Mumbai: Rajesh Khanna entered Bollywood after winning a talent contest in 1965. He got his first break a year later in Chetan Anand's 'Akhri Khat', the rest as they say is history.
Rajesh Khanna's rise to Bollywood superstar reads like a movie script. As a struggler in Mumbai, Rajesh Khanna won the All India Talent Contest organised in association with Filmfare, beating over 10,000 contestants.
Though the actor got his first break soon after in Chetan Anand's 'Akhri Khat' in 1966, and followed it up with a few films including Asit Sen's 'Khamoshi', it wasn't until his double role in 'Aradhana' in 1969 opposite Sharmila Tagore that a star was born.
Rajesh Khanna's crinkling eyes and stylised acting made him an overnight star, especially amongst his female fans.
Rajesh Khanna is considered to be the original superstar for having 15 consecutive hits to his name, a record that remains unbroken. Through the early 70s films like 'Kati Patang', 'Safar', 'Ittefaq', 'Aan Milo Sajna' and 'Haathi Mere Saathi' consolidated his superstardom. During this phase Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Anand' remains one of the actor's most memorable performances.
Rajesh Khanna married actress Dimple Kapadia while he was still riding his success wave in 1973. The two separated a few years later.
Rajesh Khanna was also successfully paired with a string of leading ladies including Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz.
Though Rajesh Khanna's popularity declined with the rise of the angry young man, the star continued to deliver hits well into the 80s with films like 'Soutan', 'Dharam Kanta' and 'Maqsad'. He eventually moved on to do older and character roles and enjoyed box-office success with 'Avatar' and 'Swarg'.
In the 90s the actor took a break from films and joined politics, having won the 1992 by elections on a Congress ticket from Delhi.
Though Rajesh Khanna appeared in a B-grade film recently, it was a commercial directed by R Balki that brought him back to the limelight. The commercial recreates an era actually lived by Bollywood's first superstar who leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.