Bollywood actor and politician Vinod Khanna, who seamlessly transited from negative on-screen roles to hero, died in a Mumbai hospital this morning.
The 70-year-old actor, much sought after in the 1970s and 1980s, was reportedly battling with cancer for years. In the first week of April this year, Khanna’s condition deteriorated and he was admitted to Sir H N Reliance Hospital.
The hospital issued a statement today which said “Veteran actor and Member of Parliament Mr. Vinod Khanna, who was admitted to the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, breathed his last at 11:20 am due to advanced bladder carcinoma.”
Born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) on October 6, 1946, Vinod Khanna is survived by his wife Kavita Khanna, actor-sons Rahul and Akshay and daughter Shraddha Khanna. Before marrying Kavita, Vinod Khanna was married to Geetanjali but they later parted ways.
In his three-decade long career in Hindi cinema beginning in 1968, Vinod Khanna acted in over 100 films including Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Imtihaan, Inkaar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Mere Apne, Lahu ke Do Rang, Gaddar Qurbani, Dayavaan and Jurm. It was in Mera Gaon Mera Desh that he made it big in Bollywood for the first time playing the role of a villain opposite Dharmendra.
Picked out by late Bollywood actor Sunil Dutt, Vinod Khanna was offered, to begin with, only negative and small roles but soon got lead roles in many films. He made his film debut in 1968 with Mann Ka Meet and went on to becoming a star.
In 1982, Vinod Khanna became a follower of Osho Rajneesh at his ashram in western Indian city of Pune and stayed away from cinema for five years before returning to the tinsel town to give two superhits -- Insaaf and Satyamev Jayate.
Even with a busy career in politics after joining Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and becoming a member of parliament from Gurudaspur in Punjab state, Vinod Khanna did not turn his back on Bollywood and worked in some of the latest films like Dabangg, Players, Dabangg 2 and Dilwale.
Vinod Khanna received the Filmfare award in the best supporting actor category for Haath Ki Safaai, and in 1999 he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, and again in 2007 he won a lifetime achievement award at the Zee Cine Awards.
A photo of the actor looking a frail shadow of his former self recently went viral circulating reports about his ailment.