Mumbai Actor Vinod Khanna, known for his performances in films like Mere Apne and Qurbani, died at the age of 70. He was suffering from advanced bladder carcinoma and was being treated at the HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai.
A fortnight ago, photographs of a frail-looking Khanna went viral on the internet, after which his family released a statement that he was on “recovering”.
Khanna was born on October 6, 1946 in Peshawar. After the Partition, his father Kishinchand Khanna moved to Mumbai. Later, his family moved to Delhi, but Khanna did a major part of his schooling in Nashik. He studied in Sydenham College in Mumbai.
The actor made his debut with Mann Ka Meet in 1968. Although earlier known for his villainous roles, Khanna soon made his way into people’s hearts with his performances in films like Muqaddar ka Sikandar and Amar Akbar Anthony. His chiselled face and strong physique made him stand out among his contemporaries and soon made him a superstar.
In a career spanning more than five decades, Khanna acted in 146 films. At the peak of his career in 1982, Khanna quit movies and joined spiritual leader Osho Rajneesh. While there were rumours that Khanna was attracted to the rebellious lifestyle the ashram was associated with, it later came to light the change was a result of the death of two of his family members.
He made a comeback in films five years later, and delivered back-to-back hits like Insaaf, Dayavaan, etc. In the late 1990s, Khanna joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contested and won elections from the Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab in the Lok Sabha polls in 1998. He was appointed the Union minister of culture and tourism in July 2002. In the same year, he was moved to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) as the minister of state. In 2014 general elections, he was won back the Gurdaspur constituency.
While he was busy with his political career, he was seen in fewer films. Recently, he was seen in important roles in films like Wanted, Dabangg and Dilwale, which is the last film he was seen in.
Khanna married Geetanjali in 1971 and had two sons – Rahul Khanna and Akshaye Khanna. In 1980, Khanna moved to Rajneesh Ashram, where he stayed for five years. The move led to differences with his wife, and they got divorced in 1985.
After five years, he married Kavita with whom he had two children – Sakshi and Shraddha.