Farewell, superstar Rajesh Khanna
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He was often referred to as the 'lonely superstar'. But the presence of the huge crowd outside the Pawan Hans crematorium in Vile Parle for Rajesh Khanna's funeral on Thursday morning said otherwise. While the scheduled time for the cremation was 11 am, the crowd had gathered by 10 am, while many followed the funeral procession all the way from the actor's Carter Road bungalow, Aashirwad. Mediapersons and police personnel were also present in large numbers.
Khanna's body was brought in a truck decorated with flowers, accompanied by his family. Wife Dimple Kapadia maintained her composure as she sat next to daughter Rinke Khanna. While elder daughter Twinkle Khanna — who is pregnant with her second child — chose to stay away, her actor husband Akshay Kumar was seen comforting their son Aarav, who lit the funeral pyre. Kumar and Khanna's other son-in-law Sameer Saran ensured that the cremation was a private affair as they did not want the actor's last rites to be filmed.
Chaos reigned outside the crematorium as the police struggled to keep the swelling crowd in control. The entry of Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, particularly, sent the crowd into a tizzy.
Among the Bollywood personalities who turned up to pay last respects to their 'Kaka' were Manoj Kumar, Randhir and Rajiv Kapoor, filmmakers Sajid Khan and Sudhir Mishra, music director Anu Malik, singer Udit Narayan, actors Shekhar Suman, Rohit Roy, Aftab Shivadasani and Mukesh Rishi, and choreographer Saroj Khan. Also in attendance was Khanna's close aide Bala, who had worked with the superstar for many years.
Kabir Bedi put in an appearance too. "He (Khanna) is irreplaceable. My best wishes are with his family and may he rest in peace," he said.
Even though Khanna had not done any significant movie in the last one decade, his fan following did not seem to have waned. Shanti Gandhi, 53, a homemaker from Kandivali, had come to Parle to meet her sister but decided to wait outside the crematorium and catch a glimpse of her favourite actor even if it meant facing the wrath of the police. "I am a big fan of Rajesh Khanna and I have watched Amar Prem and Aradhana at least 10 times each," Gandhi said.
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