Bollywood Buzz

Rajesh Khanna back for a commercial break

He was the original superstar of the Hindi cinema industry. In the 1970s, it was believed that whatever Khanna did would invariably transform into gold at least at the box office. But of late, the actor had been rather unwell.

The 70-year-old actor’s health had been a matter of concern in the recent past. While reports of Khanna getting admitted to the hospital had been making it to news dailies on and off, when he was spotted at a recent awards ceremony, the star looked like a shadow of his former self. But even then, the star still shines bright. Squashing all rumours of ill-health, the actor recently shot for a television commercial. That too with ad-filmmaker turned film director R Balki.

The commercial shot at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bangalore showcases the superstar and his frenzied fan following. Interestingly, the concept of the ad establishes the fact that ‘fans are forever’. And needless to say, Khanna was perhaps the most suited for it.

“I wrote the concept and we decided that the perfect person for the ad will be Mr Rajesh Khanna. We approached him. He recovered and then we shot it. It was a great moment,” explained Balki. In fact, to understand the superstar’s mannerisms, Balki, as a part of his homework revisited Khanna’s unforgettable films once again. “I watched Amar Prem, Kati Patang, Aradhana. I understood exactly why he was a superstar,” said the filmmaker.

Speaking about the experience, Balki revealed, “We wanted to get all the gestures right. We wanted to get the tilt of his head right. We wanted him to smile the way he used to in his famous films.” “We had lots of fun. He was extremely sporting. He has so much of cinema left in him. In fact in our first meeting he heard our concept and said that he liked it. He told us, ‘Life is nothing but a sense of humour.’ He is so young at heart. And of course extremely sharp.”

Incidentally, when Rajesh Khanna came for the shoot, he had just recovered from a fracture in his leg. “We thought his leg was broken and so did not want him to strain much. But he just got up and said that he will walk. ‘Nobody will walk with me,’ he joked. He would tease people and play around. He is an extremely simple man,” said Balki.

“I am perhaps the luckiest person in the industry. I have worked with Amitabh Bachchan and now Rajesh Khanna,” he added. When contacted, superstar Rajesh Khanna simply said, “To be approached after so many years is indeed a great honour. I am delighted to reconnect with my fans once again. Shooting after a long gap brought back fond memories. But I don’t feel too much has changed. It’s good to be back.”

And it’s good to have him back on screen too.


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