Best Indian Actors of all Time - 100 years - 1913-2013 - in order
Rajesh Khanna holds the record for consecutive 15 solo hero superhits in the period 1969-1971 and also has done BOTH the maximum critically acclaimed movies and more solo hero projects in comparison to his contemporaries till 1991 and in comparison to other actors of other eras in the age bracket of 24-55. He has had minimum of atleast 2 releases each year from 1967-1991 with him as the lead hero and did not allow himself to be typecasted with same genre of films or characters even after getting the superstar status and acquiring romantic image.When compared to other stars who subsequently got superstar status, it can be seen that he was the most Versatile Superstar of Indian Cinema.His tally of giving 17 successive superhits is a world record and an unbroken record in Indian film industry by itself.
Rajesh Khanna gave minimmum of 2 superhit films from 1968-1977 and 1979-1987.He did most of verstaile roles from his age of 24-55 itself.He left films in 1991 to join politics and later on did 3 serials and occasionally accepted film offers.
He has played variety of characters as the lead hero - as a postman in Palkon Ki Chaon Mein, as a psychopath and woman hater in Redrose, as a rickshaw puller who sacrifices his own happiness to educate a girl in Babu, as an advocate who believes in ideology that his duty is to defend the client irrespective of whether his client is the real culprit in Awaaz, as an old man who helps an old woman who is suffering a lot in her life in Amrit, as an handicapped Inspector who motivates 3 other woman and with their help gets the traitors of the country killed and arrested, as an psychiatrist who solves the problem of his client in Phir Wohi Raat , as a widowed father in search of a mother for his daughter in Agar Tum Na Hote, as a lawyer who proves that his senior has committed a rape 25 years earlier in Kudrat, as the rich arrogant man in Dhanwan , as a corrupt politician in Aaj Ka MLA Ram Avtaar , as a young musician who after becoming a widow remarries only to find that his first wife is alive and the trauma he undergoes having married two women in Asha Jyoti , as a righteous farmer in Bandhan, as a village boy who regards his sister in law as his mother in Aanchal , as a responsible young brother and college student in Do Raaste , as a rich man who becomes an accident victim and looses his memory and becomes a fisherman in Prem Bandhan, a rich industrialist in search of love in Premnagar, a revolutionary patriot who is tornapart by love and policeman like in Prem Khanai etc...
Rajesh Khanna has done the least number of multi star films in comparison to his contemporaries like Shashi Kapoor and Jeetendra(who did number of entertaining films),Dharmendra(who did action or comedy films),Amitabh Bachchan(who from 1975-1984 when he was successful in box office kept doing angry young man roles the most and majority of his hits were multi star films and in period 1984-1998 has very less films as hits to his credit as a hero).
Rajesh Khanna accepted roles of different kinds and since the start of his career itself even after gaining the Superstar status even though he had acquired romantic image since Aradhana and even in the multistar film era from 1975 till 1991 he kept doing films of different genres romantic, suspense, horror, action, political, social, fantasy,comedy , suspense , adventurous films with him as the solo hero of the project and each of the hits were critically acclaimed.
In fact even before the films with lower class frontbench class Hindi lingo became common scenario in movies with dialogoues like Bachpanse aajtak , he played the role of a con man in Mahachor(1976) and after films with this same plot got repeated with other stars like Mithun and Amitabh and later Govinda, he never accepted such roles. He occasionally accepted multi star films and even in those he had the main central character – the films were Ashanti, Kudrat and Dil E Nadaan and did three commercial potboilers with childhood and college friend Jeetendra - Dharam Kanta, Nishaan and Maqsad and with Rajnikanth in Bewafai and Zamana with Rishi Kapoor - all of which were blockbusters.
