Rajesh Khanna: Thousands bid farewell to Bollywood star
- 19 July 2012
- From the section India
India's "first superstar" Rajesh Khanna has been cremated a day after he died.
Thousands of fans braved monsoon rain in Mumbai to pay their respects as his body was driven through the city in a glass coffin wrapped in white flowers.
Amitabh Bachchan, Karan Johar, Manoj Kumar and Rani Mukherjee were among Bollywood celebrities who joined relatives attending the funeral.
Khanna made his name playing romantic leads in a string of films which were massive hits in the 1960s and 1970s.
The actor, who had been ill for some time, died at home on Wednesday. He was 69.
Correspondents say the large crowds are a reflection of Khanna's iconic status - he was often called "India's heartthrob".
'Time is up'
The funeral procession began from Aashirwad, the actor's home on Carter Road, on Thursday morning.
Large numbers of police were deployed outside his house, on the procession route and outside the Pawan Hans crematorium where his body was taken. Thousands of mourning fans turned out.
Last rites were performed by his young grandson, Aarav. His father, Khanna's son-in-law actor Akshay Kumar, was by his side.
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who visited Khanna's family on Wednesday, revealed that the actor's last words were "time is up" and "pack up".
"As I sat at his home this [Wednesday] afternoon, to pay my respects, soon after learning of his passing away, a close functionary of his came up to me and told me in a choked voice what his last words were - 'time ho gaya hai [time is up]! Pack up!', Bachchan posted on his blog.
Bachchan worked with Khanna in the hit films Anand and Namak Haram in the initial years of his career, before replacing him as Bollywood's biggest name.
He has said he became famous purely because of "working with Rajesh Khanna in Anand".
"People asked me, 'how is he to look at? What does he do? The word superstar was coined for him," Bachchan said on learning of his death.
Khanna starred in more than 160 films, including other hits such as Kati Patang, Aaradhana and Amar Prem.
He had a huge following and was mobbed by fans whenever he appeared in public.
During the peak of his popularity, there were reports of his female fans marrying his photographs and writing him love letters in blood.
He was affectionately called "Kaka" by his fans and won a host of industry awards during his long career, although he was only recently seen in his first television commercial.