Birth anniversary special: Remembering Kaka Rajesh Khanna’s 8 best films

Khanna has the honour of being regarded as Hindi cinema’s first superstar. The actor performed a wide variety of roles and had been a part of some highly appreciated films in his illustrious career. On his 74th birth anniversary today (29 December), let’s revisit some of his best films. 

Keyur Seta

Aradhana (1969)
Rajesh Khanna had become somewhat popular after he made his debut in the mid-1960s. But it was Shakti Samanta’s Aradhana that marked his big arrival in Hindi cinema. This was also his first film with Sharmila Tagore, with whom he went on to do a number of films later. ‘Roop Tera Mastana,’ the song picturised on both of them, is popular even today.  

Do Raaste (1969)
Along with Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna was even appreciated alongside Mumtaz. Do Raaste was their first film together. Directed by Raj Khosla, Do Raaste won the Filmfare Award for the Best Story that year. The film is also known for memorable songs like ‘Yeh Reshmi Zulfen’ and ‘Bindiya Chamkegi.’ 

Kati Patang (1970) 
Rajesh Khanna had a knack of making a melodious number sound even better through his unique style and gestures. This is visible the most in Kati Patang, which has a line-up of memorable songs like, ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai,’ ‘Pyar Deewana Hota Hai’ and ‘Yeh Sham Mastani.’ Needless to say, Khanna weaved the same magic in his performances too. 

Amar Prem (1971)
Shakti Samanta made a bold, progressive statement about the dignity of a prostitute in Amar Prem. Interestingly, he did that more than 40 years ago. People from today’s generation will be pleasantly surprised to know this as the topic is relevant even today. Rajesh Khanna’s act of a man eager to meet the woman who showered him with love when he was a child moves you.

Haathi Mere Saathi (1971)
There have been films with an animal playing an important character. For example, Teri Meherbaniyan (1985) and Entertainment (2014). But Haathi Mere Saathi is a rare Hindi film where more than one animal played an important role. Rajesh Khanna once again got into the skin of an animal lover with ease. 

Anand (1971)
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand is not only one of Rajesh Khanna’s best films, but also one of Hindi cinema’s all-time classics. Also starring Amitabh Bachchan in a pivotal role, the film is about how a man, who is about to die soon, decides to make the most of life and make everyone happy. The climax still leaves many teary-eyed. 

Bawarchi (1972)
This was another heart-warmer from Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Anand also revolves around the theme of one man making life beautiful for people around him. But what makes it stand apart is that the protagonist is a chef (hence the title). Of course, the film achieves such results because of Rajesh Khanna’s delightful performance. 

Namak Haraam (1973) 
Namak Haraam, once again by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, is a fine example of a social issue being presented in an entertaining way while doing complete justice to the theme. Rajesh Khanna shows his class in how his character transforms after getting involved with union workers. His pairing with Amitabh Bachchan was once again appreciated.