In the films he acted as the solo lead hero, other actors who were by themselves a star acted in supporting roles in his films with Khanna overpowering them in performance and footage in the movie – like Vinod Khanna in Aan Milo Sajna , Sachcha Jhuta , Kudrat and Rajput, Dharmendra in Khamoshi Dharam Aur Kanoon (In Rajput ,Dharam did share equal footage as Khanna), Amitabh Bachchan in Aanand and Namak Haram( Amitabh became a star only in 1973 although and has supporting roles only in these films), Raj Kapoor in Naukri, Vinod Mehra in Amar Prem, Anurodh, Chakravyuha and Amardeep , Shashi Kapoor in Prem Kahani and Alag Alag , Sanjeev Kumar in Aap Ki Kasam and Bandhan , Raajkumar in Kudrat and Dharam Aur Kanta and Amol Palekar in Aanchal. Also Khanna never had a problem in sharing space with his seniors like Ashok Kumar , Om Prakash and Pran.
Khanna enjoyed 100% box office success ratio with Mumtaz as all the consecutive eight films of the pair were superhits. Khanna formed legendary on-screen hit pairs with Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh , Mumtaz ,Hema Malini, Tina Munim , Smita Patil , Shabana Azmi and Poonam Dhillon. The actress with whom Rajesh Khanna has done maximum films(ie.15 movies) is with Hema Malini and they had together ten classic box office superhits namely Andaaz, Premnagar, Bandish, Dard , Kudrat, Rajput, Hum Dono, Babu, special appearances of Khanna in Durga, Sitapur Ki Geeta both which were woman oriented films and rest like Vijay were not a success in the box office although Janata Hawaldaar, Palkon Ki Chaon Me,Mehbooba are regarded as classic films which flopped unexpectedly and undeservingly flopped. His pairing with Tina Munim was hugely popular among the audience in the eighties both on and offscreen with Fiffty Fiffty , Souten , Bewafai , Adhikar becoming hugely successful and Insaaf Main Karoonga being a average grosser and the musical Alag Alag produced by Khanna himself.His pairing with Sharmila was artistically satisfying for him with Aradhana, Safar ,Chhoti Bahu , Amar Prem, Daag , Aavishkar as blockbusters to the credit of the pair and Tyaag as another classic under their belt. Poonam Dhillon was paired with Khanna in the eighties hits like Nishaan, Dard , Zamana and Awam and the unexpected box office dud Redrose. Asha Parekh had the musical hits like Baharoan Ke Sapne, Aan Milo Sajna, Kati Patang and Dharm Aur Qanoon with Khanna. Its not that Khanna did not taste success with other heroines but his chemistry and pairing with these specific heroines resulted in blockbusters more often. Even opposite Zeenat Aman, Khanna has Ajnabee and Chhailla Babu as superhits and Jaanwar as semi hit.The pair Rajesh Khanna- Shabana Azmi also gave box office hits like Karm, Amar Deep, Thodisi Bewafaii, Ashanti, Avtaar and Aaj Ka M.L.A. Ram Avtar and average grosser Nasihat and with Smita Patil ,Khanna had Dil E Nadan , Akhir Kyun, Angaarey, Nazrana, Amrit as superhits ie commercial successes and Anokha Rishta too was a classic ahead of its time. In the mid eighties Khanna delivered superhits with Sridevi like potboiler Maqsad, critically acclaimed Naya Kadam, Masterji and Nazrana.
Another quality of Khanna was that he had terrific music sense and used to sit with the music directors for selection of tunes for his films.This is the reason that all music directors gave very nice music score for his films. His best friends were R.D.Burman and Kishore Kumar and has done 40 films with Pancham.The three stood by eachother through eachother’s bad period in the industry.
Some of the films which are regarded as classics but were dud at the time of its release include the reincarnation drama Mehbooba,
the fantasy films Bundalbaaz and Naukri, the social film like Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein and Janata Havaldar and the suspense film Chakravyuha, the unusual love stories like Aakhri Khat, Raaz , Maalik. and the Redrose whose Tamil original version saw the lead actor getting awards and becoming a blockbuster of the year and biographical story Khudai based on Guru Dutt’s life and social dramas like Awara Baap, Aaina and Ghar Parivaar.
