With moist eyes and prayers on their lips, family and fans today bid a tearful goodbye to Rajesh Khanna at a crematorium here with hundreds of admirers lining the streets to catch the last glimpse of India's first superstar.
The 69-year-old Bollywood actor was laid to rest amidst large number of cinegoers and friends from the film fraternity, who united in grief at the demise of the man who created mass hysteria during his heydays.
The last rites were performed by Khanna's grandson Aarav, with father Akshay by his side. As admirers paid glowing tributes to Khanna, who was fondly called 'Kaka', there was chaos outside the Pawan Hans crematorium with hundreds of people converging there.
Many Bollywood personalities including Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek, Manoj Kumar, Rani Mukherjee and Karan Johar turned up at the crematorium to pay their last respects. The Hindi film icon passed away at his residence 'Aashirwad' yesterday. Although the cause of his death was not
officially announced by the family, those close to the actor hinted at liver infection.
Earlier, the funeral procession of Khanna began from his bungalow, 'Aashirwad' on Carter Road at around 10 AM with fans queuing up outside his home. The body was taken to the crematorium in Juhu in an open truck, bedecked with white flowers.
The body of Khanna, resting in a glass coffin, was accompanied by son-in-law and actor Akshay Kumar, estranged wife Dimple Kapadia and his younger daughter Rinkie Khanna. The vehicle had huge black and white photographs of the actor on both its sides.
The crowd outside the crematorium was a reflection of Khanna's iconic status and cops were seen having a troubled time controlling fans, who had gathered in huge numbers on the road and the skywalk at Santa Cruz to bid adieu to the 'King of Romance'.
Khanna became the only actor to deliver 15 consecutive solo super hits in his illustrious career with movies 'Aradhana', 'Haathi Mere Saathi', 'Anand' and 'Amar Prem' between 1969 and 1972.
He carved a niche for himself in Bollywood dominated in those days by the troika of Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor and the likes of Shammi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar through his persona of a romantic hero.
He married Dimple Kapadia in 1973 and spilt with her in1984 but the couple never divorced. He is survived by two daughters - Twinkle and Rinke. His elder daughter married Akshay Kumar and Rinki is married to investment banker Samir Saran.
The once Bollywood heartthrob will always be remembered for his style, charm and disarming smile. Born as Jatin Khanna, the legend will live on in the hearts of millions of this fans through eternal love songs like 'Aacha Toh Hum Chalte Hai', 'Zindagi Ka Safar' and 'Mere Sapno Ki Rani' among others. PTI