The peak of Khanna   s acting career in Bollywood coincided almost entirely with Amitabh Bachchan   s, but despite that he carved a niche for himself, thanks to his handsome looks    Getty Images
The peak of Khanna s acting career in Bollywood coincided almost entirely with Amitabh Bachchan s, but despite that he carved a niche for himself, thanks to his handsome looks Getty Images

Vinod Khanna passed away on April 27, 2017 after a long battle with cancer. He was 70. The peak of Khanna s acting career in Bollywood coincided almost entirely with Amitabh Bachchan s, but despite that he carved a niche for himself, thanks to his handsome looks, imposing physique, and comfortable screen presence. He was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. He also joined BJP, and was thrice elected to Lok Sabha from Gurdaspur constituency. He served as Union Minister of Culture and Tourism before becoming Ministry of External Affairs. After losing in 2009, Khanna was re-elected in 2014. His sons Rahul and Akshaye also became actors. Several cricketers including Kirti Azad, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammad Kaif mourned Khanna s death on Twitter:

 

 

Having started his career in an era of romantic movies, Khanna was restricted to mostly negative roles. Aan Milo Sajna and the science fiction movie Elaan were prime examples of this. In 1971 he pulled off one of his most iconic performances, as Shyam in Gulzar s Mere Apne. This triggered the golden phase of his career. First came Mera Gaon Mera Desh, loosely based on Akira Kurosawa s Seven Samurai, where Khanna s performance as Jabbar, the antagonist, made the nation take notice. When Sholay was made roughly on the same plot, the antagonist was named Gabbar Singh. He worked again with Gulzar, in Parichay and Achanak. The pair would later work together again, in Meera and Lekin. The much-acclaimed thriller Gaddar followed. Throughout the mid-1970s, Khanna acted alongside Bachchan to pull several hits like Zameer, Hera Pheri, Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish, and Muqaddar ka Sikander. He also co-starred in other iconic movies like Haath ki Safai (for which he won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor) Rajput, The Burning Train, and Qurbani. Khanna became a follower of Osho and took a five-year sabbatical from acting, starting 1982. He came back with a big hit in Insaaf and then pulled off an excellent performance in Dayavan, a Hindi remake of Velu Nayagan. He continued to act almost till his death, being a part of the blockbuster Dabangg as late as in 2010 and its sequel.