Aakhri Khat is the debut film of Rajesh Khanna.This film is admired at as much before the film Baby's Day Out was made in Hollywood,Chetan Anand directed this film in 1966. Even the debut film of Khanna is considered as classic and having made such an unconventional debut at such an young age, he showed how different he is as an actor from the rest of the industry.This film was followed by Raaz which was again very much ahead of its times as Raaz 1967 was a film about a person of African origin coming to a village in India which he has seen in his dreams quite often and where he finds that his lookalike had been killed.These films - Raaz, Akhri Khat and Aurat became 3 consecutive hits and regarded as classics.
The critics had taken note of his acting skills in the films Raaz and Akhri Khat already but Khanna did not become a big star with these 2 films.Rajesh Khanna got noticed by larger section of audience in the films Aurat , where Khanna played the younger brother of the main lead heroine of the film ,Padmini and in Baharoan Ke Sapne where Khanna played the role of an unemployed youth opposite Asha Parekh .Khanna tasted star stauts for the first time in box office with the musical Baharon Ke Sapne when ending had to be changed as per public demand and crtically acclaimed box office superhit Aurat and it was at this time The star Rajesh Khanna was born.After the release of Aradhana, he got the status of Superstar of Indian film industry (not just Hindi Cinema).
The double role films which Khanna acted in were not just run off the mill films or masala entertainers or based on some formula but each character was different from the other. The films in which he had a double role includes Hum Dono which was a comedy film with him playing a doctor and a poor man , Sachcha Jhuta (his first double role film) where he played the smuggler and the band master , Dard where he played the double role of father who is a prisoner convicted of a crime and a son who is a lawyer, Kudrat where he played an innocent lover and as an intelligent advocate and in Dharam Aur Kanoon where he plays the young man convicted of an offence and the father who is the judge.He did 12 double role films.
In the period 1976-1978 when his well made films with good music and story line were flopping,the few hits he had were Maha Chor, Karm, Chhailla Babu, Anurodh and Hatyara(which had Khanna in Special appearance).Among these Anurodh and Chhailla Babu are both popular superhit films of this period.
There are many actors, who while lip syncing a song, do not do justice to the singer and the song.But Rajesh Khanna used to make the facial expressions and display of the veins in neck in such a way as if he himself has the voice of Kishore Kumar in reality.
Kishore Kumar himself after becoming a successful singer gave credit to Khanna as the person due to whom he became popular and started getting more songs to sing. For this reason Kishore sang for home productions of Khanna like Alag Alag free of cost.Kishore sang for Khanna in 91 films.
The year 1985 saw seven films off the eleven with Rajesh Khanna as the solo lead hero declared box office super-hits which were Hum Dono, Bewafai, Masterji, Babu, Akhir Kyun, Zamana and Insaaf Main Karoonga and Durgaa had him in special extended appearance became a big hit too.The year 1985 saw eleven films releasing with Rajesh Khanna in the lead role as the hero, of which 8 were declared box office super-hits. Bayen Hath Ka Khel was not released. All over India as Khanna's films ate up box office collections of each other.
Since Rajesh Khanna was busy with so many films (each year he had minimum of three films for release from 1968-1991) he declined Mohan Kumar's Amir Garib in 1974 and Mohan Kumar was dejected but Khanna told Mohan that they would definitely work in say one or two years.Then Mohan Kumar offered the role to Devanand and the film became a big hit. Then only after 11 years Mohan Kumar got a script worth of Rajesh Khanna and offered Khanna Avtaar followed by Amrit.
Rajesh Khanna was offered Mr. India by Boney Kapoor and Shekhar Kapoor first, but he rejected after going through the script because he felt invinsible factor would be the main hero and not him and so a superstar of his calibre will be missing from the screen most of the time.Rajesh Khanna was the first choice of Yash Chopra for the lead role in Deewar but Salim Javed insisted that he take Amitabh for the film.Some of the projects which Rajesh Khanna had to reject because of being busy in other projects include Amir Garib, Paraya Dhan, Amanush, Savera, Meri Aawaz Suno, Palay Khan, Aaj Ki Awaaz, Aankh Micholi. ” - shrikant-narayanan