Rajesh Khanna to be cremated today

Bollywood’s first original superstar Rajesh Khanna dies on Wednesday due to prolonged illness. He was 70. The entire nation mourns as the superstar left the world. Fans, colleagues and close ones are paying the last tribute to the superstar at his ‘Aashirwad’ bungalow where the body of the matinee idol was lying in silent.

Though Rajesh Khanna left us, he will always remain immortal in the heart of his fans though his films. When he breathed his last, his estranged wife Dimple Kapadia, Twinkle and Rinki, son-in-law Akshay Kumar and grandchildren were by his side. His last rites will be performed at 11am in Mumbai and the funeral procession will start from his residence - Aashirwad.

The demise of the star brought some fond memories of the actor. His friends recall his charm. "He has gone to a nice and havenly place, we are happy about that," Rajesh's son-in-law Akshay Kumar, married to his elder daughter Twinkle, said after his death around 10 am.  

Actress Shabana Azmi said, "There was something for everybody in Rajesh Khanna. He was every inch the star and he totally and completely enjoyed it. He played it to the hilt when he wanted and wore it lightly when he wanted. But none of his arrogance ever touched his relationship with his fans, with whom he had immediate, one to one contact.

Dimple says that on the July 14 he said, 'It's time to pack up'. So he lived it and realized that it was time to go."

"I think what Shabana said was bang on. He was somebody who you could identify with. He wasn't someone who was larger than life. He looked like one of us and yet there was this distinct charm of his own. We cannot sum up a phenomena like Rajesh Khanna. It's very important to point something out. His descent into oblivion is part of the Rajesh Khanna narrative. The king without his kingdom and his personal style in his day to day life is also part of that narrative. His on screen persona and his private life both contributed to make him this enigma that is still enduring," filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said.

Saira Banu, who missed a chance of working with Khanna during his stardom days, said the actor was very humble. "I was supposed to work with him in 'Choti Bahu' but I could not because I was ill. I shot with him for two days and found that he was very charming, humble and a shy person. May his soul rest in peace," Banu said.

His contemporary Manoj Kumar was planning to meet Khanna. "I had called Dimple but she told me not to come as Rajesh Khanna was not in a position to talk...I miss him a lot and I have shared some of the best memories with him."