The passing away of Rajesh Khanna, reminds me first and very clearly two things: first the Guru Shirt culture which he induced, which fell in place not only with his histrionics, but also his hair style. That style though puckish seemed to attract everyone, not only swooning young girls, but young men who tried to simulate it. Why even in my small town of Shillong friends and mates seemed pretty adept in imitating this style so that we would jocularly say: 'Look he's got an RK hair style'. That also seemed to be a kind of password to attract girls. The more I see his hair style now, the more gauche it looks, but it seemed to fit very well with the stylistics of the times, the guru shirt and his persona.
And then of course was the smile, half bashful, half almost effrontery. As I see the visuals today, I see no change in my reactions, finding him as charismatic as I found it four decades back.
The Rajesh Khanna smile, the Guru Shirt, the taunting sardonic smile, the phlegmatic expression at times made up the man. It was not only a question of viewing his movies, it was a question of seeing him, his tantrums, his throwing about a handkerchief to profess the frailties of love. Throwing it around in his inimitable impish style seemed to be like a war dance for us. For him of course it was a love dance!
Then in 'Amar Prem', 'Anand' and 'Namak Haram' we saw the true grandiosity of this actor, playing 'serious' roles. The maverick personality had come to an end. The serio - comic chapter had come to an end. He was fallible, especially in 'Anand' and 'Namak Haram'. This was the actor at his best.
People are talking about his songs, he did not sing them! What he did was to create an euphoria through his action, his side way glances, his coquettish looks, all did a brilliant dance of the earth. And oh that smile, almost feminine, and some kind of a shadow brushing the face, eyes a trifle narrowed.
He was the shy lover, the coquettish hero, the sentimental impresario. That is how he should be remembered. Childhood steps in now, after he is gone. RIP.