Veteran actor and Member of Parliament Vinod Khanna--the Bollywood heartthrob best known for his roles in films such as "Amar Akbar Anthony," "Qurbaani" and "Insaaf"--died of cancer at a hospital here this morning. He was 70.
"He passed away at 11.20 AM. It's a sad moment for us.. We request you all (media) for privacy," the actor's brother Pramod Khanna told PTI.
Khanna was admitted to Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital on 31 March with complications arising out of severe dehydration. An official statement from the hospital said Khanna was suffering from bladder cancer.
The actor is survived by his wife, Kavita Khanna, and four children - Rahul, Akshaye, Sakshi, and Shraddha. Rahul and Akshaye, both actors, were from his first wife, Geetanjali.
Feted as one of the most handsome actors of the Hindi film industry, Khanna made his acting debut in 1968 with "Man Ka Meet". In many of the earlier films, Khanna played a negative or a supporting role. His potential was first noticed in Gulzar's "Mere Apne" in 1971.
A much sought after actor in the 1970s and 1980s, he acted in several blockbusters, including "Mera Gaon Mera Desh", "Reshma Aur Shera", "Elan", "Insaaf" and "Dayavan". He and Amitabh Bachchan were a popular pair, and acted in several films such as "Amar Akbar Anthony", "Here Pheri" and "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar"
At the height of his popularity, Khanna surprised his fans when he took a break from acting for five years to join Osho Rajneesh at his ashram in Pune in 1982. But he returned to cinema in the late eighties, and courted success again with films such as "Insaaf" and "Satyameva Jayate" He was was last seen in the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Dilwale" in 2015.
Khanna was also an active politician, and a Member of Parliament from Gurdaspur, Punjab. The sitting MP had won the seat four times. Khanna's contemporary Shatrughan Sinha described his death as a personal loss.
"Vinod Khanna was a greatly admired personality. It's a personal and emotional loss for me as we have been very close and journeyed together in films as well as in politics," Sinha who worked with Khanna in hits like "Mere Apne", "Bombay 405" and "Do Yaar", told PTI.
Celebrities, young and old, remembered him as one of the most charismatic personalities of the Hindi film world. Veteran singer Asha Bhosle remembered him as "a decent man and a star till the very end."
Rishi Kapoor, who played Khanna's younger brother in "Amar Akbar Anthony" and worked with him in another memorable hit "Chandni", tweeted, "Will miss you Amar. RIP. Remembering the good times with you, Vinod. Thank you for being my friend."
Superstar Rajinikanth said, "My dear friend Vinod Khanna... Will miss you, RIP. My heartfelt condolences to the family."
Filmmaker Karan Johar said, "His screen presence is unparallelled even today... his super star swag is what we grew up on....RIP VinodKhanna ...thoughts and prayers."
Actor Akshay Kumar said Khanna's passing was the end of an era.
"Sad to learn about the passing away of Vinod Khanna Sir, one of the most charismatic actors...truly end of an era.