Arguably the first superstar of Bollywood, Rajesh Khanna would have turned 74 on Thursday had he been alive. Interestingly, his daughter Twinkle Khanna, too, celebrates her birthday on December 29. From the passionate lover to the most-dependable friend, he essayed his roles in a manner that made him a darling of the masses and critics alike.
Fondly known as Kaka, he passed away on July 18, 2012, leaving behind an epic legacy of films that make us cry, songs that we continue to hum even today and cinematic moments that we cherish. Paired best with Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz, Kaka has acted in more than 150 movies.
His enigmatic presence garnered a massive fan following, especially female fans. Talking about the frenzy he inspired in his female fans, author Shobha De said during a session at Jaipur Literature Festival 2015, “Female fans wrote him letters in blood, married his photographs, imprinted lipstick marks on his car and used the mud on his car tyres as sindoor.”
We take a look at Kaka’s top 15 movies of all time.
Directed by Yash Chopra, this movie won critical acclaim for the acting and the plot. Rajesh Khanna, played by Dilip Roy, is a painter who is being tried for murdering his wife.
Paired with Sharmila Tagore and directed by Shakti Samanta, this movie bagged the best film trophy at the Filmfare Awards. It gave us songs like Roop Tera Mastana and Mere Sapno Ki Rani.
Sachaa Jhutha (1970)
This movie was a blockbuster and was directed by Manmohan Desai. The movie stars Rajesh Khanna as a simple villager, whose lookalike is a criminal mastermind.
Haathi Mere Saathi (1971)
Haathi Mere Saathi was the biggest hit of 1971, going by box office collections and was a favourite with children in the early 1970s. The entertainer ranks high among the biggest ever hits of Rajesh Khanna’s career, and was directed by MA Thirumugham.
Kati Patang (1971)
Paired with Asha Parekh in this one, Rajesh Khanna plays Kamal Sinha in the movie. The movie was directed by Shakti Samanta and was the second among the nine movies Samanta and Rakesh Khanna teamed in. The movie gave us superhit tracks like Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai, Yeh Shaam Mastani and Pyaar Deewana Hota Hai, Mastaana Hota Hai.
One of the most-loved movies of Kaka, starred Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan in lead roles and Rajesh Khanna played the title role. Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the movie is about a cancer patient(Khanna) who believes in living his life to the fullest.
Amar Prem (1972)
The film was directed by Shakti Samanta and is based on a story Nishipadma by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. The film had Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in the lead and was considered ahead of its time. The thought-provoking song Chingaari Koi Bhadke written by Anand Bakshi and sung by Kishore Kumar, is one of the highlights of this classic.
Namak Haraam (1973)
The movie is the second Hrishikesh Mukherjee film with Rajesh Khanna after Anand. Diye Jalte Hai, Phool Khilte Hai, Nadiya se dariya, Dariye se sagar and Main Shayar Badnaam are the most memorable melodies, all rendered powerfully by Kishore Kumar and picturised on Rajesh Khanna.
Daag: A Poem of Love (1974)
Yash Chopra’s Daag paired Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in the adaptation of Thomas hardy novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge. Rajesh Khanna impressed the audience with his performance and the film was a superhit.
Prem Nagar (1974)
The 1974 film, produced by D Ramanaidu and directed by KS Prakash Rao, stars Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini in the lead roles.
Thodi Si Bewafai (1980)
Directed by Ismaeel Shroff, Thodi Si Bewafai featured Rajesh Khanna in the lead opposite Shabana Azmi. Khayyam’s music was one of the highlights of the film. Songs like Aaj Bichde Hain Kal Ka (Bhupinder Singh), Aankhon Mein Humne Aapke (Kishore and Lata) and the title track are some of the best melodies of the era.
Directed by Mohan Kumar, Avtaar is about the rise and fall of Avtaar Kishen (Rajesh Khanna) and how the financial changes impact his personal life. Rajesh Khanna bagged All-India Critics Association (AICA) Best Actor Award for the film.
Aaj Ka M.L.A. Ram Avtar (1984)
Aaj Ka Ram Avtar MLA is a 1984 film about Ram Avtar, played by Rajesh Khanna, who grooms minister Digvijay Singh. When Digvijay’s political party is in need of someone to stand in the forthcoming election, Digvijay recommends Ram Avtar as his choice.
Hum Dono (1985)
Hum Dono is a 1985 Hindi film, starring Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini, and is directed by BS Glaad. The music is by RD Burman, and the songs are sung by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle.
Directed by Mohan Kumar, Amrit had Rajesh Khanna playing the titular role opposite Smita Patil. Khanna got his last Bengal Film Journalists’ Award for the film.
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