Bollywood actor and Lok Sabha MP from Gurudaspur, Vinod Khanna passed away in Mumbai on Thursday. He was suffering from cancer.
PTI reported that the 70-year-old actor was admitted to Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Girgaon, Mumbai on April 5 after he complained of dehydration.
The quintessential Bollywood hero is known for his films like Amar, Akbar, Anthony, Gaddaar, Kurbaani, Jurm, Mere Apne and Mera Gaon, Mera Desh. He has acted in over 100 films. His 1973 film Achanak, directed by Gulzar was critically acclaimed. The movie was based real life story of the naval officer KM Nanavati's trial for killing his wife's paramour.
The actor who started off his career playing small second lead roles and negative roles, made it big as the main villain in Mera Gaon, Mera Desh. He was one of the few actors from that era who transitioned successfully from villain to hero.
Bhawana Somaaya writes in The Quint, "It is said that when Sunil Dutt saw Vinod Khanna for the first time what attracted him to the young boy was that he was from Peshawar, now in Pakistan. Dutt decided to launch Khanna and his younger brother Som Dutt in his home production Man ka Meet (1968)."
Born in Peshawar on October 6, 1946, his family moved to Bombay soon after the partition.
Vinod Khanna was married twice - to Gitanjali in 1971 and Kavita Khanna in 1990. He is survived by his four children, Rahul Khanna, Akshaye Khanna, Sakshi Khanna, and Shraddha Khanna. His two sons Akshay and Rahul Khanna from his first marriage also followed him into the acting profession.
Vinod Khanna with his wife Kavita.
The BJP MP from Gurdaspur with Prime Minister Narendra Modi
In 1997, Khanna joined the BJP and was elected as the Lok Sabha MP in 1998 after he won the elections from the Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab. He later became the Union Minister for Culture and Tourism in July 2002 and six months later, was given the portfolio of Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs. In 2004, he was re-elected from Gurdaspur but lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll. In the 2014 general election, he was elected for the 16th Lok Sabha, again from Gurdaspur.
He was long-time disciple of Osho Rajneesh, often driving between Mumbai and the ashram in Pune over weekends after shooting through the week. In 1980, when Osho shifted his ashram to Oregon, Vinod even took a hiatus from his thriving career to follow his guru there. He lived there for about five years and worked as the ashramâ€™s gardener. His absence from family life and the distance reportedly caused his wife Geetanjali to divorce him in 1985.