Vinod Khanna had the pure star charisma. Girls swooned when they saw him, while guys admired his suave image. He was known for his ‘Panther walk’ and it’s said the atmosphere charged up whenever he entered a room. Strangely, he started life as a villain and it’s only later that he changed his image and became a leading man. He was said to be the best second lead in business. Such was his appeal that the viewers rooted more for him than the actual hero of the film. On the occasion of Vinod Khanna’s birth anniversary, we bring you a list of some of his best movies down the ages…
Aan Milo Sajna (1970)
Director: Mukul Dutt
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Asha Parekh, Vinod Khanna, Nirupa Roy
The film had the hit jodi of the time in the lead – Rajesh Khanna and Asha Parekh. Vinod Khanna played a wayward son who fails to mend his ways. He became known for his stylish appearance in the film. A romantic musical that paired Khanna with the staple heroine of such films, Asha Parekh. The massy entertainer consolidated his career further. He practised his trademark mannerisms upon a hapless public so much in love with him already that they overlooked a nattily dressed uber handsome Vinod Khanna and gave him another hit just for being there. Varsha (Asha Parekh) decides to have an adventure and becomes the fake fiancee Anil Chaudhary (Vinod Khanna) posing as a poor girl Deepali who is doing it for money. Anil’s mother Saavitri Devi Chaudhary (Nirupa Roy) dislikes him and has put a condition in her will that Anil will inherit her wealth only upon getting married to a suitable girl. Things get complicated when Varsha falls in love with Ajit (Rajesh Khanna), who is later accused of murder. The song Achha to hum chalte hain from the film is still quite famous.
Mere Apne (1971)
Cast: Meena Kumari, Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha
It was Gulzar’s first directorial venture and was a remake of the National Award-winning Bengali film Apanjan directed by Tapan Sinha. Anandi Devi (Meena Kumari) is an old widow who is conned by one of her relatives Arun Gupta (Ramesh Deo), and his wife Lata (Sumita Sanyal) to act as a caretaker for their small child. She leaves their house and goes to live with a child beggar when she realises they were just using her as an unpaid maid. She befriends a group of youngsters, chief among them being Shyam (Vinod Khanna) and Chhenu (Shatrughan Sinha), who lead rivals gangs and are always out for each other’s blood. She’s killed in one such fight as bullets fly, and it’s her death which teaches them the error of their ways. Both Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna were superb in their respective roles.
Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971)
Director: Raj Khosla
Cast: Dharmendra, Asha Parekh, Vinod Khanna
The film had Vinod Khanna playing the main villain Jhabbar Singh, a prototype for Gabbar Singh in Sholay (1975). Havaldar Major Jaswant Singh (Jayant) arrests of thief Ajit (Dharmendra) and hands him over to the police. Strangely, after Ajit completes his sentence, Jaswant Singh gives him a second lease on life and offers him employment on his farm. |Ajit turns a new leaf and learns to lead an honest life. He falls in love with Anju (Asha Parekh). A dacoit, Jhabbar Singh has been terrorising the villagers and Ajit stands up against him, slowly wins support against the criminal in the process and ultimately puts an end to his evil ways. Both Dharmendra and Vinod Khanna were excellent in their roles.
Cast: Vinod Khanna, Lily Chakravarty, Asrani
Directed by Gulzar, it was based on the infamous Nanavati case and traced Khanna’s journey from a cadet to an officer who kills his adulterous wife in a fit of passion. The film had some of the best chase scenes ever seen in our films. Major Ranjeet Khanna (Vinod Khanna) is married to Pushpa (Lily Chakravarty), who is the daughter of his commanding officer Lt Col Bakshi (Iftekhar). Ranjeet is happy with his marriage until he finds out about his wife’s affair with his best friend. He kills them both and surrenders to the police. Then, he escapes from the police to fulfil the dying wish of his wife. The film is told in flashback to the doctors and nurses taking care of Ranjeet after he’s shot by the police.
Haath Ki Safai (1974)
Director: Prakash Mehra
Cast: Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna, Randheer Kapoor
Vinod Khanna and Randheer Kapoor play long-lost brothers in the film. While the younger brother Raju (Randheer) grows up to be a petty pickpocket, the elder one is a crime boss named Shankar (Vinod Khanna). Their paths cross when Shankar outsmarts Raju and takes charge of the runaway rich girl Kamini (Hema Malini). Shankar is married to Roma (Simi Garewal), who runs away after learning her husband’s true identity and is sheltered by Raju. After many misunderstandings later, the two brothers unite to defeat the villain, played by Ranjeet.
