With perfectly chiseled good looks & a jawline to die for – Vinod Khanna’s foray into Bollywood was with negative & side roles. But ultimately it was his lead roles in multi-starrers that made him a superstar to reckon with. So huge was Vinod Khanna’s popularity at one point that he was almost neck to neck with Amitabh Bachchan in the race to Superstardom. But the heartthrob almost abruptly gave it all up for his spiritual quest with Osho. But before and after this five-year hiatus from tinsel town, Vinod Khanna – the heartthrob essayed some memorable roles:
Amar Akbar Anthony(1977)
A classic separated at birth movie – Amar Akbar Anthony was the story of three brothers who reunite in their youth as friends. Only to have their estranged mother piece the puzzle together after her blind eyes are miraculously healed. And, in this classic Bollywood ‘masala’ plot, put together by ace filmmaker, Manmohan Desai – Vinod Khanna rubbed shoulders with Amitabh Bachchan & Rishi Kapoor. Khanna famously played the role of Amar alongside Amitabh as Anthony & Rishi Kapoor as Akbar. Romantically paired with Shabana Azmi –Amar is the straight lined police officer – a perfect foil to Amitabh’s antics as Anthony & Rishi Kapoor’s effortlessly funny Akbar.
Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978)
This is one of the most memorable movies starring Amitabh Bachchan & Vinod Khanna together. Both friends unknowingly in love with the same girl! And though Vinod Khanna wins the girl, in the end, Amitabh Bachchan was clearly the ‘Sikander’ where the moviegoers were concerned. But the film is often remembered for Vinod Khanna’s commendable performance as Vishal, a lawyer, who wants to do good by his friend & by his ladylove.
This movie is synonymous with style, glamour & all that was sexy in the late 70’s& early 80’s! Zeenat Aman in her iconic white gown crooning to ‘Laila Main Laila’– is perhaps the most iconic take away from this movie… But stellar performances from the two male leads – Feroz Khan & Vinod Khanna, the movie’s disco vibe & Zeenat Aman’s style quotient – made it one of the biggest grossers of the year. In this movie, Vinod Khanna is Amar – a reformed criminal. And his understated performance – set many hearts racing.
The Burning Train (1980)
This iconic movie of the ‘80’s saw three charismatic stars come together – Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra & Jeetendra. Their mission: to save the passengers on a burning train. And even though at the time of release the film didn’t live up to expectations, it is often cited among the cult 80’s movies!
Vinod Khanna & Madhuri Dixit’s liplock from this film became one of the most defining images of the ‘80’s. Dayavan was produced & directed by Feroz Khan & saw both the stalwart actors pitted together. Vinod Khanna played Shakti Velu, a rustic who grows up in the underbelly of Mumbai.
It was Sridevi all the way in Chandni – with her dreamy chiffon sarees, her brilliant dance moves & her acting histrionics. And Rishi Kapoor was her leading man. But enter Vinod Khanna in the second half & many heaving hearts sighed in awe. He was suave & charismatic in his role as Lalit, the owner of a travel agency. Already nursing a broken heart, his character loses out to Sridevi as well – but clearly won a more than a dozen hearts off screen!
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