Rajesh Khanna who acted in more than 200 movies throughout his lifetime n gave back to back 15 super duper hit films from golden to diamond jubilies from 1969 to 71, was not only the first ever super star par excellence n phenomena of Indian film industry but was also a highly experienced film analyst, sharp observer of things n possessed a unique n outstanding power to accurately calculate and assess things.
When Rajesh Khanna lost his first election to BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani n the latter opted for Gandhi Nagar Gujarat seat Kaka again got the Congress ticket to contest from New Delhi parliamentary constituency against bollywood’s renowned actor Shatrughan Sinha.
I fondly remember , Kaka had revisited Delhi from Mumbai, after few months, though he already had his temperory residence in Vasant Kunj, given to him by his close friend Naresh Juneja. But instead of going to Vasant Kunj, Kaka came to Hotel Hyatt regency straightaway from airport situated in South Delhi. Actually, a suite was arranged for him in this hotel by one of his close accquaintance. It was probably the month of August 1991 and Kaka had to re- equip and gear up again to fight against BJP’s Shatru.
When I came to know of Kaka’s likely stay in hotel Hyatt, Regency I thought to meet him as I was keen to hand Kaka a copy of famous Weekly Blitz (tabloid then) published from Mumbai in which Kaka’s detailed interview n story was published about his future political plans after losing to Advani. It carried my byline.
When I went to meet Kaka , he was all alone sitting too relaxed in the hotel lobby. On seeing me he was too pleased n surprised as well. Kaka shook hands n I confabulated with him for few minutes till one of his colleagues came to accompany him to the Hyatt suite. He was Vipin Oberoi. I also accompanied with them.
I presented his interview copy published in Blitz Weekly n Kaka was too happy to see it thanking me instantly after keenly going through it as well. Blitz was once a very popular weekly of Mumbai and was edited by R. K. Karanjia, a towering journalist n its chief editor. During emergency n Janta Party era Blitz was extremely famous for revealing outstanding scoops and explosive political stories putting the ruling party n the then PM Indira Gandhi in a dock especially during emergency days. Me and Kaka were too conscious for media publicity those days with the sole aim to ensure Kaka’s good media coverage. After some interaction in the lobby of Hayat Regency n Kaka acknowledging the good wishes of his umpteen fans, we finally moved to his suite. It was around 8.00 pm by then.
While we were busy in mutual interaction, Kaka ‘s time of booze consumption started. The waiter was asked to make necessary arrangements. We therfore got busy in the drinking session . While interacting with Kaka we were also watching the television. In the meanwhile Vipin Oberoi, his trusted leutinent brought packed non veg delicacies Kaka was fond of viz. chicken seek kabab, rumali roti n other items of Kaka’s choice. During those days a television serial “Fauzi” was being telecast every evening .
I fondly remember while watching Fauzi serial on TV Kaka took great interest in this serial. I anxiously asked Rajesh Khanna as to what’s special in this serial that you are watching it so keenly.
While having dinner alongwith me n Vipin Oberoi Kaka very interestingly told me that day , Negi I don’ know whether you believe me or not , (these are the words of Rajesh Khanna, you’ll remember it after years. ) I asked, sir what’s that ? He said, this chap i. e. Shahrukh Khan will one day n in a near future be the most sought after hero like a super star of the industry . He will dominate the Indian film industry as a most sought after star. And the day is not far. And he emphasised this point repeatedly. He also said that producers n directors will form a beeline to sign him against huge amount.
One will believe me or not, but on hearing this from Kaka’s mouth, I wasn’t impressed as I didn’t liked this actor at all at that time and I myself had no inkling of this fact that he will be a super star or shining star of the industry. Anyways , after taking dinner n booze I left for my house as I was staying nearby in Rama Krishna Puram, New Delhi though Kaka insisted me to stay with him. However, I never wanted to disturb his privacy.
But today when I remember his words about Shah Rukh Khan’s forecast by Kaka coming one hundred percent true, I come to the conclusion that not only was he very correct about his prediction but his observations were too farsighted too.
Similarly Rajesh Khanna, number of times insisted leading producer Surendra Kapoor who gave Kaka chance as hero in number of films to launch his son Anil
Kapoor as a hero in Bollywood when he was in his twenties. Rajesh always told him that Anil Kapoor posseses tremendous inborn talent n will make a big film hero out of him one day who will earn name n fame. But surprisingly initially Surendra kapoor never took Kaka seriously but when Anil Kapoor signed films he literally dominated the Indian film industry n till today is a shining star of Bollywood even in his sixties. Such was Kaka’s farsighted observation (s) which always proved hundred percent acurate n authentic.
Kaka narreted this incident to me once in New Delhi during a sitting. Today, Shahrukh Khan n Anil kapoor are both on the top and carrying behind a massive fan following globally even after the legendary super star’s sad demise in July 2012.
While Kaka had predicted accurately about Shahrukh Khan becoming a most sought after star in nineties the latter too was Kaka’s die hard fan having tremendous adoration for him whom he considered not as a first super star but an institution in himself.
After Kaka’s sad demise recalling the first ever super star, Shahrukh once tweeted : Mom n I used to sit and watch Rajesh Khann’s films back to back. When ever life felt tough you made us feel how love could change it all. We miss you. To live with intention and walk to an edge. Play with abandon, choose with no regret. Smiled and made us do the same. Sir, you defined our Era. RIP