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Vinod Khanna’s 71st birth anniversary: His leading ladies recall their fondest memories

On Vinod Khanna’s 71st birth anniversary, we revisit what some of his leading ladies such as Hema Malini, Saira Bano among others, had to say about the legendary actor.

bollywood Updated: Oct 06, 2017 15:49 IST
Samarth Goyal
Samarth Goyal
Hindustan Times
Bollywood,Vinod Khanna,Saira Bano
Vinod Khanna died in April this year after battling bladder cancer.

On the silver screen, (late) actor Vinod Khanna was often labelled as one of the most handsome actors, with female fans swooning over his good looks and charming persona. But he is often remembered by his friends and co-stars as an extremely warm and helpful human being.

Khanna died on April 27, this year but everyone who has known him n personal or professional capacity can’t forget the time they spent with him.

On his 71st birth anniversary, we revisit the accounts of female actors, who have been paired with Khanna as his leading ladies and what they had to say about their on screen association with him.

Zeenat Aman

Vinod Khanna and Zeenat Aman

With Vinod, things were always proper on the sets. He would come on time, say a polite hello, shoot and leave. He was so good at conveying romantic thoughts. A truly handsome man, he would make ladies swoon. But he was the least conscious or vain about his looks. He was always proper in his behaviour. You would never catch Vinod screaming or getting impatient on the sets. There was never any fireworks or excitement when we were shooting together. Vinod was always proper, always correct in his behaviour. A thorough gentleman.

Shabana Azmi

Vinod Khanna and Shabana Azmi

I first worked with Vinod in Aruna Vikas’s Shaque (1976). I remember being terrified because Aruna [Raje] and Vikas [Desai] who were married then and co-directing the film, demonstrated how they wanted a particularly intimate scene to be done. I was awkward and very embarrassed. Vinod , who sensed this, came to my rescue. When we started rehearsing, he put his arm around me and asked the directors, ‘if I hold her in this position, will I miss the camera? Would it be better if I hold her arm higher?’ Suddenly I felt ‘oh this is such a technical thing no need to be embarrassed’ and I started breathing again. I will always be thankful to him for this. He was a big star and I, a rank newcomer, if he had asked me to relax I would have got even more tense. What a considerate thing to do.

Hema Malini

Vinod Khanna and Hema Malini

Vinod brought such calm tranquillity and understanding to his role. He was like that in real life too. On the sets, I would spend a lot of time discussing Acharya Rajneesh [Osho leader] with him. I wanted to understand what it was about that man which made Vinod leave his career and join him in Oregon for five years. He would patiently try to explain the philosophy of Rajneesh to me. Do you know, I came into politics because of Vinod Khanna? I had no idea about politics and how it worked. One day Vinod called to say, ‘I am fighting elections from Gurdaspur. I want you to campaign for me.’ I refused outright saying I knew nothing about politics or campaigning, He insisted. My mother also said I should go since Vinod was such a dear co-star. That’s how my career in politics started. It’s sad when colleagues are gone. Now hardly any of my co-stars are left.

Saira Bano

Saira Bano and Vinod Khanna

People talk about how good Vinod looked, but not many know how good he was as a person as well. He was extremely caring and respected people who worked with him. If I ever got late for shooting, he used to call me and say, ‘if you are getting late, then I will send my driver to pick you up. You can tell your driver to bring in your stuff to the shooting location later.’ I will always remember him for the gentleman that he was.

Madhuri Dixit

Madhuri Dixit and Vinod Khanna

When I had worked with Vinod [in Dayavan; 1987], I was very new and young, and I used to observe him on sets. He had worked in one film, it wasn’t a commercial film, named Achanak, and I think he acted very well in that film.

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First Published: Oct 06, 2017 11:32 IST