Rajesh Khanna was Bhandarkar's style icon
He says as a child he couldn't watch the late superstar's death scenes in films like 'Anand', and looking at his lifeless body in real left him extremely emotional.
"Around noon my phone started ringing most of the calls were from my friends in the media, I was wondering what must have gone wrong! Completely unaware that the moment I will pick up the phone an era of magic will cease to exist for me an era that groomed my dreams of romance... An era that gave me my first hairstyle... The era which still makes me alive and brings a smile to my face... The era of Rajesh Khanna," Bhandarkar posted on his blog Thursday.
Rajesh Khanna, India's first superstar, passed away Wednesday morning. Bhandarkar was among the many celebrities who rushed to the late actor's Bandra residence Aashirwad to pay homage. It was an experience that left childhood memories gushing back, says Bhandarkar.
"When I stood in front of the lifeless cold body of Rajesh Khanna, it was unbelievable. This can't be Kakaji. The man lying in front of me wasn't winking, smiling and twirling his hands in his immortal guru kurta. The images of his films, his dialogues kept echoing in my ears."
"I literally flashbacked to the time I went to see 'Andaz' as a kid. The moment the song 'Zindagi ek safar hai suhana' gets over and Rajesh Khanna dies on screen, I started crying. I just could not bear to see him die. I created such a ruckus in the theatre that my mom had to leave the theatre immediately," Bhandarkar recalled.
"Still, today whenever I watch 'Anand', I cannot bear to see the dying scene. I literally cry my guts out never thought that the man I could not see dead on celluloid, I would be standing in front of his dead body," he wrote.
Rajesh Khanna's guru kurtas and belt-over-kurta collared shirts was a trend Bhandarkar chose to follow as a youngster.
"As a child I was obsessed with the guru kurta and in fact once when the dhobi (washerman) lost one of my guru kurtas. I was very livid. In fact my obsession didn't end with the guru kurtas, There was hardly any shirt or kurta I used to wear without wearing a belt on top of that," added the 43-year-old, who was a fan of the actor's 'Mahachor', 'Chalta Purza' and 'Tinku', which weren't major box office hits.
Bhandarkar narrated two instances of his meeting with the man, who is considered a "phenomenon" in the Hindi film industry. Though his eyes welled up with tears when he saw Rajesh Khanna's body, he says "I immediately wiped them off because Kaka always said 'I hate tears!'"
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