FOREWORD BY SHARMILA TAGORE
The first-ever biography of the enigmatic Rajesh Khanna the original 'superstar'
If ever a life was meant to be a book few could stake a stronger claim. Like a shooting star doomed to darkness after a glorious run Rajesh Khanna spent the better half of his career in the shadow of his own stardom. Yet forty years after his last monstrous hit Khanna continues to be the yardstick by which every single Bollywood star is measured.
At a time when film stars were truly larger than life Khanna was even more: the one for whom the term 'superstar' was coined. Born Jatin Khanna to middle-class parents the actor was adopted by rich relatives who brought him up like a prince. By the time he won the Filmfare-United Producers Combine Talent Hunt he was already famous for being the struggler who drove an imported sports car.
With seventeen blockbuster hits in succession and mass adulation rarely seen before or since the world was at Khanna's feet. Everything he touched turned to gold. The hysteria he generated - women writing him letters in blood marrying his photograph and donning white when he married Dimple Kapadia people bringing sick children for his 'healing' touch after Haathi Mere Saathi - was unparalleled. Then in a matter of months it all changed. Khanna's career hit a downward spiral as spectacular as his meteoric rise just three years after Aradhana (1969) and never really recovered.
Dark Star looks at the phenomenon of an actor who redefined the 'film star'. Gautam Chintamani's engaging narrative tries to make sense of what it was that made Rajesh Khanna and what accounted for his extraordinary fall. A singular account of a wondrous life.