Bollywood's first superstar Rajesh Khanna passes away

Rajesh KhannaBollywood's first superstar Rajesh Khanna breathed his last today at his residence in Mumbai. Khanna, 69, is survived by his estranged wife Dimple Kapadia and two daughters Twinkle and Rinke. The veteran actor's last rites would be performed tomorrow.

Khanna was last admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati hospital for low blood pressure, but was discharged yesterday and had been at his Mumbai residence since then. He was diagnosed of kidney problems earlier, on 24 June, and was admitted to a hospital.

The actor came to be known as India's first superstar after he delivered 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 and 1972, a record that remains unbroken.

''Very few actors can match the charisma, stardom and popularity that Rajesh Khanna enjoyed. His era initiated the wave of superstardom in the Indian film industry, a concept, which was unknown till then. Rajesh Khanna gave Indian cinema a whiff of fresh air by projecting the essence of goodness and romance in the various characters that he portrayed.

His films provided us melodious music and haunting melodies, which became a part of the generational change of the 1970s. The Indian film industry has lost one of its iconic personalities who gave a new identity to the male protagonist in films,'' minister of information and broadcasting Ambika Soni wrote in her condolence message to the members of the bereaved family.

The Bollywood industry expressed grief at the passing away of its first superstar. Actress Saira Banu said it was a terrible day for the industry and Sharmila Tagore, his co-star in many films, said he was an amazing actor.