Whatever happened to Vinod Bharti, friends from outside India sometimes inquire. And the Daily Bhaskar (TDB), India, in its usual sensational yellow press and not-so-factual mind-set, has recently asked: What has happened to actor Vinod Khanna?
To read our obit follow this link: Vinod Bharti (aka Vinod Khanna) left his body on 27 April 2017.
TDB must have had intense tutorials from such notorious news rags as Bild Zeitung in Germany, The Sun in England, and Weekly World News and The National Enquirer in the USA. By the way, the paper used in the distant past for colonial newspapers was made in England from rags, hence the expression, but I digress.
Someone at TDB found an interview from 2002 that Vinod gave to The Times of India and performed a hatchet job, using bits here and there to create sensationalist coverage. Speculations are rife at TDB that “there are many who believe that if Vinod Khanna wouldn’t have ‘followed’ Osho, the history of Bollywood would have been something else. Amitabh Bachchan might not be a superstar and Vinod Khanna’s career would not have been like this as it is believed that if any actor could have given a real fight to Big B, it was Vinod Khanna.”
As intelligent people know, speculations about the past are nonsense and irrelevant, and have nothing to do with the path Vinod chose.
Born in Peshawar in 1946 (then British India, now Pakistan), his family moved to Bombay when India was partitioned. While at boarding school he fell in love with motion pictures after watching the famous epic Mughal-e-Azam. After graduating from Sydenham College with a commerce degree, he embarked on his movie career. He debuted in Sunil Dutt’s 1968 film Man Ka Meet, playing a villain; he got rave reviews and within a week, he had signed up for 15 films.
He is considered to be one of the best looking actors in Bollywood and because of his charming personality, he became popular with the audience and featured in innumerable lead roles. He is one of the few Bollywood actors who could successfully transition from negative roles to positive lead roles.
With his career at a peak, he became Osho’s sannyasin on the last day of the year 1975 in Pune. I remember Vinod very well from the seventies at the ashram and hung out sometimes at his house to watch videos together with a few other friends, a rare opportunity back then; he was always amiable and joyful and never displayed big movie star eccentricity as far as I experienced.
While in Rajneeshpuram he worked mainly as a gardener (“I was Osho’s mali”). Upon returning to India and Bollywood, his comeback movie Insaaf (opposite Dimple Kapadia) in 1987 was a big hit, and Vinod starred as a hero in several movies until 1994. In 1999 he received a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry for over three decades.
Moving into politics because he had a feeling to serve the nation, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1997 and was elected from Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab in the next year’s Lok Sabha poll. In July 2002 he became Union Minister for Culture and Tourism and was India’s Minister of State for External Affairs (junior foreign minister), holding office from 2003-2004.
He continues to star in movies and receiving awards, like the Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007. His latest action movies from 2012 are Dabangg 2 and Players, while five new Hindi movies are scheduled to be released in summer 2013.
Vinod never concealed the fact that he is Osho’s sannyasin. To this day he remains connected with sannyasins, participates at events in Oshodham and Osho Galleria in New Delhi, visits Osho Nisarga in Dharamsala and a couple of years ago also visited Osho Tapoban in Nepal.
In aforementioned Times of India interview, Vinod concluded,
Everything is a manifestation of God: I have a vision and believe in making my own destiny. Spirituality is the transcendence of beliefs and systems. It involves gaining mastery over the mind. Spiritualism brings about peace of mind — it destroys everything that is negative. Everything around us, whether good or bad, is a manifestation of God.”
Bhagawati, Osho News
Illustrations credit: indya101.com, BollywoodSaesam, bollycurry,com, oshotapoban.com, oshoworld.com, Girish Shukla, Rajneesh Foundation Photo Services, BCCL timescontent.com
Read our obit: Vinod Bharti (aka Vinod Khanna) left his body on 27 April 2017.