By Dr. Sudhir Bhushan ~ Doctor of Humour (& in this case, ‘Romance’ too!)
The catch phrase “Upar Aaka, neeche Kaka” (God above, Khanna below) was coined to give words to meteoric rise of iconic superstar of Hindi cinema, Rajesh Khanna in early seventies after he gave his fans 15 straight hits in a row (Kaka being his pet name to all the lovers of this god of Bollywood). On July 18, 2012 Kaka, a.k.a ‘Anand’ (after his mesmerizing lead role in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ground breaking film by the same name), transitioned abode from Earth to join his Aaka in Param-dhaam to truly transform it into Anand-dhaam!
His zindagi ka safar having thus culminated at age 69 , this ‘Baawarchi’ of many a gourmet cine-delights , who after having induced intense hysterical ‘Aaradhana’ from his die hard fans with his stylish ‘Andaaz’ that was no ‘Ittefaq’ (but indeedd second nature) to this pujaari of ‘Amar Prem’, departed with famous last words in his ‘Aakhri Khat’: “time up ho gaya….pack up!!!” as tweeted by Amitabh Bachchan (his heir apparent after ‘Namak Haram’), following his death. Sort of a real life encore to his reel life’s immortal enunciation from Anand: “Babu moshai, zindagi aur maut uparwaale ke haath hain, jahanpanah. Use na toh aap badal sakte hain, na main. Hum sab toh rangmanch ki katputliyaan hain…” (“Life and death are in the hands of the Almighty, Babu moshai. Neither you can change that, nor I. We are all merely puppets on a stage…”)!
He leaves behind a legacy of unforgettable screen experiences of the ultimate romantic hero he was during his heyday, indeed romancing life itself with ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhaana’, as also his numerous leading ladies – wooing them with the likes of ‘Mere sapno ki raani’, ‘Roop tera mastaana’, ‘Yeh jo Mohabbat hai’ & ‘O mere dil ke chaain’ among others! As a film critic remembers “Girls married themselves to photographs of Rajesh Khanna, cutting their fingers and applying the blood as sindoor. Rajesh was God; there has never been such hysteria, since or before!”
The ‘Shehzada’ of ‘Amar Prem’ from ‘Prem Nagar’ in ‘Apna Desh’ was a ‘Mere Jeevan Saathi’ to many a screen ‘Mehbooba’ who swore by his ‘Aap Ki Kasam’ & would have considered their life a ‘Kati Patang’ or a ‘Daag’ in the scenario of ‘Agar Tum Na Hote’. This ‘Bundle Baaz’ was a ‘Chaila Babu’ too, who as a ‘Janta Hawaldaar’ & ‘Aaj Ka MLA Ram Avtar’ chose to give voice to ‘Roti’ ko tarasti janta’s demand with a “Yeh jo public hai wo sab jaanti hai”. But above all he was an ‘Avtaar’ of an all round entertainer who came to enthrall us at our ‘Anurodh’ to show us ‘Baharon Ke Sapne’, even if sometimes tinged with ‘Thodi Si Bewafai’ for a ‘Souten’, but always ready for an ‘Insaaf Mein Karoonga’ with the ‘Nazrana’ of an ‘Anokha Rishta’ for a ‘Dil-e-Naadan’ asking ‘Aakhir Kyoon?’!
Adios beloved Rajesh, the jumbo of a fun-friend or the metaphorical ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ of Hindi Cinema! All your ‘Mehboob Ki Mehendi’ ko machalti fan following will respectfully bow to your ‘Achcha to hum chalte hain!’ last wish, but not without the reminder that our love affair together has fruitioned only to the extent of ‘Fifty Fifty’ while you were among us. The remainder of our ‘Pyaar ka vaada Fifty Fifty‘ will continuue throughout our lives as the sweet memories you leave behind. None of us has the scarcest doubt “ki Aap jahan bhi honge wahi ‘Anand Dham’ hoga!”.