What Akshaye Khanna said about Vinod Khanna leaving family for Osho: ‘Something must have moved him so deeply inside’
Countless celebrities from all of the world joined the controversial Rajneesh Movement in the 1970s, becoming sworn followers of the cult and disciples of their leader, Osho or Bhagwan Rajneesh. Those on the list included The Beatles, Parveen Babi, Mahesh Bhatt and late actor Vinod Khanna. Tuesday marks Vinod’s 74th birth anniversary.
Vinod became a disciple of Osho in 1975, moving to Oregon and leaving his family--a wife and two kids behind in Mumbai. Vinod’s elder son, Akshaye Khannna was just a toddler at the time and unable to process why his father had left them. It was only when he turned 15 or 16 that he realised who was Osho and the Rajneeshis.
Talking about Osho’s influence over his father’s life, Akshaye said in an interview to Mid-Day in January, “ (The influence) To not only leave his family, but to take ‘sanyaas’ (renunciation). Sanyaas means giving up your life in totality — family is [only] a part of it. It’s a life-changing decision, which he felt that he needed to take at the time. As a five-year-old, it was impossible [for me] to understand it. I can understand it now.”
“In the sense that something must have moved him so deeply inside, that he felt that that kind of decision was worth it for him. Especially, when you have everything in life. And when life doesn’t look as though there’s much more that you can have. A very basic fault-line/ earthquake has to occur within oneself to make that decision. But also stick by it. One can make the decision and say this doesn’t suit me — let’s go back,” he said.
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Akshaye added that unlike the common belief that Vinod returned after growing disenchanted with the movement, his father came back after the US government disbanded the commune. “t was just the fact that the commune was disbanded, destroyed, and everybody had to find their own way. That’s when he came back. Otherwise I don’t think he would’ve ever come back,” he said.
Even though Vinod left the family for Osho, Akshaye still had respect for the spiritual leader. “I don’t know if sanyaas is something that I could do. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy his discourses, respect his intellect, oratory skills, and his way of thinking. I have deep respect for him,” he said.
Vinod died on April 27, 2017 at the age of 70 after battling cancer. He made his Bollywood debut in 1968 film Mann Ka Meet, which was produced by Sunil Dutt, who was reportedly struck by Vinod’s good looks. He was noticed for his portrayal of Shyam in Gulzar’s 1971 film Mere Apne, where he stood out as a disillusioned young man.
He got his first break as a hero in Hum Tum Aur Woh (1971). A great many films followed including hits such as Elaan and Mera Gaon Mera Desh. He made his political debut in 1997 with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and served as a minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government.
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