The Romance king of Bollywood, who had a saddening end, once ruled the silver screen and millions of hearts around the world. He was the Charming Prince who ruled Bollywood and reached to the top with a ‘superstar’ tag in just six years span. He was a heartthrob from 1969 – 1975. The highest paid actor of Bollywood from 1970-79.Then, what led to his downfall?
Many believe that Rajesh Khanna was a victim of ‘The Bachchan wave’ of the 1970s. The rise of the the Angry Young Man killed Khanna’s super stardom. The biggest difference between the two mega stars of Bollywood i.e. Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan was ‘Rajesh Khanna wasn’t able to reinvent himself and return to audiences the way Amitabh Bachchan did.
After giving 15 consecutive solo superhits he did give about 20 super flops. This is the time when Angry Young Man of Bollywood was on rise and the first superstar was heading for a downfall. He became too choosy with the projects and made disastrous decisions.
Many film fraternity who know Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna said that “the rise of the Angry Young Man in the late Seventies did not sit well with Rajesh Khanna, the reigning star of the time, and that he treated the young Amitabh Bachchan quite unkindly on the sets of Bawarchi, where Mr Bachchan used to visit his future wife Jaya Bhaduri” (as noted by NDTV).
He could not cope-up with his success and super stardom. The withdrawal of attention and adulation, memories and regrets led to his downfall. Once, in an interview with Rauf Ahmed (editor of the film monthly Super), he said “I never thought it would end”. Because of his unsuccessful projects he became moody and arrogant not only in his professional life but in personal life too. When the superstar married, he was 31 and his wife Dimple was an upcoming teen-queen of just 16 years. Six month before the release of her debut film ‘Bobby’ she got married and retired.
Dimple left Bollywood to raise her two children and ‘career was always secondary to her. However, it is believed that Dimple Kapadia was forced by Rajesh Khanna to retire from the Film industry, which she quietly agreed to.
Rajesh Khanna was a man who could not accept things as they come. His inconsistent, dominant and arrogant behavior is reflected well in his personal relationships with Devyani Chaubal, Anju Mahendru, Dimple Kapadia and Tina Munim. Devyani Chaubal was an acid tongue journalist and columnist in ‘Star and Style’ film magazine. She was the first one who used the tag ‘Superstar’ for Rajesh Khanna. Devyani Chaubal is credited for starting the career of Rajesh Khanna. Soon their relationship came to a bitter end. Devyani, when asked about it replied “I no longer see him. He is too much a victim of his own image.”
On the other hand, Amitabh Bachchan, the reigning star of the time was on the rise. His performance in Anand won him his first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Role. He became the action hero of the industry. This is the time when audience was looking for a change. A change from romance oriented films to action oriented films. Rajesh Khanna, however could not re-invent himself witht this change.
The Best thing that Amitabh did and Rajesh Khanna did not is ‘CHANGE & RE-INVENT’. Rajesh Khanna’s arrogance and Amitabh Bachchan’s humble and soft nature played an important role in downfall and rise of their respective careers.
Rajesh Khanna was a victim of Stardom, as he was unable to handle both success and failure. On the other hand Amitabh Bachchan is the man of rock-solid will power who stood strong against every failure.