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‘Rajesh Khanna was original superstar for us’: Priya Dutt

New Delhi, July 18 (ANI): Expressing disappointment on hearing of Bollywood star Rajesh Khanna’s demise, Congress MP Priya Dutt on Wednesday said he has been a legend and was the original superstar of the Indian film fraternity.

“I am very sorry to hear about it. We were following his progress, as far as his health was concerned. It is very very unfortunate. I can just say that Rajesh Khanna has been a legend. He was the original superstar for us,” she said.

Priya Dutt, who is the daughter of late actor-politician Sunil Dutt, further said she used to watch Rajesh Khanna’s films in her growing days.

“When we were growing up, we used to watch his films. We were his great fans and I think the word superstar began with him. And he will always live as a superstar,” she said.

The first superstar of Bollywood, Rajesh Khanna, passed away after a prolonged illness earlier today. He was 69.

The actor, who enjoyed unprecedented adulation from his fans across the country, was rushed to Lilavati Hospital twice in the past one month due to exhaustion and weakness.

Khanna’s health started deteriorating since April this year when he stopped taking food and complained of exhaustion and weakness.

Khanna, who married actress Dimple Kapadia in 1973, has two daughters Twinkle and Rinki. Twinkle, an interior decorator and a former film actress, is married to actor Akshay Kumar, who has returned from his shoots abroad.

Khanna was born in Amritsar on December 29, 1942. Khanna lived in Thakurdwar near Girgaon in Mumbai.

Rajesh Khanna was one of eight finalists in the 1965 All India Talent Contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare from more than ten thousand contestants. Subsequently, Khanna won the contest.

He made his film debut in the 1966 film Aakhri Khat directed by Chetan Anand, followed by Raaz directed by Ravindra Dave both of which were a part of his predetermined prize for winning the All-India United Producers’ Talent Competition.

He rose to prominence with his performances in films like Raaz, Baharon Ke Sapne, Ittefaq and Aradhana.

Khanna appeared in 163 feature films of which 128 as the lead protagonist including 106 as the solo lead hero films and 22 two-hero projects and did 17 short films. He won three Filmfare Best Actor Awards and was nominated for the same fourteen times. He received the maximum BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) – four times and nominated 25 times.

Khanna, the ‘First Superstar’ of Hindi cinema, was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. (ANI)