Ah, the romantic.
The best ever example of a reality show sensation, Khanna shot into fame following a 1966 nationwide contest, the All India Talent Hunt. It took him a couple of years to get noticed, but this he did with the tremendous success of Aradhana in 1969. There was no looking back, and the apocryphal stories — fans marrying photographs, letters written in blood, white cars made pink by lipstick smears — are all true.
Given Rajesh Khanna’s star-power, they might even be understated.
His planet-sized ego and erratic cinematic selections, however, saw his career plummet sharply in the mid-1970s, things coming to a head in 1990, with Swarg. Since then, every film of his has been called a comeback, each coming at a two, three year interval, and failing to make any sort of impact. There are reports, however, that another Rajesh Khanna film might head into production next year.
But don’t cry for him, Pushpa. He hates tears.