Hera Pheri (1976)
Director: Prakash Mehra
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Saira Banu, Vinod Khanna, Sulakshana Pandit, Pinchoo Kapoor, Asrani
Ajay (Vinod Khanna) and Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) are two small-time con artistes and best buddies. Vinod Khanna got the meatier role in the film — that of a true friend who learns that his own father might be the man from whom Amitabh Bachchan’s character is seeking revenge and sacrifices familial ties for the sake of friendship. But it wasn’t a dark or serious film and had moments of pure comedy, especially in the first half, where both Ajay and Vijay go about conning people using different tricks and disguises. Saira Banu too had an interesting role in the film. The Amitabh Bachchan-Vinod Khanna bromance worked big time for the film and it paved the way for more films starring them together. The title song sung by Mahendra Kapoor and Kishore Kumar became a rage.
Cast: Vinod Khanna, Shabana Azmi, Utpal Dutt, Bindu
The film was partially inspired by Hitchcock’s classic Suspicion (1941) and has Khanna playing a middle-class householder who suddenly becomes rich. His wife starts questioning their sudden rise in status and simultaneously he finds out he’s wanted for murder. How he gets himself out of the predicament forms the crux of the film. He was universally praised for his role and some say the underrated film contains the best acting of his career.
Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Director: Manmohan Desai
Cast: Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi, Nirupa Roy
It’s a classic tale of three brothers separated since childhood and brought up to follow different faiths, getting united upon growing up and exacting revenge on the people who had harmed them. It had romance, action, comedy in equal measure and this something for everyone approach contributed big time towards the film’s stupendous success. Vinod Khanna played the eldest brother Amar, a police inspector. Amitabh Bachchan played the middle brother Anthony, who is a bootlegger and Rishi Kapoor played the youngest Akbar, a tailor and a singer. The film has Khanna getting the better of Bachchan in an iconic fight scene. He looked dapper as hell in uniform and brought a much-needed gravitas in the film, which was otherwise a slapstick comedy majorly. Vinod’s pairing with Shabana Azmi too was appreciated.
Director: Raj N Sippy
Cast: Vinod Khanna, Vidya Sinha, Shreeram Lagoo, Amjad Khan
Based on Kurosawa’s High And Low (1963), the film has Khanna playing a hardworking cop who moves heaven and hell to get to the root of a kidnapping and win back the heart of his former girlfriend (Vidya Sinha) in the process. The film contained the fabulous Mungda mungda item song. The film starts with the kidnapping of a child in the household of a rich shoe manufacturer Haridaas Chaudhary (Dr Shreeraam Laagoo) by Raj Singh (Amjad Khan) and his associates Manmohan (Bharat Kapoor) and Preeti (Sheetal). However, the kidnappers themselves commit a blunder by kidnapping the son of the servant of the household (Saadhu Meher) instead of the son of Haridaas Chaudhary. The police officer in charge Amar (Vinod Khanna) investigates the case and not only catches Raj Singh in the end but gets the ransom amount back also. It has some fabulous chase scenes. Both Vinod Khanna and Amjad Khan were in top form.
Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)
Director: Prakash Mehra
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee, Vinod Khanna, Rekha, Amjad Khan, Kader Khan
This was sadly the last film where Vinod Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan acted together. It was Prakash Mehra’s adaptation of the Devdas story where the alcoholic lover isn’t a money rich thakur but a street smart guy who creates a small empire for himself by catching crooks and smugglers. Vishal Anand (Vinod Khanna) played an honest lawyer and the best friend to Sikandar (Amitabh Bachchan) in this It’s he who gets the girl (Raakhee) in the end. The film was said to be one of the longest-running films of the decade, barring Sholay. It was the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1978 and was also the third highest-grossing Indian film of the decade, after Sholay and Bobby. The title song had two versions, the fun version sung by Kishore Kumar and the sad version sung by Mohammed Rafi, which was picturised on Vindo Khanna.
Director: Feroz Khan
Cast: Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Zeenat Aman
Said to be a remake of the hit Italian film The Master Touch (1972), this hi-jinks actioner starred two of the most macho stars of the film industry, Feroz Khan and Vinod Khanna. Khan plays a stuntman and a thief while Khanna plays a mafia member who wants out. Circumstances bring them together and they end up being friends. There’s a love triangle of sorts but that doesn’t come in the way of their friendship. They make an outlandish plan to do one last job and while they’re successful, things don’t exactly go according to the plan. A major chunk of the film was shot in London with a British technical crew, including stunt professionals. It’s said Feroz smashed up a brand new Mercedes in one particular scene. The film introduced teenage pop sensation Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan to Indian audiences. Her Aap jaisa koi became a huge hit and is still very popular.