Late actor Vinod Khanna was a curious mix of two extremes. A hero and a villain in reel life, a seeker of spiritual truth amidst the cacophony of Bollywood dreams in real life and most importantly, someone whose romanticism was at loggerheads with the demands of practical life.
Khanna made his Bollywood debut in 1968 in ‘Man Ke Meet’ in which he played the role of an anti hero. Having spent close to five decades in Bollywood, some of his most memorable films include Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Gaddar, Imtihaan, Muqaddar ka Sikander, Inkaar, Amar Akbar, Antony, Qurbani, Kudrat and Dayavan among others.
From being labelled as ‘Greek God’ to ‘Sexy Sanyasi’, Khannna had an uncanny way of attracting limelight, though not by design always. His charismatic looks were well complemented by his acting talent. During his reign as Bollywood’s heartthrob, majorly in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Khanna also was seen endorsing several popular brands. The most memorable of the lot was his ad for Cinthol soap. The iconic ad, which was shot in the presence of his good friend, the late Parmeshwar Godrej, earned him the tag of being the ultimate charmer, and there is little disputing the fact. The other major brand campaign that he featured in was for Baba Tobacco.
Remembering Vinod Khanna as a friend and a great actor, ace filmmaker and Founder & Chairman of Whistling Woods International, Subhash Ghai said “I met him last year at the convocation ceremony of the Whistling Woods film school when he was honoured with a maestro award by students for his outstanding contribution. A real handsome man on and off screen, he celebrated life with love, dignity andcompassion for others in service to his nation as member of Parliament. He will always live in my heart and mind. Goodbye, Vinod, RIP.”
Calling Khanna a thorough gentleman and an affectionate person, ad guru and Executive Chairman and Creative Director, South Asia Ogilvy & Mather India Piyush Pandey, spoke about his association with the actor as he said, “Vinod Khanna was a good friend. He was undoubtedly a thorough gentleman. I got to know him during the making of Mukul Anand’s film Dus, though we never worked together. I remember him as an affectionate person with a pure heart. Vinod Khanna, RIP.”
Author Amish Tripathi terms Vinod Khanna’s demise as a big loss of a brilliant actor. He stated, "I didn't know Vinod Khanna personally. I only knew him as all other Indians did. As a brilliant actor who gave us among our finest moments in Indian cinema. There is one bright star less in Bollywood. But that star will continue to shine ever more brightly in the sky, where the greatest of human beings reside."
Well known Bollywood writer Kamlesh Pandey, who was with Khanna during his days at the Osho Ashram in Oregaon, US, remembers the actor in these words, “I have known him as a friend and as a producer of the film ‘Himalay Putra’, which I wrote to launch his son Akshaye Khanna. Both of us were followers of Osho at one time and we used to get along very well at the Oregaon ashram. I would say he was a wonderful person and the most handsome actor I have ever met. His demise is undoubtedly a big loss for the industry and a personal loss too.”