Veteran Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna, known as the heartthrob of Hindi films in the 1970s and 1980s, died on Thursday at a Mumbai hospital. He was 70.
Khanna, who was also a film producer and a politician, died at the HN Reliance Foundation hospital, a hospital spokesman confirmed. He was suffering from cancer. Khanna made his debut in films in 1968, after which he went on to become one of the Hindi film industry’s biggest stars over two decades.
He is remembered for his performances in “Mere Apne” (My Own), “Mera Gaon Mera Desh” (My Village, My Country) in which he played the role of a villain, “Kucche Dhage” (FragileThread)” and “Achanak” (Suddenly).
The 1977 star-studded “Amar Akbar Anthony” about three brothers separated at birth was one of his most popular films.“His screen presence is unparalleled even today .. .his superstar swag is what we grew up on,” film producer Karan Johar posted on Twitter.
At the peak of his career in 1982, Khanna suddenly left the industry to connect with spirituality at the ashram of his guru Rajneesh, or Osho. He returned to Bollywood after five years and acted in two box office successes “Insaaf” (Justice) and “Satyamev Jayate” (Truth Triumphs).
“He epitomized the kind of actor and gentleman we don’t see any more,” film critic Shubhra Gupta said. “Vinod Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan were the best entertainers in the 1970s and 1980s.” Khanna married twice and has four children, including actor Akshaye Khanna.He was a sitting member of the Lok Sabha, or the lower house of parliament, and represented India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.