Hema Malini On Vinod Khanna

“Just a few days ago our last film together Ek Rani Aisi Bhi released. And now he’s gone.Vinod Khanna was a very fine gentleman,educated articulate and well-informed. I had the opportunity to  work with him in several capacities. He was the villain in my early filmPatthar Aur Payal where Dharamji was the hero. Then in Haath Ki Safaai he was my co-star though not paired opposite me. Then Vinod was my hero in one of my most favourite film Aruna Raje’s Rihaee where he  played my absentee husband. Though he was so urbane and sophisticated in real life he looked  every inch the rustic carpenter in Rihaee . He carried off the dhoti so well in the film. I feel he could play every role  convincingly. He was my co-star in another of favourite films  Chetan Anand’s Kudrat. Rajesh Khanna was also there. Now both the Khannas are gone. It makes me very sad. Gulzar Saab’s Meera which is one of my favourite films featured Vinod as my husband I payed Meerabai and he played  RanaBhojraj. He brought such calm tranquility and understanding to his role. He was like that in real life too. On the sets I would spend a lot of time discussing Acharya Rajneesh with him. I wanted to understand what  it was about that man which made Vinod leave his career and join him in Oregon for five years.He would patiently try to explain the philosophy of Rajneesh to me.Do you know, I came into politics because  of Vinod Khanna.I had no idea of politics and how it worked. One day Vinod called to say, ‘I am fighting elections  fromGurdaspur. I  want you to campaign for me.’ I refused outright saying I knew nothing about politics or campaigning, He insisted. My mother also said I should go since Vinod was such a dear co-star.That’s how my career in politics started.It’s sad when colleagues are gone.Now hardly any of my co-stars are left.”

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