If Anju Mahendru who celebrates her birthday on 11 January, had accepted Rajesh Khanna’s marriage proposal in 1972, his life would have been different. She was the only woman who could hold him down from self-destruction. After she quit the relationship, Khanna’s life and career spun out of control.
In his heydays women(and men) fell at Khanna’s feet. He was the uncrowned king, the God of celluloid, etc etc. But Anju was not impressed; or at least she wasn’t willing to pamper his ego.She would call a spade,a spade, and the chamchas what they were. As his stardom grew so did the coterie.
“Anju couldn’t bear Kaka’s durbar every night. The coterie, as you call it, would gather together night after night. The drinking sessions would go on all night. Anju hated them, the durbar and the drinking. She had to play the hostess serving drinks snacks until 2 am.Kaka would have his dinner at 3 am. Never one to mince words Anju would openly warn Kaka against the hangers-on. But he was impervious to sensible advice. He would be like, ‘I am Rajesh Khanna.’ And she would be like, ‘Ya, so?’. I think somewhere Kaka loved and admired Anju for her honesty. She told him the truth when the world was flattering him. She was the only woman he truly loved. Her exit signaled Kaka’s downfall.The durbar and the drinking got worse. His films began to flop with alarming regularity. It was the end,” says a source close to the situation.
Why did Rajesh Khanna decide to marry Dimple Kapadia overnight?
“The marriage shocked everyone, Anju the most. They had one of their regular fights . Kaka walked out and proposed to 15-year old Dimple. Bobby was yet to release. So it was not as if Kaka was impressed by her overnight stardom. Dimple’s father Chunnilal Kapadia had a lot to do with the alliance. Kaka and Chunnilal were best of friends.Chunnilal was heavily star-struck. In the alliance with the biggest superstar of Indian cinema Chunnilal saw a furtherance of his own ambitions to infiltrate the film industry. The overnight marriage destroyed two relationships, Kaka and Anju’s and Dimple-Rishi’s, ” reveals the source.
To her credit, Anju never spoke about what went wrong with Kaka. I’ve asked on numerous occasions and her reply has been the same each time. “Not now, never.”
Incidentally, Rajesh Khanna and Anju Mahendru came together in only one film. Narendra Bedi’s Bandhan . In the film, they didn’t share a romantic relationship.