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Central & South Asia
Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna dies
Often known as Bollywood's first superstar, Khanna's career spanned over the three decades with a series of hits.
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2012 09:52
Rajesh Khanna made his acting debut in 1966 in "Aakhri Khat" (The Last Letter) [AFP]

Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood's "first superstar" has died, after months of illness, his family has said.

The actor, 69, died at his family home in Mumbai on Wednesday after being discharged from hospital earlier this week, the cause of his health problems was unclear.

Known as "Kaka" (uncle) to his fans, Khanna made his name playing the romantic lead in a string of films which were massive hits in the 1960s and 1970s.

The actor starred in more than 160 films, including hits such as Kati Patang, Aaradhana, Anand and Amar Prem.

Khanna, who was not from an acting dynasty, was born in the city of Amritsar in the northwest of India in 1942, and enjoyed appearing on stage from his school days.

He made his film debut in Aakhri Khat (The Last Letter) in 1966 but his big break came three years later with the runaway hit Aaradhna (Worship).

He had a huge following and was mobbed by fans whenever he appeared in public.

He married actress Dimple Kapadia while he was still riding his success wave in 1973, but the two separated a few years later.

He was also successfully paired with a string of leading ladies, including Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz.

Though Rajesh Khanna's popularity declined with the rise of the angry young man - Amitabh Bachchan - the star continued to deliver hits well into the 1980s.

In the 1990s the actor took a break from films and joined politics having won the 1992 by-elections on a Congress ticket from Delhi.

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