Rajesh Khanna: Farewell, Kaka
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He has often been referred to as the 'lonely superstar.' But on Thursday morning, the presence of the huge crowd that had gathered for Rajesh Khanna's funeral outside the Pawan Hans crematorium in Vile Parle indicated otherwise. While the scheduled time for the cremation was 11am, a crowd of onlookers had already gathered by 10 am. Mediapersons and police personnel aside, fans and local residents made up the crowd, some of whom had even followed the procession all the way from Khanna's Carter Road bungalow Aashirwad to the Parle crematorium.
By 10.30 am, the late actor's body was wheeled in on a decked-up truck, accompanied by the actor's family. Wife Dimple Kapadia maintained her composure throughout as she sat next to daughter Rinke Khanna, but elder daughter Twinkle Khanna — who is pregnant with her second child — chose to stay away. Twinkle's husband, actor Akshay Kumar, was seen comforting his son Aarav, who even lit the funeral pyre. Kumar and Khanna's other son-in-law Sameer Saran also ensured that the cremation was a private affair as they didn't want the actor's last rites to be filmed.
But outside the crematorium, chaos reigned as the police struggled to keep the surging crowds in control. The entry of Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, in particular, sent the crowd into a tizzy.
Among the Bollywood personalities who turned up to pay their last respects 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, Mukesh Rishi and choreographer Saroj Khan. Also in attendance was Khanna's close aide Bala, who has worked with the superstar for many years. Kabir Bedi said the late actor had contributed to Indian cinema in a big way. "He is irreplaceable. My best wishes are with his family and may he rest in peace," he said.
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