File photo of Bollywood actor and BJP MP Vinod Khanna who passed away, April 27, at a hospital in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He was 70. (Press Trust of India)

@siliconeer #siliconeer #Bollywood @Bollywood #vinodkhanna #tribute – He was a villain to begin with but ended up as a hero with a legion of fans swooning over his good looks. Yet, Vinod Khanna, who once abandoned fame for a set of saffron robes, perhaps never got his due.

For almost five decades, Vinod Khanna ruled the Hindi film world with his lush sideburns and dimpled chin, despite an active career in politics that began in 1997.

As his death at 70, from bladder cancer, was announced in a Mumbai hospital, April 27, friends and fans stressed that it had brought an era to an end.

He was a hero who was overshadowed by a bigger star. In several films, Khanna acted with Amitabh Bachchan, and while the pair was a great success, the angry young man that Bachchan became synonymous with often stole the show.

Khanna and Bachchan, despite the competition, starred in blockbusters such as “Amar Akbar Anthony,” “Parvarish,” “Reshma Aur Shera,” “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar,” “Zameer,” “Hera Pheri” and “Khoon Paseena.” But Bachchan was the undisputed hero; Khanna, always the second man.

His debut in Hindi cinema, too, was in the form of a supporting role. It was another would-be MP, also from Punjab, who gave Khanna his first break.

Sunil Dutt, it is said, was struck by Khanna’s good looks and signed him up as a villain in his production “Mann Ka Meet” in 1968.

He continued to play villainous and supportive roles in his initial years with films such as “Purab Aur Paschim,” “Aan Milo Sajna,” “Sachaa Jhutha” and “Mera Gaon Mera Desh.”

Khanna, however, first made a mark as Shyam in Gulzar’s 1971 film “Mere Apne,” where he stood out as a disillusioned young man.

He got his first break as a hero in “Hum Tum Aur Woh” (1971). A great many films followed including hits such as “Elaan” and “Mera Gaon Mera Desh.”

But Khanna shocked his fans when, at the height of his career, he left Bollywood to follow his spiritual guru, Osho Rajneesh, to Oregon in the United States in 1982.

Although married with two children, Akshaye and Rahul (both of whom are actors) he left his wife, Geetanjali, and the sons, to be with Rajneesh. The marriage ended in divorce in 1985.

The actor returned to cinema five years later, and it did not take him long to reclaim his position in the industry. A string of hits followed including “Insaaf,” and “Dayavan” with Madhuri Dixit.

In 1990, he married again to Kavita, with whom, he had a son, Sakshi, and a daughter, Shraddha.

The actor, who was born in a Punjabi family of textile merchants in Peshawar in 1946, chose Punjab to make his political debut in 1997 when he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He fought and won from Gurdaspur in Punjab a seat that he lost only once in 2009 but won again in the 2014 general elections.

In 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee made him his Culture and Tourism minister. He was later given the External Affairs portfolio.

Till the very end, Khanna was active in Bollywood. His last few memorable screen outings were in Salman Khan’s “Dabangg” series and Shah Rukh Khan’s “Dilwale” in 2015.

File photo of Bollywood actor and BJP MP Vinod Khanna who passed away, April 27, at a hospital in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He was 70. (Press Trust of India)

Celebrities remember Bollywood’s ‘Amar’ Vinod Khanna

Remembering him as the coolest and the most charismatic star of Indian cinema, Vinod Khanna’s friends and colleagues such as Rishi Kapoor, Rajinikanth, Shatrughan Sinha, Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt paid tributes to the actor and called his death the end of an era.

Rishi, who played the actor’s younger brother in hit film “Amar Akbar Anthony,” thanked Khanna for always being by his side.

“Will miss you Amar. RIP. Remembering the good times with you, Vinod. Thank you for being my friend,” he tweeted.

Superstar Rajinikanth posted, “My dear friend Vinod Khanna… Will miss you, RIP. My heartfelt condolences to the family.”

Khanna’s contemporary Shatrughan Sinha described his death as a personal loss.

“Vinod Khanna was a greatly admired personality. It’s a personal and emotional loss for me as we have been very close and journeyed together in films as well as in politics,” Sinha who worked with Khanna in hits like “Mere Apne” and “Do Yaar,” told PTI.

Dutt remembered watching Khanna’s films as a child and called his death a big loss.

“It is saddening to hear of the demise of Vinod Khanna ji. I have watched him as a child and throughout my life I was always fascinated by his style and charisma.

“He was always a thorough gentleman. A big loss to the fraternity. He is and always will be family to the Dutts. May his soul rest in peace. My deepest condolences to Kavita bhabhi, Akshaye, Rahul and Sakshi,” Dutt said in a statement.

“Vinod Khanna ji, one of the best talents in the film industry, is no more. I am deeply saddened by the news. His demise is a big loss to the film industry. May his soul rest in peace,” singer Lata Mangeshkar tweeted.

Akshay Kumar called Khanna’s demise “an end of an era.”

“Sad to learn about the passing away of #VinodKhanna Sir, one of the most charismatic actors… Truly an end of an era. Condolences to the family (sic),” he tweeted.

