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Happy Birthday Vinod Khanna: 12 lesser known facts about the actor!

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 6 October 2016, 10:40 IST

Vinod Khanna celebrates his 70th Birthday on 6 October 2016. Here are 12 lesser known facts about the star:

1. Born to a Punjabi business family which dealt in textiles, Vinod Khanna was a student at Mumbai's Sydenham College where he studied commerce.

2. Though he was interested in the arts, Vinod had no film contacts. So the handsome newcomer accepted a villain's role in Man Ka Meet (1969). The film was made to launch Sunil Dutt's brother Som but Vinod became the cynosure of all eyes. Within weeks of the release, more than a dozen producers lined up outside his house to sign him.

3. For Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971), Dharmendra remembers how Vinod did not mind being genuinely bloodied by a belt to infuse realism into the role.

4. Vinod was the first villain, after Ishwarlal in the '40s, to also become a successful hero. His ability to meld brute force with emotional vulnerability was noticed by Gulzar who cast him in leading roles in Mere Apne (1972) and Achanak (1973).

5. In the songless Achanak (1973) Vinod won rave reviews for his performance as a man who murders his adulterous wife.

6. He attempted risky, offbeat roles too. His mature and complex performance as a murder suspect in Aruna Vikas' small budget sleeper success, Shaque (1976) was lauded. His lovemaking scenes with Shabana Azmi were considered bold for the times and created quite a stir.

7. Six years after enacting the villain in the Leena Chandavarkar starrer, Man Ka Meet (1969), Vinod was her romantic lead in Qaid (1975). The film did reasonably well.

8. Vinod provided the perfect foil to fellow toughie Amitabh Bachchan onscreen, and the twosome starred in many hits together -- Hera Pheri (1976), Khoon Pasina (1977), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Parvarish (1977) and Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978). The larkiness inherent in these films ensured a high entertainment quotient.

9. Director Raj Khosla was extremely fond of Vinod Khanna and worked with him in as many as five films, Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971), Kuchhe Dhaage (1973), Prem Kahani (1975), Nehle Pe Dehla (1976) and Main Tulsi Tere Angaan Ki (1978).

10. Buoyed by further successes like Inkaar, Hatyara and Qurbani, Vinod was pit as the only box office challenger to Amitabh. But at this crucial juncture of his career, Vinod announced his retirement and his decision to follow Rajneesh (Osho)!

11. Vinod became the first Hindi film hero to retire from films when he was at his peak. It amazed the film industry but his spiritual quest was paramount for Vinod. He divorced his wife Geetanjali, left India and spent the early '80s gardening for Rajneesh.

12. Vinod returned to films with a bang thanks to the successful Insaaf (1987). Hits like Chaandni (1989) followed. The indolent sex appeal was still intact but he could not recapture his halcyon days for long. Since then he has moved to character role, married again and is now an elected member of the Indian Parliament.

-- Sourced from Dinesh Raheja (Editor - Bollywood New Service)

First published: 6 October 2016, 10:40 IST