From an admirable villain to a mainstream hero, from chucking away his stardom for a spiritual path to exploring the domain of politics, Vinod Khanna’s journey has left an indelible mark on our lives. The model individual and veteran actor passed away on April 27, 2017 after a long battle with cancer.

His filmography has numerous great parts, iconic characters that make this performing artist a memorable part of Hindi cinema. Vinod Khanna made his debut with a villainous role in Sunil Dutta’s 1968 film Man Ka Meet. He got his first break as the solo lead hero in the film Hum Tum Aur Woh (1971). It was followed by the 1971 multi-hero film Mere Apne directed by Gulzar. His convincing portrayal of a naval force officer in Achanak (1973) earned Khanna a lot of critical acclaim.

Vinod Khanna as Amar in Amar Akbar Anthony

From 1973, the charismatic actor played the lead hero in several films giving us some of his best career performances. One of Khanna’s most popular roles was alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor in the super hit multi-starrer Amar Akbar Anthony. Vinod Khanna played a police officer in the film and is still known as the most handsome police officer of the Hindi film industry. Khanna also delighted us with his back to back award nominations for Hera Pheri where he played a con artist and Hath Ki Safai where he played a crook and won a Filmfare for the best supporting actor.

Khanna began the ’80s with Feroz Khan’s Qurbani, and its success bolstered his claim to stardom. If Amitabh Bachchan was synonymous with Vijay (his popular screen name), Khanna had his share of Amars. In Qurbaani, Khanna’s Amar is a criminal who is besotted with a club singer (played by Zeenat Aman) while in Inkaar he plays Amar (Amarnath) Gill the righteous police officer.

The 80’s also saw the actor quit it all – films, his stardom, everything, to pursue a spiritual path. Fortunately for Bollywood, the actor made a comeback, which was marked by many more unforgettable roles. Vinod Khanna went on to win over audiences even in recent times with performances in films like Wanted, Dabangg and Dilwale.

Vinod Khanna in a still from Dabangg

The actor was honored with several Lifetime Achievement awards, a fitting recognition for an artist whose contribution to Hindi cinema was priceless. With his demise, Indian cinema has suffered a great loss but we are all grateful to have witnessed an exceptional actor like Vinod Khanna.

-Manav Raval

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