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When Rajesh Khanna blamed others for his films flopping: ‘He felt there was a conspiracy against him, turned on people’

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When Rajesh Khanna blamed others for his films flopping

Salim Khan discusses how Rajesh Khanna dealt with his failure in the book, Rajesh Khanna: The Untold Story of India’s First Superstar by Yaseer Usman. He said, “Instead of looking inward to see what he could improve, he started lashing out and blaming others whenever his films didn’t do well. He was convinced that there was always some sort of conspiracy against him.”

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The book mentioned how Rajesh Khanna wanted to set up a ‘camp’ where only certain people would work with him. Salim-Javed weren’t interested in this and made their decision clear to him, which he didn’t react well to. Salim said in the book, “His cronies would egg him on in these matters. We [Javed and I] told him, ‘You’re doing ten films with different producers and expect us to work only with you. That’s not possible.’ But he didn’t have the maturity to understand that we would work with him as well as other stars.” He was a very possessive person by nature.”

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When Rajesh Khanna blamed others for his films flopping

When Rajesh Khanna blamed others for his films flopping

 

Ajit Ghosh, who handled Rajesh Khanna’s PR, told Usman that Khanna’s lack of ‘maturity’ led him to believe stories that isolated him from those around him. Ghosh said, “If he was told someone has criticised him, he would believe it and turn against that person without bothering to verify [the facts]. That was the reason he became isolated. He made more enemies than friends.”

Salim Khan stated that Rajesh Khanna didn’t like it when people disagreed with him and saw it as an act of opposition. “If somebody even proposed something that wasn’t his choice, he would take it as opposition. He never took disagreements amiably. So then he would act in a manner, as if the person – even if it was close to him – was his enemy,” he said.

In a 1990 interview, Rajesh Khanna spoke about the ***-like feeling he felt after becoming a star. He told Movie magazine years later, “I felt next to ***!”

Rajesh Khanna’s unbroken streak of 15 consecutive hits in the early 1970s is still baffling to filmgoers as this level of success had never been seen by any film actor before. The swift pace that got him fame and adulation vanished just as quickly and Rajesh Khanna could not figure out what had gone wrong. Salim Khan, of the writing duo Salim-Javed, got his first big break with Rajesh’s film Haathi Mere Saathi. This was the first joint credit of Salim-Javed as a writing duo and Salim Khan recalled in a 2014 book how he saw Rajesh Khanna’s downfall.

Rajesh Khanna passed away in 2012 at the age of 69.

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