Rajesh Khanna RIP

I am a fan. I loved his movies. And I hated watching them because they made me cry. In Jaipur, in the 1980s and early 90s, boys weren’t allowed to get “senti” about a movie — any movie. Find me a person who could sit through Anand without shedding a tear and I’ll show you a psychopath.

Amongst the sea of obituaries written over the past few days, two stand out. The first by a fan, the second by someone who is not a fan. Both are brilliantly written and worth a read.

You Are The Reason I Am An Actor by Tom Alter

That film was Aradhana and I cycled five times that week from Jagadhri to Yamunanagar to see the film once more with David, four times alone. I wanted to be able to angle my head like David and say “Koi Rajesh Khanna karke hai”. I wanted to sing ‘Mere Sapnon ki Rani’ at the top of my voice as the wind through the fields ruffled my hair. I wanted to crinkle my eyes at beautiful women. I wanted to serenade Sharmila with snowclad mountains in the background I wanted to be able to charm the world with a smile and a style and walk and a tilt of neck and just the right emphasis never too much, never not enough on each word I spoke.

Zindagi Aur Maut by Suparna Sharma

For 24 hours, I had stayed away from the Rajesh Khanna deluge. I had not watched a single TV clip, had not listened to his songs, had not watched the TV coverage of his funeral. Yet, now, I was in full mourning. Why? Rajesh Khanna was never my hero; I was never his fan. His acting was funny — all ada and terribly corny lines.

“I hate tears, Pushpa.” Really?

I was mourning someone else’s death. A death I’ve mourned for years. When I was a teenager, I used to have a VHS tape of Anand. I hadn’t bought it. I just didn’t return it to the video parlour bhaiyya. On most days I would steer clear of it, averting my eyes. Seeing it, touching it meant I’d have to put it on, watch the whole film, howl, and then return to life knowing that all Anands will die. They always do. It’s a lie what Dr Bhaskar Banerjee says in the end: “Anand mara nahi. Anand marte nahi.” I had mourned Anand Sehgal’s death at least 70 times.