Rajesh Khanna has undone himself long back. He had no pressing need to do the new Havells ad and cut the sorry figure yet again for himself. Yet the evanescent sense of erstwhile glory prompted him to appear in his werewolf avatar in the latest TV commercial. He looks a wreck, almost dinosaur in his relevance, at best an object of abject ridicule.
There seems no pressing financial need to do the same. His son in law Akshay Kumar is one of the biggest present stars in the Hindi film firmament. Yet he could not say no to the allure of limelight, however, ludicrous and ephemeral it is. The icon of yesteryears failed to realize that he was being used as a spoof of his former image. The first authorized superstar from this continent despite his failing health and ‘Hagar the horrible’ looks thought he could woo his fans back with this ‘fan’tastic excercize.
There was a time, women across the nation swooned at the very mention of his name. Guys used to emulate his Guru shirts and all mimics make a living simply by miming him. He had many choices after he had faced a string of flops. He was given a ticket by the Congress Party in 1992 for the Lok Sabha. He defeated the formidable rival L.K. Advani of the B.J.P to secure this seat. But to what avail. He remained ensconced with his retinue of time servers, and never took Parliament seriously. His films and TV shows bombed in a row. He caused consternation within his family. Dimple had not formally divorced him. Though she was in a relationship with Sunny Deol, Dimple took care of her ex husband in times of need, helping him to over-ride the pressing high expectations imposed by his misconstrued perception of ground reality.
Rajesh Khanna’s era was over with the rise of the Amitabh Bachchan persona. The others in that age group had their backbones broken. Ideally, the old star should have chosen to walk away into the sunset. But he wanted to hold on to a non-existent glory. As a consequence, he did a spate of meaningless failed TV shows and even a semi-porn film ‘Wafaa’ that was slated to be his umpteenth comeback vehicle. He never seemed to have realized the adage that “the good get interred with the bones”. There have been PH.D dissertations trying to deconstruct the myth of Khanna. Now he was allowing social commentators to sublimate him into the complete spoof space. He openly was displaying visible signs of neurosis. The supreme irony is none of his friends stood by him in these trying hours of his life. Though Dimple did try but to no avail. His family now stands with their heads hung hanging in shame seeing the circus clown act of the fallen man.
Stardom creates delusions of grandeur. But not all stars end up to such a bathetic scrutiny. Today all those who fanned his ego and created this phenomenon have disappeared. All that remains is a skeletal man lost in a hell of his own making.
It is indeed tragic to witness this spectacle. For the first time in my life I cried for a Hindi film hero was as a child seeing his immortal classic Anand. Kaka, as his fans and family called him, I truly wish you were gone.