India's first superstar Rajesh Khanna, who passed away on July 18, 2012, left behind a special recorded message for his family, friends and fans, which was played at his chautha held over the weekend.
In the message he is heard saying that he owes his success as an actor to the stage. He has talked about how he began his career as a theatre artist when there was no godfather whom he could turn to.
He came into the movies through the United Producers Filmfare Talent contest where he was seated on a long table in presence of celeberated filmmakers like Bimal Roy, Shakti Samanta and many others.
In the recording Rajesh Khanna says that right before delivering the dialogue, he had nervously asked: "Maine kaha ki dialogue toh yaad hai lekin yeh jo dialogue hai, yeh aapne nahi bataya ki iska characterisation kya hai ki yeh hero jo hai woh aapni maa ko batata hai ki main ek nachnewali se shaadi karna chahta hu aur usko teri ghar ki bahu banana chahta hu. Maine kaha, aapne na character bataya maa ka, na hero ka...ki bhai ameer hai, gareeb hai, ma sakt, kadak hai, naram hai, middle class hai, aadmi pada likha anpad hai? Kya? Kuch bhi nahi".
Rajesh Khanna recounts that Mr Chopra retorted saying: "You are from the stage so make your own characterisation."
Amitabh Bachchan and daugther Shweta at Rajesh Khanna's chautha
During that audition the chapter of his stardom opened. The dialogue he mouthed in front of the stalwarts was: "Haan main kalakar hun, haan main kalakar hun, kya karoge meri kahani sunkar..." (Yes I am an artist , yes I am artist, why would you want to hear my story...). And rest, to use a cliche, is history.
Rajesh Khanna appeared in 163 feature films and delivered various hit films such as Kati Patang, Safar, Ittefaq, Aradhana, Anand, Amar Prem and Aan Milo Sajna.
In the tape Rajesh Khanna also thanked his fans saying: "Doston aapka ek hissedar main bhi hun aur jaise maine pehle bhi kaha ki aap apna keemti waqt nikalkar...aapka yeh pyaar tha ki aap maujood hue aur itni bhaari sankhya mein. Main yehi kahunga ki bahut-bahut shukriya, thank you aur mera bahut-bahut salaam." (Friends, I'm a part of you, and as I said, you have all taken time out for me. This is the love, your presence in numbers that I'm grateful for, thank you, thank you my salaam to you all.)
The eight-minute long audio sounds more like an extract from the superstar's some old interview and very little like his last words.