Debonair star, memorable strike of acting, spiritual man and down-to-earth cum relatable demeanor gliding on-screen, superstar Vinod Khanna was all that in delivering stupendous performances that makes him ‘Amar’. It came as a rude shock and very saddening to hear that one of the most loved stars of the 70s and 80s, perhaps the only one that could match the Amitabh Bachchan mania and histrionics breathed his last today.
I was introduced to the Vinod Khanna’s movies while growing in the late 80s and remembering watching his Jurm and Dayavaan that made me relate to the actor. He was the quintessential hero, effortless in his delivery of stupendous performances during the heydays and a charm that many would envy. It was bliss watching him serenading his love lady with a sensitive touch. Who can forget the song, Jab koi Baat Bighar Jaaye tab Koi mushkil Pad Jaaye? He belongs to an era that saw many of his pairs fading away and sad to see that after we lost Om Puri Saab, another light eclipsed today. He was Vinod Khanna. I loved his pairing with Amitabh Bachchan, be it in Naseeb, Amar Akbar Anthony or Parvarish. The aura and charm that he displayed was unparalleled and probably hard to emulate by the six packs and biceps flouting new millennial stars. He would wade his way effortlessly on-screen and calm composure in delivering lines made me in awe of this amazing star that rules the hearts of our parents and us.
Vinod Sir was quite the ladies man and his unique sex appeal vis-a-vis them made it his USP. A man who choose to leave Hindi cinema at the peak of his career to embrace spirituality. He was a follower of spiritual guru, Osho. It speaks a lot of his ability to disconnect, something very few could have done. A legacy that stays forever, beautifully captured in the acting histrionics on the big screen. I was so amazed by his portrayal of the gangster in Dayavan, making it sexier than ever that the film stayed with me forever. A huge risk taker, he didn’t shy in kissing the diva Madhuri Dixit in the film which was shot in an aesthetic manner. In the late 80s, kissing on-screen was still taboo. He was known to have a big heart and according to publications, film crew would work in chappals in those days and he bought 100 pairs of shoes for a film crew in the 90s.
There was a certain vulnerability behind that dashing look, a softness that wooed and won hearts. His sensitive portrayal of the romantic roles in Qurbani and Chandni, angry young man cum cop portrayal in AAA, Satyamev Jayate and Jurm, the teacher in Imtihan, army officer in Achanak, don in Dayavan and villain in Purab aur Pachim or bond of friendship in Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Hera Pheri and Khoon Pasina all with Bachchan. Both shared some crackling chemistry and were direct competitors and at the same time good friends who recited their dialogues together. It’s such a lesson to the current crop of actors when today arch rivals slug it out publicly in an ugly manner.
The charisma and magnetism in his personality spoke to the audience directly and one of the rare actors who had complete control over his character, dialogues, scene and audience alike. The aura is what makes Vinod Sir relatable to the hilt and watching his movies gives the feeling that your dreams are realized on screen. I could be one of the characters made so much believable by him and which he immortalized on the silver screen.
I remember a very elder cousin who was a huge Vinod Khanna fan and me being a die-hard Bachchanalia telling me how during the AAA, audience were split in opposite camps and in the fighting sequence, seethis and taalis were thrown when both superstars wriggled it out with fists. The fists and jabs were counted and fans cheered on who won the battle. It’s the iconic scene in AAA, helmed by Manmohan Desai when Bachchan and Khanna met for the first time.
Vinod Khanna was always a composed and gentle soul who believed no job is too big or small, abandoning everything to follow his Master Osho. It’s one thing that I have in common with Vinod Sir: Osho. He is a man who made a comeback as an actor who lost every penny and started from scratch in the 90s. The magic of the silver screen is that it captures live the histrionics of an artist who ruled for decades in the heart of admirers and swearing by cinema. The legacy be it as an artist, spiritual man or politician-cum Minister from Gurdaspur lives forever in our heart.
Perhaps, this sensitive song from Imtihan which is one of my favorite sums up when words fail. Ruk Jana nahin tu kabhie har ke….O Rahi o Rahi! A huge void and loss to the entire industry to see this polished diamond taking a bow.
Forever alive and taking a bow Vinod Sir for decades of love and entertainment. You shall be missed forever.