Born on: October 6, 1946
Born in: Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, British India (Now Pakistan)
Career: Actor, Producer and Politician
Vinod Khanna was one of the most successful Bollywood actors of the 1970s and late 1980s. He debuted in the Hindi film industry in a negative role, with the movie ‘Man Ka Meet’. The villainous spate continued over a number of other movies, but could not hold his potential for too long. Within a couple of years, he started appearing as a leading star and never had to look back. Khanna was one of first stars who wooed the audience with not only his acting skills, but also his amazing physique. Who can forget his dimpled face, which made many female fans go weak at the knees?
Childhood and Early Life
Vinod Khanna was born on 6th October 1946, in Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, British India (Now Pakistan). The partition, that happened less than a year after his birth, saw the family shifting to India. As a child, he went to St. Xaviers High School, Bombay, apart from Delhi Public School and Lord Bannes High School, Devlali. During his school years, he was very good in sports, especially football, cricket and tennis.
It was during his schooling at Delhi Public School that one of his teachers forced Khanna to act in a drama. Though reluctant, he finally gave in and the drama provided him the first brush with acting. In college, he was always surrounded by a huge group of friends, all of whom were die-hard fans of the Rock Group, ''Beatles''. Khanna develop his wonderful physique after working out under the guidance of Shyamlal, the wrestler who represented India at Moscow Olympics.
One day, Vinod Khanna was attending a party and happened to meet the great actor Sunil Dutt. Dutt offered him a negative role in his film ‘Man Ka Meet’ (1969), which was to have his brother Somu Dutt as the hero. After fighting off the resistance from his family, he agreed to do the role and ended up being noticed more than Somu. Following this, he received a large number of film offers and was seen, playing supporting and negative roles, in hit films like ‘Purab Aur Paschim’ (1970), ‘Sachaa Jhutha’ (1970) and ‘Mera Gaon Mera Desh’ (1971).
In 1971, Khanna was seen in ‘Mere Apne’, directed by Gulzar, which served as one of his major breaks. His next major film was ‘Achanak’ (1973), again directed by Gulzar, which won him great crucial acclaim. His great personality and excellent acting skills could not be retained in the negative roles and soon, he started receiving leading roles. He was seen in films like ‘Parvarish’, ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’, ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Amar Akbar Antony’ and ‘Khoon Pasina’, with superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
During this time, Khanna was at the peak of his career and was counted amongst the top stars of the industry. However, the spiritual side of his personality took over and he announced his retirement from films. It was in the year 1978 that he left Mumbai and started living with Acharya Rajnish (Osho), in his ashram - Osho Commune International, at Pune. Osho went to USA in 1980 and Khanna followed him. There, he indulged in numerous manual and laborious jobs, like those of plumber, electrician, cook, gardener, etc.
Not much time had passed since Osho’s arrival in USA that he was arrested and was sent to jail. Disillusioned and disheartened, Khanna quit the Osho Commune and came back to India in 1985. After coming back to Mumbai, he entered the film industry once again. His comeback film ‘Insaaf’ was a major hit & established him in the top league again. Thereafter, he was seen in movies like ‘Batwara’, ‘Kshatriya’, ‘Suryaa’, ‘C.I.D.’, ‘Rihaee’, ‘Pathar Ke Insaan’, ‘Parampara’, ‘Mahasangram’, ‘Khoon Ka Karz’, ‘Dayavan’, and ‘Police Aur Mujrim’.
It was in the year 1997 that Khanna turned a producer, mainly with the purpose of launching his son, Akshaye. He produced the film ‘Himalaya Putra’, which did not turn out to be a box office hit. In 1999, he was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. Since then, Khanna has been seen in very few films, playing character roles, the recent ones being Deewaanapan (2002) and Risk (2007). Presently, he is acting as the male lead in the Hindi serial ‘Mere Apne’, produced by Smriti Irani, which airs on channel ‘9x’.
Career in Politics
Vindo Khanna joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1997. The following year, he was nominated for Lok Sabha poll, from Gurdaspur, East Punjab. The charisma of the star, along with the non-performance of the opposition candidate - Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, helped him win the poll. In 2002, Khanna became Union Minister for Culture and Tourism. Sometime later, he was moved to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), as Minister of State. In 2004, he fought the election from Gurdaspur and won again.
Vindo Khanna married Geetanjali Taleyarkhan, a Parsi girl, much to his family’s chagrin. The couple had two sons - Rahul and Akshaye, both of whom are now actors. However, their marriage did not last long and ended in a divorce. In 1990, Khanna fell in love with Kavita Daftary and had his second marriage. Their matrimonial alliance led to the birth of a son - Sakshi and a daughter - Shraddha.. Presently, he continues to participate in the film business along with politics.
Awards and Nominations
1974 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award, for Haath Ki Safai
1976 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actor, for Hera Pheri
1977 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actor, for Shaque
1978 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actor, for Muqaddar Ka Sikander
1980 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actor, for Qurbani
1999 - Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
2007 - Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement
1968 - Man Ka Meet
1970 - Purab Aur Paschim, Aan Milo Sajna, Sachaa Jhutha
1971 - Mere Apne, Reshma Aur Shera, Mera Gaon Mera Desh
1974 - Haath Ki Safai
1975 - Zameer
1976 - Hera Pheri
1977 - Khoon Pasina, Parvarish
1978 - Aakhri Daku, Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki
1980 - Qurbani, The Burning Train
1987 - Satya Mev Jayate Insaaf
1988 - Dayavan
1989 - Chandni
1990 - Jurm
1991 - Khoon Ka Karz Farishtay
1992 - Parampara
1993 - Insaniyat Ke Devta, Kshatriya
1994 - Ekka Raja Rani, Eena Meena Deeka
1997 - Dus (Incomplete)
1997 - Himalay Putra
2002 - Kranti Deewaanapan
2007 - Risk