1959 to 1961: Wadia College recalls Rajesh Khanna’s BA years
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"Dear Wadians Namaskar. I feel proud to be a Wadian and I am happy to learn the college is celebrating the Platinum Jubilee. My sincere regrets that I am not able to be part of the grand alumni meet due to unavoidable reasons. I would have sincerely loved to be part of it. My best wishes to all Wadians for the celebrations." The letter addressed to Nowrosjee Wadia College in Pune was from the first superstar of Indian cinema Rajesh Khanna in May 2008. Khanna was a BA student at Wadia College from 1959 to 1961, a few years before he made his debut in Hindi movies.
He did not attend the event on May 31, 2008, but promised to attend the World Wadians Meet in future.
"The name in our records is Jatinder Chunnilal Khanna, his original name and he took admission in 1959," said S L Bonde, vice-principal, co-ordinator (P G courses) Wadia College.
"I had met him to invite him to the function but he was very unwell and said he won't be able to make it. In the 20-25 minutes I spent with him, he enquired about the activities at the college and and other developments," recalls professor P K Patel.
Prof Patel added that he had learnt from late professor Suresh Chandra Nadkarni, who used to teach Khanna during his BA years that though shy, Khanna was actively involved in the dramatics society at the college and took part in plays. Patel added, "Unfortunately, we do not have any of those photos. Who knew he would be such a phenomenon in future?"
Another interesting fact he got to know from Nadkarni was that during his days at Wadia, Khanna used to hang out a lot with another Wadian Roopesh Kumar, who later played negative roles in films like Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Rampur Ka Lakshman.
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