Clicked: Rajesh Khanna’s Final Journey
Anand marte nahi… the memorable dialogue of actor Amitabh Bachcan reminiscing Rajesh Khanna in director Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s exemplary movie Anand (1971) gets proved to be so true when you see hoards of fans standing drenched in the rain in front of his house and cremation ground to get a chance glimpse of the late actor.
Before Khanna started his last ‘Safar’ from his residence Ashirwad to the Pawan Hans crematory ground at the suburbs of Mumbai, veteran actor Manoj Kumar and filmmaker Karan Johar visited Ashirwad and paid their respect to the erstwhile superstar who reigned the industry in the 70s. Tireless crowd had gathered outside the house—not surprising if some were waiting there overnight, lest they miss the chance to catch a last glimpse of Rajesh Khanna.
The body was carried in a truck decorated with flowers and garlands with a big black & white picture mounted in front of the make-shift bed where his body was laid. To make the last journey of the late superstar a smooth ride through the city at the peak hour, the whole SV Road was blocked and the traffic was diverted. Khanna’s actor wife Dimple and younger daughter Rinky, his son-in-law actor Akshay Kumar and grandson Arav was on the truck.
By the time the body reached Pawan Hans, the piling crowd had started blocking the traffic. Three vans of Police personnel came down on roads to control the crowd. It was becoming difficult for them to control them; at times they were breaking in to enter the crematory ground. The iron railings on the divider of the road couldn’t take the pressure of the crowd and part of it got uprooted. The intermittent heavy showers could hardly dampen the excitement of the crowd.
Later, members from the fraternity started coming to bid their last adieu to their beloved actor. Director Sajid Khan, Vipul Shah and Abbas-Mustan, Randhir Kapoor, Rajeev Kapoor, came almost at the same time. After a while came actor Shakti Kapoor and director Sudhir Misra. Apart from them, many television actors were also present at the cremation ground.
The situation worsened when Amitabh Bachchan along with Abhishek was spotted walking in to the cremation ground. Police and his personal bodyguards guarded them, but the crowd went berserk. Bachchans almost got roughed up by the crowd as they tried getting close to the actors and touch them. Police had to be rough on the crowd, push them backwards. “Hey it’s real Bachchan,” a surprised exclamation was heard from the crowd. Actor Vinod Khanna also came to the crematory ground.
The chautha (fourth day prayer ceremony) will be performed on Saturday, says actor Dharmesh Tiwari.