RIP Vinod Khanna – Lesser known facts about the handsome actor

Veteran actor-politician Vinod Khanna, the original heartthrob of Bollywood, breathed his last on Thursday morning (April 27) at the age of 70. He was suffering from bladder cancer and was admitted to the Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Girgaon, Mumbai, on March 31. His family was by his side at the time of his death.

May his soul rest in peace!

Here are some lesser known facts about Vinod Khanna:

1. Vinod Khanna was born in undivided India on October 6, 1946 in Peshawar (now in Pakistan). He hails from a business family and his father Kishanchand Khanna ran a business in textiles, dyes and chemicals. During partition, the family moved to Mumbai.

2. Despite his extremely handsome looks, Vinod Khanna started out in Bollywood by doing negative roles and supporting characters. He debuted in Sunil Dutt's 1968 film ‘Man Ka Meet’. His first role as lead hero was ‘Hum Tum Aur Who’ in 1971. He never shied away from doing multi-hero films, and his best works are such film like ‘Mere Apne’, ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, ‘Parvarish’, ‘Ek Aur Ek Gyarah’, ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’, ‘Qurbani’ etc.

3. It’s a cruel coincidence that Vinod Khanna’s good friend and ‘Qurbani’ co-star Feroz Khan also passed away on the same day, April 27 in 2009.

4. At the peak of his career, Vinod Khanna temporarily left films and became a disciple of Osho Rajneesh in his quest for spiritualism. He left his family and sifted base to ‘Rajneeshpuram’, the spiritual guru’s place in the US. This eventually led to his divorce with first wife Geetanjali.      

5. Vinod Khanna has also featured in a Pakistani film. ‘Godfather’ in 2007. The film also starred other Indian actors like Arbaaz Khan, Nafisa Ali and Hrishitaa Bhatt.  

6. It is said that Vinod Khanna was the original choice for Sanjay Dutt’s debut film ‘Rocky’. The actor was reportedly offered the lead role in the film by the same name that eventually starred Dutt.  

7. Also, his role in ‘Qurbani’ was originally offered to Amitabh Bachchan, and he was roped in after Big B turned it down. The 1980 movie went on to be a musical hit and the highest grosser of the year.

8. Vinod Khanna is one of the oldest actors with six-pack abs. He was once quoted as saying in an interview, “Things have certainly changed a lot over the years. Today a lot of focus is there on the hero’s physique, his six-pack abs. Even in our times a lot of us had that kind of body, par humne dikhaya nahi (we never showed off).”  

9. Vinod Khanna forayed into politics and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was elected to the Lok Shabha from Punjab’s Gurdaspur constituency for four terms - 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014. He passed away while in office as an MP.

10. Vinod Khanna was in a wild and steamy, but short-lived affair with Amrita Singh. The fiery and independent Punjabi girl, famous for her relationships with Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, and cricketer Ravi Shastri, was attracted towards her handsome co-star. They were filming for ‘Batwara’ and Vinod Khanna had divorced his first wife after returning from America.