Birthday Love: Vinod Khanna – 5 films, 5 characters & 1 sparkling star


He was the good looking hero who made it big in Bollywood by doing various types of films and playing some extraordinary roles. He had bags of talent and was perhaps unaware of how much the audience loved him and his work.

6th October marks the birth anniversary of the late Vinod Khanna so to remember this great star, will look back at 5 of the actors greatest films and the characters he played.

The gold hearted godfather in ‘Dayavan’ (1988)
Directed by Feroz Khan this classic film was one of Khanna’s greatest films.

His character Shakti Velu starts off as a boy whose father has been killed by the police, he has no one and nothing to his name but a hatred for the law begins. Call it luck or destiny he is taken in by a good hearted man who decides to adopt him. He now has a sister, a father and a best friend. When he grows up his family is torn apart once again by the police but this time he gets revenge. After that everything changes for him and he is given a new name by the people, Dayavan which means both compassionate and charitable.

It is amazing to see the journey of this one boy who has nothing to begin with but with the help of his loyal friend and the support of the people he becomes a man of power and wealth. The best thing is that no matter how much wealth or power he has, he always uses it for the good of other people.

Khanna did a fantastic job with the way he portrayed his character and the way he transitions from a young man to a man of age was interesting to watch.

The grey shaded cop in ‘Satyamev Jayate’ (1987)

Arjun Singh (Khanna) is a man of the law who wants to put criminals behind bars and make the world a better place. He is known for his bad temper and has had a few warnings from his seniors about the way he handles criminals. When a young man he was interrogating dies in prison he is transferred to another area. To forget that incident he drinks and spends time with Seema (Meenakshi Seshadri) but to no avail as the young man’s family live in the same neighbourhood. He is made to feel guilty everyday of his life but still he continues to do his duty.

This role saw Khanna in various shades as he was an honest police officer just his methods were not ones that most police officers would use. Also he cared very little for peoples feelings after his own heart had been broken by a girl he loved.

The sweet criminal in ‘Qurbani’ (1980)
Khanna was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award for this film and rightly so as his performance was superb. Amar (Khanna) used to work for a man named Rakka (Amrish Puri) but seeing the way he works he decides to leave his organisation which doesn’t go down well with the crime boss. The only relation he has left is his young daughter who he loves more than his own life.

Amar (Khanna) is strong and very brave, he doesn’t fear of the consequences and does as he feels right. He is a good man but if need be he will fight back if he is provoked or if his dear ones are in danger. There is a soft side to him that really cares for his daughter, those scenes that had the father and daughter together were really sweet. Amar (Khanna) is confident and has a sense of style which is something Khanna’s fans would have liked about his character.

The devotional friend in ‘Hera Pheri’ (1976)
It was a story of friendship and revenge which wouldn’t be complete without love and comedy. Ajay (Khanna) and Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) are the best of friends who do everything together including conning people for a living. Vijay (Bachchan) is the mischievous one who comes up with some outrageous plans which at times worries the sensible Ajay (Khanna). There were many rib tickling scenes between the two actors and it was delightful to see Khanna doing a comical role.

Khanna’s character was not only well educated but also a man of faith. His friend Vijay (Bachchan) is more like family for him so he is willing to do whatever he says. For his role in the film Khanna was nominated the Filmfare Award for the Best Supporting Actor.

The leader ‘Mere Apne’ in (1971)
Meena Kumari, Danny Denzongpa and Asrani are a few to be named who were a part of this memorable film. It was the first film to be directed by Gulzar and was a remake of the Bengali film ‘Apanjan’ (1968).

The story revolved around an old widow whose relatives take her from the village and have her move to the city with them. They pretend to sympathise with her but the truth is that they want her to look after their child and the house work while they’re away at work. She is heart broken when she realises the truth but when she comes across the young Shyam (Khanna) she has a reason to stay. Shyam has a gang of friends who like him are unemployed and seen as a waste of space in the neighbourhood.

Only Anandi Devi (Kumari) cares for them therefore she is given the title nani maa by them. Khanna was seen as the young angry man who can’t bear to see injustice happen. The audience could sympathise with Khanna’s character as he always meant well but things would go wrong for him.

Vinod Khanna is a star who will always be remembered.

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