#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

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Vinod Khanna is the only star who renounced his successful career in pursuit of spiritual fulfilment. He was as famous as Amitabh Bachchan those days. The actor is knowns for his performance in ‘Kuchhe Dhaage’ (1973), ‘Gaddaar’ (1973), ‘Imtihan’ (1974), ‘Inkaar’ (1977), ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ (1977), ‘Inkaar’ (1977), ‘Khoon Pasina’ (1977), ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’ (1978), ‘The Burning Train’ (1980), ‘Qurbani’ (1980), ‘Kudrat’ (1981), ‘Rajput’ (1982), ‘Dayavan’ (1988), ‘Chandani’ (1989), ‘Jurm’ (1990). Khanna was the MP from the Gurdaspur constituency between 1998–2009 and 2014–2017. He became the Minister for Culture and Tourism in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet in 2002. After six months, he became the Minister of State for External Affairs. The actor was the recipient of two Filmfare awards. Khanna was posthumously awarded India’s highest award in cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, in 2018 by the Government of India at the 65th National Film Awards.


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Vinod Khanna was born to Kamla and Krishanchand Khanna on October 6, 1946, in Peshawar, Pakistan. He had three sisters and one brother. Shortly after his birth, India was partitioned, and the family left Peshawar and moved to Mumbai.


03 / 17

Vinod Khanna was a curious kid. He had many questions about life, religion and spirituality from the beginning. His family were quite religious. Khanna attended St. Mary’s School, Mumbai, until class II.


04 / 17

#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

His family moved to Delhi, where Khanna attended Delhi Public School in 1957. They moved back to Mumbai in 1960, and Khanna was sent to Barnes School in Deolali, near Nashik. During his time at the boarding school, he watched the epics like ‘Solva Saal’ and ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ and fell in love with motion pictures.


05 / 17

#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

Vinod Khanna graduated with a commerce degree from Sydenham College, Mumbai. The actor loved cricket. “The public may think I am just another filmstar, but there was a time when I played fair cricket with Test player Budhi Kunderan. Later I played with Eknath Solkar at the Hindu Gym. I used to bat at No. 4 but settled for films the moment I realised I couldn’t be a Vishwanath! Even so cricket, not films, is my first love,” he said in an interview in 1979.


06 / 17

#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

After graduation, Khanna was spotted by Sunil Dutt and made his acting debut in Sunil Dutt’s movie ‘Man Ka Meet’ (1968) as a villain. It was a remake of the Tamil movie ‘Kumari Penn.’ At the start of his career, he played supporting or villainous characters in movies such as ‘Purab Aur Paschim’ (1970), ‘Sachaa Jhutha’ (1970), ‘Aan Milo Sajna’ (1970) and ‘Mastana’ (1970) and ‘Mera Gaon Mera Desh’ (1971), ‘Mere Apne’ (1971) and ‘Elaan’ (1971).


07 / 17

#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

After playing the villain, Khanna successfully switched over to playing the famous hero. He got his first break as the solo lead in ‘Hum Tum Aur Woh’ (1971) opposite Bharathi Vishnuvardhan.


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#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

His performance as an army officer facing death row in Gulzar’s ‘Achanak’ (1973) earned him critical acclaim. He played a college professor in ‘Imtihan’ (1974), which proved successful with other blockbusters during that time.


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#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ (1977) and ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’ (1978), in which Khanna co-starred Amitabh Bacchan, became the highest-grossing Indian movies in that particular year. ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’ was the third highest-grossing Hindi movie in the 1970s. Khanna played a supporting role in the ‘Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki’ (1978), a heroine-dominated movie with stalwarts Asha Parekh and Nutan.


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#GoldenFrames: Vinod Khanna, an actor of substance

Some of the successful movies of this era include ‘Qaid’ (1975) with Leena Chandavarkar, ‘Hatyara’ (1977) with Moushumi Chatterjee, ‘Inkaar’ (1977) with Vidya Sinha, ‘Aap Ki Khatir’ (1977) with Rekha, ‘Khoon Ki Pukaar’ (1978), ‘Shaque’ (1976) and ‘Adha Din Aadhi Raat’ (1977) with Shabana Azmi, and ‘Daulat’ (1982) with Zeenat Aman. Khanna was, at the time, one of the highest-paid actors in Hindi films. He starred in Feroz Khan’s ‘Qurbani’ (1980), which became the highest-grossing film of that year.


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