Vinod Bharti (aka Vinod Khanna)


(6 October 1946 – 27 April 2017)

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On Sunday, 30th April, from 3.30pm till 5.30pm, there will be a celebratory and soulful send-off kirtan for Swami Vinod Bharti, thanks to musician Swami Prem Anadi and friends in Pune. Venue: Pingale Garden, opposite Canara Bank, Lane number 5, Koregaon Park.

Vinod Bharti (aka Vinod Khanna) was born in Peshawar in 1946 (then British India, now Pakistan) before 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. Then came main and supporting character roles in films like 1970’s Purab Aur Paschim and 1971’s Mera Gaon Mera Desh. In the same year, he was cast as the lead actor in Hum Tum Aur Woh and then in the Gulzar-directed Mere Apne.

During his life, Vinod acted in more than 146 films including Imtihan (1974) opposite Tanuja, a movie remembered for its hit songs, then Amar Akbar Anthony in 1977 (full film list on Wikipedia).

He was considered to be one of the best-looking actors in Bollywood and because of his charming personality, he became popular with the audience and was featured in innumerable lead roles. He is one of the few Bollywood actors who could successfully transition from negative roles to positive lead roles, and was adept at handling both romantic and action films with ease, getting under the skin of his characters.

With his career at a peak, he became Osho’s sannyasin on the last day of the year 1975 in Pune.

Bhagawati writes:

“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 Pune and in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon he worked mainly as a gardener (“I was Osho’s mali”).

Now Vinod Khanna is here; he is a famous Indian actor. He has lived luxuriously, and he is immensely happy to get a small room. It must be exactly of the same size as he is – six by four! But he is immensely happy. It is the same room where Vimalkirti had lived, and one should be aware: Francis House has given two enlightened persons – watch out for Vinod! And from today he is going to start work in Lao Tzu garden — a man who has been earning lakhs of rupees per month, living the most luxurious life possible in India. Now he will be under Mukta’s charge – and Mukta is a hard master!

Osho, The Wild Geese and the Water, Ch 1, Q 2 (excerpt)

Vinod also had the distinction of being one of the 21 ‘enlightened’ disciples who were announced by Osho in Rajneeshpuram. Feeling very disturbed, Vinod wrote privately to Osho, confessing that he had sincere doubts about his enlightenment status, whereupon Osho assured him not to worry, because it was just a joke! Vinod was relieved to hear it! (see discourse question It was just a joke. You are not enlightened, relax!)

In Kulu Manali, answering a question by Punjab Keshari, a Hindi newspaper, about Vinod returning to the film industry , Osho says:

…there is no bondage on anybody. If he feels like going back to films he will be now a better actor than he ever was. And I would not deprive the film industry of a genius. He can go with all my blessings.

In fact, upon returning to India and Bollywood – after a five-year gap – his comeback movie Insaaf (opposite Dimple Kapadia) in 1987 was a big hit, and he starred as a hero in several movies until 1994, e.g. his memorable role as an aging gangster in Dayavaan, in 1988.

Subhuti writes:

I knew Vinod personally as a warm-hearted and sincere sannyasin. He was a regular visitor to the Shree Rajneesh Ashram, was present at many darshans with Osho, and gave several interviews for the ashram Press Office, where I was working.

The last time I saw him was in the mid-90s when he invited me to his apartment in Mumbai, on Malabar Hill, to give my opinion about a script which he’d been given as a possible film project.

When he took me out to dinner at one of Mumbai’s five-star hotels, word quickly spread and by the time we left there was a long line of Vinod fans stretching all the way from the dining room to the car.

He seemed to take fame very easily and also helped his sons get into the entertainment business.

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 continued to star in movies and won numerous awards, including the Filmfare award for best supporting actor for Haath ki Safaai and in 1999 he received a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry for over three decades. He also received the Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007.

Vinod had a role in both Salman Khan’s Dabangg movies and his last screen appearance was opposite Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in 2015’s Dilwale.

Vinod openly showed that he was Osho’s sannyasin and remained connected with sannyasins, participated at events in Oshodham and Osho Galleria in New Delhi, visited Osho Nisarga in Dharamsala and also visited Osho Tapoban in Nepal.

