleji insisted he wore them and said, “Lag raha hoon na main Rajesh Khanna? (I look like Rajesh Khanna don’t I?)”
Kakaji knew that his time had come, but he had no fear as he was fully aware about his health and he was bit of an astrologer, too. But his doctor did express disappointment about not being able to save him. During his last days, Kakaji had watched a DVD of Hrishikesh Mukherji’s ‘Anand’, as his real life did resonate with the character he played in that film.
‘Kakaji would say, “Iss industry mein relationships Friday to Friday badalti hain’
He did feel let down by some colleagues in the film industry, whom he had helped during the early days of their career. One of the same artistes had replaced him in a film which had a famous dialogue that was retained in the movie after Kakaji exited from the project. But he didn’t have any regrets. Kakaji would say, “Iss industry mein relationships Friday to Friday badalti hain (Relationships change every Friday in the film industry).”
I remember when Kakaji came back from Macau after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the hands of Amitabh Bachchan, he was asked by a member of the press, why cant he and Amitabh Bachchan come together again. Kakaji immediately agreed to the idea and said, “Why not? But there should be a producer to make the film.”