There have been stars and there have been stars. However, Rajesh Khanna, or kaka as he is affectionately known, remains one of the phenomenal superstars of Bollywood. Often referred to as the 'first superstar' of Bollywood, Rajesh Khanna appeared in 163 films of which 105 had him as the solo lead hero and 21 were two-hero projects.
Born in Amritsar, Khanna was raised by foster parents who moved to Mumbai when Rajesh was a young boy. A young Rajesh gradually started taking interest in theatre and did a lot of plays in his school and college days and won many prizes in the inter college drama competitions. Rajesh Khanna was one of eight finalists in the 1965 All India Talent Contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare from more than ten thousand contestants. Khanna made his debut with Aakhri Khat, directed by Chetan Anand.
There was no looking back for Khanna and he went on to carve a niche for himself as a romantic hero in that era. Khanna also enjoyed a major fan following and it is said that female fans would write him letters in blood and marry his portraits.
Khanna was one of the few actors who experimented a lot with film genres and acted in films dealing with topics ranging from romance to suspense to drama. As he aged, the superstars started playing character actors, often essaying the role of a family patriarch.
Throughout his career, Khanna won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor thrice and was nominated for the same title around 14 times! He was awarded the 'Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award' in 2005.
On the occasion of his birthday, here's wishing the talented 'kaka' a very happy birthday and a healthy and long life.