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Veteran Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna died on Thursday in a Mumbai hospital after a battle with cancer.
Khanna, 70, was hospitalised last month and his son Rahul said at the time that his father was “severly dehydrated”. He is survived by his wife Kavita and four children.
Khanna “breathed his last at 11.20 am due to advanced bladder carcinoma,” Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital said in a statement.
Known for his chiseled looks and fiery acting, Khanna, who was also a lawmaker in India’s lower house of parliament, made a name for himself in the masala movies of the 70s and 80s before he gave up acting to become a disciple of self-styled godman Osho Rajneesh.
His second stint in Bollywood was not as successful, and Khanna went into politics, representing Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab four times for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
“He was a lion-hearted man and generous to a fault. He had the guts to risk it all, break his relationship with the movie industry to live in the ashram of Osho,” director Mahesh Bhatt said about Khanna on CNN News 18 channel.
Khanna made his debut in actor Sunil Dutt’s “Man ka Meet” in 1968. He went on to star in more than 146 films, the most recent one being “Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi”, a biopic of politician Vijaya Raje Scindia, which released in cinemas this month.
The promoters of “Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion”, one of the most highly awaited Indian films of the decade, cancelled the movie’s premiere on Thursday due to Khanna’s death.
“As a mark of respect to our beloved Vinod Khanna the entire team of Baahubali has decided to cancel the premiere tonight,” tweeted producer Karan Johar, who is marketing the Hindi version of the film.
Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by David Lalmalsawma