Bollywood’s original “Superstar”, Rajesh Khanna’s statue was unveiled in Bandra, Mumbai on Saturday in the presence his family – wife Dimple Kapadia, daughter Twinkle Khanna and son-in-law Akshay Kumar. In order to honor and pay tribute to the legendary actor, the statue will be placed in the “Walk of the Stars” along with statues of other icons like Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Yash Chopra at the Bandra Promenade, an initiative taken by the entertainment channel UTV Stars.
Khanna, who was often referred as Kaka, epitomized love through his characters in movies like Aradhna, Kati Patang, Aap Ki Kasam, Amar Prem amongst many others, breathed his last on July 18, 2012 due to prolonged illness.
The bronze statue of the actor depicts him holding a bunch of balloons, an iconic pose from his evergreen movie Anand. “Kakaji was an enigma. He lived and died on his own terms. His contribution to cinema was unparalleled. He was a superstar. His courage, bravery and fearlessness even in the time of death can’t be forgotten. He was Anand and he lived like Anand. Life with him was like a rollercoaster,” said an emotional Dimple, while addressing a press conference. “I feel honoured to have known him and for being the mother of his two children,” she added. Dimple even recited a line from Khanna’s last advertisement, in which he says, “Babu moshai, mere fans mujhse koi nahi cheen sakta” (nobody can take my fans away from me).
“He is in my heart and he will always live there. It is a sentimental moment for us but as a family we are happy with this initiative”, said Twinkle, the late actor’s daughter. Rajesh Khanna’s son-in-law and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar praised the statue and said, “It is a nice statue. It means freedom and happiness…the balloons signify that one should always be free in life.” Akshay also read out a note penned down by his son Aarav, who was very close to his grandfather. The note read: “I remember 10 days before my Nana passed away, he was in bed. He had forgotten everyone, but remembered me. I don’t know what happened to him and I still don’t know. I know that he was great and still stays next to me.”
Other guests present at the occasion included Asha Parekh, Mithun Chakraborty, Rakesh Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Jeetendra, Anju Mahendru, Zoya Akhtar, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Poonam Sinha, Hema Malini and Zeenat Aman.