Lallan Chacha, a peon at KC College in Churchgate, was nearly in tears when recalling the days when the first superstar of the Indian film industry rehearsed for hours at the college auditorium.
It was at this college where the late Rajesh Khanna took his first steps towards the field of his dreams through theatre arts. Paying a tribute to him, the institute remembered the actor on Monday.
“Participating in intercollegiate drama competitions and winning everywhere was a regular affair for him. As I was the auditorium attendant, I watched him closely. I would open the auditorium for him for rehearsals and used to wait till late hours to close it after he finished. His personality was as magnificent then as it was on the silver screen, and also when he last met me at the college’s 50th anniversary ceremony,” said Lallan Chacha.
He was in tears recollecting the 50th anniversary celebrations of the college in 2003 when Khanna had been invited as chief guest. He had specifically asked the principal about Lallan Chacha and expressed his wish to meet him.
Dr Manju Nichani, principal of the college, recollected the phone call that she had made to the star to invite him to be the chief guest. “He did not take even 10 seconds to say yes. He was elated to come to the college and did so without needing a reminder.”
Students at KC College showcased an audio-visual presentation they made in memory of the late superstar.
Bollywood actors Bindu and Poonam Dhillon were also present at the ceremony. They shared their experiences with the star.
While Bindu recalled the days they would both would frequent Taloja Biryani Centre while shooting for Do Raste and spoke about his love for food, Poonam Dhillon credited Khanna for her existence in Indian film industry.
She also shared a childhood tale of when he had spotted her in a crowd of hundreds of onlookers while shooting for a film in Chandigarh.