Passionate performer

Looking back

Koi hota jisko apna...  This haunting Kishore Kumar number was excellently lipped by Vinod Khanna in Mere Apne and ranks as his most favourite song sequence.

Seventies star : Vinod Khanna

The handsome, natural and non-controversial Vinod Khanna, who was the glorious discovery of the late Sunil Dutt, has completed four decades as an actor and is still going strong.

In a telephonic conversation from Mumbai, Vinod Khanna sounds warm and polite as always. Speaking about his latest acting assignment, he says, “I am currently shooting with Salman and Arbaaz Khan for Dabangg 2.

My character is a continuation of Pandeji, the father of Salman Khan, and it has a strong emotional base. The father-son relationship is very well defined in this film and I have concentrated fully on the emotional side as there is no scope or need for action in my role.”

Does he not feel that his earlier character in Dabangg was just a cameo and did not do justice to his talent? Vinod Khanna laughs his heart out, “It was not a cameo. I had some brilliant scenes with Dimple Kapadia in Dabanggwhich sadly had to be edited as the film was becoming unnecessarily long. In Dabangg2 I have a meatier role with substance and it has given me ample scope to perform. If I did not receive an opportunity to exhibit my talents, I would not have accepted the film at all.”

The last time Vinod Khanna was seen on screen was in Tell Me O kkhuda. The film failed to create any impact. The genuine gentleman that he is, Vinod Khanna does not hold any grudge against anybody for the film not doing well. He explains, “Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor, Esha Deol and I, all worked like a team and Hema Malini directed the film with all her expertise.

It flopped and it is very difficult to say why.”

In the 70s, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha were two actors who survived the Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachhan hysteria and held their own against all odds. As a villain, leading and parallel actor, Vinod Khanna proved his mettle with his handsome looks and natural performances. Analyses Vinod Khanna, “Films like Man Ka Meet, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Achanak and Mere Apne still haunt me. They were my initial trysts with histrionics and helped me mature as an actor. Of course, Mere Apne remains my truly personal film and I got along very well with Raj Khosla and Gulzar while working with them.”

His action scenes made him very popular. Vinod Khanna, in films like Mere Apne, Amar Akbar Anthony, Inkaar and Insaaf performed stunts and action sequences with characteristic gusto and aplomb. He smiles at the mention of his action sequences and says, “I always try my best to put in a realistic effect into any scene I perform. My action scenes were no exceptions.

Now I have matured and mellowed with age, and am concentrating on characters which suit my present looks and abilities.”

Though not considered a top grade romantic actor, he performed a romantic song sequence, Chhodo yeh nigahon ka ishara with Vidya Sinha very convincingly in Inkaar. Vinod Khanna smiles again, “Thank you for remembering. It was a director’s song sequence and Raj N Sippy took three excellent close shots of me running by the seaside, creating a romantic effect for the song.”

What does he feel about his histrionic confrontations with Amitabh Bachhan in the 70s. There is a pause and then Vinod Khanna replies confidently, “We worked together in Khoon Pasina, Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar. He was, and still is, a thorough professional with an amazing range. I gelled well with him and have fond memories of our work experiences together.”

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