| |The news of Rajesh Khanna’s death comes as a shock to millions of his fans. More so to a close family friend, who recounts an incident involving the actor when his family had gone to Bombay, as Mumbai was then known, for a wedding in 1971( Corrected from oroiginal ). It was a big entourage which had put up in a guest house – a huge bungalow with a sprawling ground – in Juhu. ( both ours & Ali's fly had been to attend our cousin Hilda's wedding) Rajesh Khanna’s film Aradhana had just been released. The movie was a smash hit. During their stay there, someone spread the word that the actor was going to inaugurate a toy train at a park in Santa Cruz. The park was where a song from the film had been shot. Without batting an eyelid, his starstruck mother ( Feroze aunty ), a very lively lady with an endearing sense of humour, with her children and some wedding guests dashed to the site of the action. A huge crowd had assembled at the park. The girls were shrieking, which grew louder as Khanna’s car approached. The crowd just went berserk. In the melee, his mother’s shoe went flying under the car. She started screaming, “My shoe, my shoe!” The star’s car then reversed, and his mother could then retrieve her shoe. But not before she had a close look at the actor seated inside. She was thrilled to bits. His mother is no more – and so is the actor, who passed away on Sunday at his Bandra home on Wednesday. There is no doubt that Rajesh Khanna was a classic charmer. He wowed generations with his scintillating smile, his style of dancing, and even the way he would shut his eyes while moving his head. Even his hairstyle was a rage. There were several youth in my town who aped it. He was the incredible romantic. He had his own way of charming his heroines, be it Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore or Asha Parekh. The manner of his crooning Mere sapnon ki rani to Sharmila Tagore in Aradhana, or targeting the actor Asha Parekh with his Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai in Kati Patang, can’t be easily forgotten. He portrayed a variety of roles – as a convict (Ittefaq), a cancer patient (Anand), as a reforming truck driver (Dushman), as a lonely husband in Amar Prem, and even an adorable chef (Bawarchi). The way he tells ‘Babu Moshai’ to Amitabh Bachchan, who had not yet hit the pinnacle that time, in Anand is simply inimitable. Aradhana also saw the sparkle of singer-actor Kishore Kumar, who delivered some classic humdingers with his playback voice. An acquaintance recounts how he went to the premiere of one of the actor’s films, Prem Kahani, in Mumbai back in the ’70s. However, as luck would have it, he never got to see the actor, who apparently came in late after the screening of the movie began, but managed to get a brief glimpse of his silhouette when he exited before the film ended. He is happy with that. Speaks volumes for the actor’s appeal. The star is gone, but Kaka’s (as he was affectionately known) charisma will remain for ever.