“RIP Vinod Khanna. It’s a sad sad day… Condolences to each member of the family,” actress Shabana Azmi said.

Khanna’s “Dayavan” and “Zameen” co-star Madhuri Dixit tweeted, “RIP Vinod Khanna-ji. The world has lost another talented soul. You will live on in our memories. Our sincerest condolences to his family (sic).”

Filmmaker Karan Johar wrote, “His screen presence is unparallelled even today… His super star swag is what we grew up on… RIP #VinodKhanna… Thoughts and prayers…”

Veteran singer Asha Bhosle said, “Very sad to hear about Vinod Khannaji. A decent man and a star till the very end. My condolences to his family.”

Actor Varun Dhawan, who worked with Khanna in his last film “Dilwale,” wrote, “#Vinodkhanna will always remain the coolest and most good looking actor to grace the Indian screens. The industry has lost a legend today.”

“Your charisma and charm will always be unmatchable…

Will miss your flamboyant walk. #VinodKhanna,” Manoj Bajpayee tweeted.

Calling Khanna a magnetic person, actor Anupam Kher posted, “He was kind, affectionate and helpful. Loved his panther like walk. Will remember #VinodKhanna ji for his larger than life performances and his graciousness. There are very few people like him. Will miss you Sir (sic).”

“Deeply saddened on Vinod Khannaji passing away. Our condolences to the family & prayers that his soul rests in eternal peace,” actress Sridevi, who worked with Khanna in “Chandni,” said.

Actor-director Ajay Devgn shared a picture of Khanna and wrote, “They don’t make them like that anymore. RIP Vinod Sir.”

Actor Sonu Sood, who worked with Khanna in “Dabangg,” said, “Was blessed to share screen space with the legend. Will miss you sir. Rip#VinodKhannaji.”

Anushka Sharma, Shraddha Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Sonakshi Sinha, Arshad Warsi, filmmaker Kunal Kohli and CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani also paid their tributes to Khanna.

Besides film stars, several sports personalities expressed their sorrow on Khanna’s passing.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar wrote, “Deeply saddened to hear about the loss of legendary actor #VinodKhanna ji. My condolences to the family. RIP.”

Virender Sehwag posted, “Heartfelt condolences on the passing away of one of the most charismatic actors #VinodKhanna ji. Om Shanti! (sic).”

Boxer Vijender Singh tweeted, “Rest in peace #VinodKhanna Saab big fan.”

Vinod Khanna’s 10 Most Memorable Roles

In a career spanning five decades, Vinod Khanna starred in over 140 films.

Here’s looking back at 10 of his most memorable performances in Hindi cinema—

Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971) – Considered to be one of his breakthrough roles, the film saw Khanna portray a negative role of a ruthless dacoit Jabbar Singh. One his dialogues from the movie—“Jabbar Singh ne sirf do hi baatein seekhi hai.

Ek mauke ka faayda uthana aur apne dushman ka naam aur nishaan mita dena” is still a favorite among his fans.

Mere Apne (1971) – In Gulzar’s first directorial venture, Khanna played the role of a gang leader, who often gets into fights with another gang leader, played by Shatrughan Sinha. But finds solace in the grandmother-like embrace of Meena Kumari’s character. Khanna stood out with his performance of a disillusioned young man in the movie.

Achanak (1973) – In the film, loosely based on the controversial real-life K.M. Nanavati murder case in 1958, Khanna played an army man who kills his wife for having an extramarital affair with his best friend.

Imtihan (1974) – Khanna portrayed the role of an idealist man, Pramod who leaves his rich father’s house and takes up the job as a history lecturer at a college. Things go awry for Pramod when the college chairman’s daughter and student, Rita falsely accuses him of sexual harassment.

Hera Pheri (1976) – Directed by Prakash Mehra, Khanna played best friends and partner-in-crime to Amitabh Bachchan in the film. The rock-solid relationship of the two is questioned when Bachchan’s character discovers Khanna’s father may be his father’s murderer.

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) – Directed by Manmohan Desai, Khanna played the eldest son of Nirupama Roy’s character, who goes missing along with his two younger brothers, played by Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapooor. He is raised as a Hindu and grows up to become an honest police officer Amar Khanna.

Parvarish (1977) – The film is based on the theme that upbringing plays an important role in nurturing one’s character rather than blood relations. Khanna played the role of Kishen, the son of an honest policeman, who strays for a while only to find his way back home.

In this film, Khanna shared screen space with Bachchan, whose character, the son of a dacoit, is raised by Khanna’s father and grows up to be an honest cop.

Qurbani (1980) – In this film, Khanna, who starred alongside Feroz Khan, played the role of a thief. It was one of his major hits just before he left the film industry to join his spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh in the U.S. Incidentally, Feroz also died on April 27, 2009.

Lekin… (1991) – After being stereotyped in the roles of cops and goons, Khanna starred in an interesting role in Gulzar’s “Lekin,” a ghost story. Khanna played a government official who comes across a friendly spirit and plays an important role in fulfilling her purpose.

Dabangg (2010) – He played a stubborn step-father to Salman Khan’s cop in the movie. The film’s most pivotal emotional moments revolve around their troubled relationship.