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Rajesh Khanna, the actor-motivator

A legend in his lifetime, Rajesh Khanna was more of a beacon to me who guided and motivated me at every turn of life. I still remember that after passing out as a commissioned army officer, I was traveling to Bondilla to join my new unit .The song "Mere sapno ki rani" was being played on a transistor and all the passengers in the compartment were standing around the transistor to listen to it. KS Kang writes

chandigarh Updated: Jul 21, 2012 16:32 IST
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A legend in his lifetime, Rajesh Khanna was more of a beacon to me who guided and motivated me at every turn of life. I still remember that after passing out as a commissioned army officer, I was traveling to Bondilla in Assam Mail to join my new unit on June 26, 1969. The song "Mere sapno ki rani" was being played on a transistor and all the passengers in the compartment were standing around the transistor to listen to it.

On the first day of my dinner in the officers' mess in the forward area on June 29, 1969, the song "Roop tera mastana" was on the radio and I being the youngest officer, was greeted by all officers on this tune. They were all discussing Rajesh Khanna, a real heartthrob and envy of all youngsters even in the army.

Then came 1971, and I was posted in the Red Fort in Delhi. We had just received orders to move to a forward location for an impending war with Pakistan. I remember going to Golcha Cinema Hall in Dariyaganj with some of my colleagues to watch the movie Anand. This movie gave us a new dimension of life. It taught us how to live each moment to the fullest and how death can be as exciting as life. It made us all the more fearless and instilled in us the courage to fight for the nation.

Life came full circle when I left the army to join the civil services and started facing the harsh realities of life where people were being ill-treated by their own kith and kin. It was during this time that I saw the movie Avtar, where Rajesh Khanna was at his best, motivating the older generation to live on their own terms and mocking the modern society for the shallowness of its relationships.

I was the commissioner of the Amritsar municipal corporation in 2005 and sitting in my office when I received a call that there was a blast in the city in which some people had died. I rushed to the spot in my car. When I asked my driver about the spot of the blast, he shot back: "Sir, it is near Rajesh Khanna's house." That's how popular he was!

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)

First Published: Jul 21, 2012 16:28 IST