Jatin Khanna, popularly known as Rajesh Khanna, is one of the most popular actors in Hindi cinema. Between 1969 and 1971, he delivered 15 successive blockbusters which led him to become the First Superstar of Indian Cinema. His frequent co-star Sharmila Tagore once revealed his attitude that led her to work with other actors.
Sharmila and Rajesh were one of the most popular on-screen couples in Hindi cinema. The two frequently appeared in films like Aradhana (1969), Safar (1970), Amar Prem (1972), Aavishkar (1974), and Daag: A Poem of Love (1973), Tyaag (1977), and Raja Rani (1973).
An audiobook titled ‘Rajesh Khanna: Ek Tanha Sitara’ was released on the tenth anniversary of his death on Audible. As reported by Hindustan Times, Sharmila Tagore was heard saying, “One thing that affected me the most about Kaka (Rajesh Khanna) was him coming very late for the shoots. For a 9 am shift, Kaka never reached before 12 pm. That’s why I decided to work with other actors even after knowing that our on-screen pairing was quite successful and loved by audiences.”
The National award-winning actress also revealed how the superstar was a ‘man full of contradictions and complexities’. The veteran actress said Rajesh Khanna would often shower his co-stars, colleagues, and friends with expensive gifts.
“Rajesh Khanna antarvirodho aur jatiltaon se bhare vyakti the, maine unhe apne mitron aur seh-karmiyon ke sath behat udhaar hote dekha hai…un par keemti uphar barsaate hue bhi dekha hai. Kabhi kabhi to wo unke liye ek ghar bhi kharid dete the, lekin badle mai vo kuch zyada hi umeed rakhte the jisse sambandhon mai tanav aa jata tha (Rajesh Khanna was a man full of contradictions and complexities, I have seen him be very generous with his co-actors, colleagues, and friends…showering them with expensive gifts. Sometimes he even bought them a house but in return, it seems Kaka had great expectations of them, which eventually strained his relations,” she said.
However, in 2011 Rajesh Khanna was diagnosed with a rare form of intestinal cancer. He succumbed to it the following year on 18 July. He was posthumously awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour in 2013.