New Delhi: True to the image he built over decades on the celluloid, veteran actor Rajesh Khanna's last words were apparently "time up ho gaya - pack up!", his colleague and Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan said.
"As I sat at his home this (yesterday) afternoon, to pay my respects, soon after learning of his passing away, a close functionary of his, came up to me and told me in a choked voice what his last words were - 'time ho gaya hai! pack up!' (time's up, pack up), Bachchan, 69, posted on his blog.
"Just the mere mention of his name 'Rajesh Khanna' sent myriad images of fanfare, awe, and reverential mention. His generation and the generations that follow, shall never be able to describe, or understand his phenomena. The word 'superstar' was invented for him, and for me it shall ever remain his, and no others," Bachchan said.
Bachchan, who worked with the legendary actor in his initial years of his career and starred in films like 'Anand' and 'Namak Haram', said the opportunity to share screen space with the legend was like a god's own blessing to him.
"I first saw him in a film magazine... His film 'Aradhana' was my next meeting with him which my Mother took me along to see. Soon after that, I was being cast opposite him in 'Anand'. This was like a miracle, God's own blessing and one that gave me 'reverse respect'. The moment that anyone came to know that I was working with THE Rajesh Khanna, my importance grew. And I gloated in its wake...
"He was simple and quiet. He would attract many visitors on set and was continuously surrounded by them - Hrishi da permitting! The frenzy and the following he garnered was a sight to behold. In the 1970 era his fans came from Spain to meet him, a most unheard of occurrence then. In his trade mark Rajesh Khanna kurta pyjama, he almost always looked the boy next door, one that girls would want to take home to Mother," Bachchan said.
Bachchan recalled that he visited his residence 'Aashirwad' just once when they were working together to wish him on his birthday, only to realise that he had reached a day earlier.
"My last meeting with him was when IIFA decorated him with a LifeTime Achievement Award and asked me to present it. His gracious words for me still resound...," Bachchan remembers.