Rajesh Khanna, the first n original superstar was indeed unparalleled who genuinely vindicated word SUPER STARDOM used for him by giving 15 super duper hits in a row from 1969 to 1971 making his millions of fans literary crazy especially the college going girls kissing his white Impala n finally turning it into pink colour never ever heard in Bollywod history. Being Kaka’s media advisor for a decade or so while he contested from New Delhi parliamenary constituency n thereafter as an elected MP defeating his BJP rival, a bollywood star Shatrughan Sinha. I very often accompanied him in social functions n gatherings. Today those memories are my best assets.
The above picture is of the nineties ( me in beard) with Rajesh Khanna at an annual function of Moti Lal Nehru College , South Campus, Delhi University. I had been the president of this college students’ union in 1980- 81 n central councillor as well. Later on I also contested the Delhi University Student Union’s election for the post of president under the banner of Indian Students Congress n also as Municipal Councillor in 1983 n 1984 as the joint candidate of United Progressive Front, a conglomerate of Democratic Socialist Party, Congress for Democracy, Sanjay Vichar Manch, CPI n CPM. Alongside on the Moti Lal Nehru College dias is a senior n noted criminal lawyer n the then socio political activist Ramesh Gupta .
Next to him is me n on Kaka’s extreme right is ex MP n principal of the college Dr. Ratnakar Pandey. Kaka was the chief guest in the annual function invited by the then principal of this college and learned hindi protagonist Ratnakar Pandey who was also the former MP Rajya Sabha from Congress party.
Kaka’s presence as chief guest was a thrilling experience for the students who heard their superstar’s address with apt attention and cheered him umpteen times in between. The college students were thrilled who sought his autograph as well.
It was quite a coincidence that while HN Bahuguna, former Finance minister in Charan Singhji’s govt ( with whom I was associated during 80’s in close proximity was the chief guest in the annual function in 1980- 81 at this same college ( old building) in Moti Bagh South when I was the students union president and similarly during the nineties when I was with Kaka, it was him ( Kaka) who inaugurated the annual function of the same new building in South Campus as chief guest.
And above all, both also lived in 81 Lodhi estate, New Delhi while Bahuguna during eighties n Kaka during nineties. It was from this very bungalow that veteran leader Bahuguna spoke to Rajesh Khanna on phone convincing him to support him from Allahabad parliamentary constituency against Amitabh Bachchan. I was witness to this conversation between Bahuguna and Rajesh Khanna at 81 Lodhi Estate in eighties . Then Kaka had not joined active politics.
There are number of other memories still fresh in my mind when Kaka was rubbing the streets of New Delhi Parliamentary constitiency on foot while contesting. He was then just a commoner like any common man, easily accesible to everyone n to be seen conveniently. The one time Super Star of Bollywood could be seen waving at his electorates standing at the balconies of their houses or on roof tops. His every padyatra or Jeep Yatra enticed hundreds of his fans n followers rushing towards him to have his glance or if possible shake hands with their one time glamorous super star.
The women, girls n the youths thronged in in large numbers in his every padyatra n public meetings. New Delhi parliamentary constituency , therefore in 1991 n thereafter, when he contested for the second time against BJP’s star candidate Shatrughan Sinha had become a star constituency with two bollywood stars fighting against each other trading charges n counter charges.
However, Rajesh Khanna won from here defeating Shatru but the election will remain fresh in everybody’s mind, I believe. The media print n electronic, particularly the foreign electronic media always trailed KAKA who remained in the media on daily basis on the front n third pages of national dailies. The role of the star wives viz Poonam Sinha n Dimple Kapadia Khanna in extensive campaining for their respective star husbands is also worth mentioning.
Kaka’s wife Dimple n actress daughter Twinkle Khanna were also the star attractions during this historic election. Few people know that Rajesh Khanna n Dimple who were probably in strained relationship those days n this resulted in Dimple missing in the first election of Kaka when he was contesting against Advani.
But when Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam Sinha former beauty queen was actively helping her husband by campaining extensively n organisung women of New Delhi, a need was felt to rope in Dimple Kapadia Khanna n her family to ensure Kaka’s victory as a negative message was spreading rapidly about Khanna’s disunited family n that if a super star can’t manage his family then how will he look after his constituency etc ? Rajesh Khanna’s then leader n incharge of the election – R K Dhawan then requested Dimple Kapadia n Twinkle to join her husband’s election campaign.
Interesting story indeed. It may be recalled that Kaka lost the first election in 1991 to BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani by merely 1500 votes but since the latter opted for his victorious Gandhi Nagar seat, Kaka contested for the second time against BJP’s Shatrughan Sinha n won by a handsome margin.
Kaka had an outstandingly charming personality, fair n reddish face n palms as delicate as a flower but was strong as well as a perfect healthy man. He was too laborious n never gave up during his Padyatras n door to door campaigning under the scorching sun.
I remember how he started his Padyatra on the main roads of Cannaught Place n thereafter Minto road under the scorching heat at eleven o clock alongwith his supporters n high profile Congress leaders without any ifs n buts n continued till one o clock n thereafter during the evening hours in other localities of New Delhi as well.
A super star leading a high profile lavish life style in air conditioned rooms was then a common man with boils under his feet. Kaka never discussed films or film related talks while in politics n used to rather avoid them.
He was thereafter more a politician than an outstanding actor believing in political matters n problems of his constituency. Very few people know that it was Kaka who compelled the then finance minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh during PV Narsimha Rao’s tenure to enhance the income tax exemption limit to one lakh Rupees annually and this immensely helped Kaka regaining the affection n confidence amongst the government employees who comprised of 60% vote share in New Delhi considered to be elite n high profile constituency.