sulabh swatchh bharat

Wednesday, 14-November-2018


The tall, muscularly built handsome hunk who played all kinds of roles, from a dacoit to stern police officers, will never pass into oblivion

He came into prominence playing an angry young man in a 1970s classic, and one of his last major appearances was as an angry implacable father in a 2010 blockbuster. But whatever role Vinod Khanna played   good, bad, or even supporting – he would inevitably make his presence felt. Can you think of any other Bollywood hero who won applause for beating up Amitabh Bachchan on screen?
He entered Bollywood as a villain, but with his imposing height and physique, crowned with a sculpted but expressive face and discernible intensity, he was not fated to remain one for long. Given a break by Sunil Dutt in “Man ka Meet” (1968), Khanna showed his métier in 1970, playing a dedicated police officer in both “Mastana” and “Sachaa Jhuthaa”. 
The year 1971 was a watershed: He appeared in a dozen films, including the highly acclaimed “Mere Apne” where, as Shyamu, he stood his ground against a bombastic Shatrughan Sinha, while displaying the vulnerability of the ‘angry young man’ in that pensive song, “Koi hota jisko apna...” He went on to play another police inspector in the Shammi Kapoor-starrer “Jaane-Anjane”, and then a vicious dacoit Jabbar Singh in “Mera Gaon, Mera Desh” facing Dharmendra. 
That year also saw him in his first role as hero in “Hum Tum aur Woh”, while his role as Shyamu figured as footage in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Guddi”, about a young girl’s infatuation with the film industry.
The next role that bought him to prominence was as a military officer on the run after killing his wife’s paramour in “Achanak” (1973), one of the Bollywood adaptations of the infamous Nanavati case of a naval officer who murdered for infidelity.

Turn Around
There was no looking back. Usually cast as a police officer or a criminal, he proved he could display a softer side too as he did in “Imtihaan” (1974), playing an idealistic college professor trying to reform a group of unruly students. The song “RukJaana Nahi” is again memorable.
Appearing in some of the most famous Hindi films, Khanna always left his mark, whether by himself or against established or upcoming stars like   Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Feroz Khan   down to Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. 
Even in songs not picturised on him, he stands out   take “Haal kya hai dilonka” in “Anokhi Ada” (1973), or “Dil to Hai Dil” in “Muqaddar ka Sikandar” (1978). 
In the first part of his career, he went on to essay some particularly memorable roles as the stern, dutiful police inspector Amar in “Amar Akbar Anthony” (1977)   where he thrashed up an irreverent Anthony, played by Amitabh but unbent towards the end to appear as a cheery, one-man band in the climatic “Honi ko anhoni kar de”, as con-artist Ajay in “Hera Pheri” (1976), again opposite Amitabh, another Amar, but on the other side of the law; in “Qurbani” (1980) where he eventually lives up to the film’s name; as a workaholic railway engineer in “The Burning Train” (1980) and an understanding doctor in reincarnation love story “Kudrat” (1981), where he did not let Raaj Kumar and Rajesh Khanna eclipse him.

Spiritual Trip
Khanna, who had become a disciple of godman Rajneesh in the mid-1970s, then took a five year break, notwithstanding he was at the peak of his career. He moved to the godman’s ashram in the US where he reportedly was also a dish-washer and gardener.
He returned to Bollywood in 1987, where his career took off again. Mostly seen in action films, usually in his trademark police inspector role, he paired well with Meenakshi Seshadri in “Satyamev Jayate” and Dimple Kapadia in “Insaaf” (both 1987).
But what signalled his comeback in full vigour was Feroz Khan-helmed “Dayavan” (1988), where he played a crime don and shared a sparkling chemistry with Madhuri Dixit (sharing a long kiss and the sensuous “Aaj Phir Tum Pe”). He did well with Madhuri in “Maha-Sangram” (1990) also a film noted for Gulshan Grover in a positive role. His other notable performances included those in “Chandni” (1989), “Lekin” (1990) and “Jurm” (1990).
Khanna, who had only won one Filmfare Award (for best supporting actor), despite being nominated twice as best actor and once more as best supporting actor), was conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. After this, along with his flourishing political career, which saw him rise to Minister of State for External Affairs in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, his output slackened. But he never abandoned the film industry, holding his own against Salman in the “Dabangg” series.
His last film was “Dilwaale”, starring Shah Rukh and Kajol, in 2015.