BENGALURU: Achartered plane was hired to ferry Rajesh Khanna and others. Dimple Kapadia, the heroine of the still-in-production Bobby, was also on the plane.
Rajesh said, ‘I knew Dimple since she was a little kid, but I hadn’t set eyes on her for years. Then one day at a party I saw this girl, tall and gawky, a teenager with an arresting beauty and grace. She was sitting among a bunch of women and as she got up her glance at me flashed fire in my heart. I did not consciously realize it then that all the love-chapters of the past closed tightly shut, never to reopen. A few moments later I learned that she was the same Kapadia kid I’d known years ago.’
On the return flight, the seat next to Dimple was vacant. Rajesh asked her, ‘May I take the seat?’ Dimple answered with a shy smile, ‘Sure, sir.’
Throughout the duration of the flight, both were immersed in a deep conversation—some words spoken, many others exchanged in glances. He found her company invigorating.
The biggest superstar of India, thousands of miles high up in the skies, was looking into Dimple’s eyes, and he saw in them the adulation he hungered for so deeply. This was indeed a dream flight for the new girl in the industry.
On reaching Bombay, Dimple tried to reconnect with the superstar. But those days Rajesh Khanna was busy shooting for many films simultaneously. He returned home very late every day. In his absence it was Prashant Roy’s responsibility to attend to phone calls and write the details in a notebook. In the evening he used to report all the calls to Rajesh Khanna. Prashant vividly remembers, ‘Kakaji’s number used to be 531117, and every minute there was a phone call. One morning a girl called and asked about Kakaji. I asked her name. She said, “My name is Dimple.” I told her Kakaji was on a shoot and would be back in the evening. For the next three to four days she kept on calling continuously. She used to talk to me with great respect, calling me Prashant Sahib. One evening I told Kakaji that a girl called Dimple calls up all the time asking about him. Kakaji smiled and said . . . “Yes, yes . . . She is Bobby’s heroine. Attend to her calls properly.”’
A few days later Chunnibhai Kapadia visited Aashirwad, a girl in tow. Seeing Prashant he said, ‘Prashant, meet my daughter Dimple.’ Looking at the men, Dimple started laughing and said, ‘Prashant Sahib, do you recognize me? I’ve spoken with you so many times.’ Prashant smiled in returned and welcomed the guests inside. This was the first time Dimple entered Aashirwad.
Extract courtesy Penguin Random House India
ABOUT THE BOOK
In the 1970’s, Rajesh Khanna achieved the kind of fame that no film star had ever experienced before or has since. But then he saw it all vanish. They say superstardom destroyed him. But was it something else buried deep in his past? In this biography, award winning journalist Yasser Usman examines Rajesh Khanna’s dramatic, colourful life in its entirety from little-known facts about his childhood to the low-down on his relationships and rivalries, from his ambitious hopes to his deep-seated insecurities. What emerges is a meticulously researched chronicle of a fascinating and mercurial man who was both loved and feared by those closest to him. It is a story that encapsulates the glittering, seductive, cut-throat world of Bollywood at its best and its worst.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yasser Usman is a journalist, television producer and a film commentator. He has been a recipient of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for excellence in journalism and the News Television Awards thrice over. He remembers more films and songs than classroom theories. He has worked for over a decade in leading TV news organizations and is currently with ABP News. He is also a columnist for Dearcinema.com.