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Vinod Khanna in hospital

He was recently in the news because of a planned film franchise that will trace the life of Osho; highlighting two important phases in Osho’s life — the period in 1981 when health issues contributed to him leaving for the USA and eventually settling in Oregon where a new commune was set up. The second phase will follow his exit from the US in November 1985. Vinod was going to mentor and co-produce the movie with Akhil Kapur, Vinod Khanna’s nephew and cousin of Akshaye, Rahul and Sakshi Khanna as actors (Vinod Khanna to Spin Off a Franchise on Osho).

At the end of March, Vinod was hospitalised for severe dehydration and remained admitted at the HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in Girgaon, Mumbai. According to a statement from the hospital he died from advanced bladder carcinoma.

Vinod Khanna was married twice. He had two sons with first wife Geetanjali, Rahul and Akshaye, both actors in Bollywood, and a son and daughter, Sakshi and Shraddha, with second wife Kavita.

Based on a bio written by Bhagawati

Obits in – – and more…

Osho mentions Vinod Bharti in It was just a joke. You are not enlightened, relax!
and replies to his question in Impotence of the mind – Action out of delight

For further watching:
Bombay Talkies with Vinod Khanna (Aired: December 15, 2006)


You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote using our contact form (please add ‘Vinod’ in the subject field)…

Swami Vinod Khanna was a real hero in many ways. I met him during Pune 1 days in the 70’s. He personified to me someone who had fame and fortune and still the great intelligence to dive deep into sannyas. He took a lot of hits from Indian press and colleagues, on account of his love and trust in Osho. I guess because of my good reputation as a Rebalancer and being good at adjusting the spine (and his spinal/back issues), Vinod sought me out, and we remained friends through all these years.

I could tell a bunch of stories, but my favorite one is this: Anasha ans I were in Delhi sharing Arun Conscious Touch – it must have been 10 years ago. We were having such a blast there (the one and only time we worked outside of the Commune in India). I always was very comfortable with and accepted by Osho’s Indian sannyasins – it’s been such a gift for me to get real close to many of them. So we were working in Neelam’s nephew Ashwin’s new Art Center and whenever we had free time, we would hang out with friends like Satya Paul, Puneet, Richa, Sangama, and others. Then, I got a call from Vinod. He was having some back pain and wondered if I had time to see him. I said, “Of course Vinod-ji. Do you want to come here to the Center?” He replied, “I can’t. My term as the Minister is just now finished and we need to move out of the government housing. How about I send my driver over and you come here?” I said, “Sure”. Later, a massive limo pulls up and a big Sikh asks for Swami Anubuddha. So I sit waaayyy back in the limo with a drink, and we drive into the plush area of New Delhi where all the rich politicians are housed. When I arrive, the place is full of boxes and packing materials, with quite a beautiful garden and great marble floors and furnishings.

So Vinod and I have a wonderful Conscious Touch Meditation together, and then we hang out and Vinod tells stories of his political lessons. He was cracking up about how one day he is a hero and the next day he is a villain… or one day someone is your friend, the next day they set you up for a big hit, just like in the movies, except this was now his “real life”! He seemed bruised by the experiences, but also very deep in his meditative vision of power, money, etc. I mean, Vinod lived many roles in one life; that’s what I admired in him. I always enjoyed his company, as he brought such a high energy to everything he touched. I am confident that he went on to the next phase in awareness. I feel a lot of love and thankfulness for our time together.

Driving back in the government limo with another drink in my hand, after our last hang-out, I also reflected on everything Vinod and I just talked about, especially the difference between inner and outer riches, the significance of “this too will pass” and what a great gift it is to meet Osho and his people in this lifetime.


Fly high, beloved Vinod…
So many special memories of time spent with you at The Ranch…
You will always be in my heart…

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Osho Nisarga will miss you, our beloved charming Vinod Ji! You are a strong part of us here. And you will always be. Over the years at Nisarga, since its inception, there has been a great bonding with you. It happened so naturally while sharing the same cottage, having late night conversations about our life at the ranch with the master, talking about politics, enjoying Nisarga parties, learning from you
the art of watching, witnessing – your path in meditation – hearing your delightful stories with Osho, savoring your non-veg jokes, laughing and giggling, enjoying your provocative teasers and sometimes shocking utterances. And above all, being touched by your compassionate heart.

I know for sure that even at the time of your departure to the further shore, you stayed a witness. The physical pain was certainly unbearable during the last month in the hospital. In fact, the last six months have been really difficult. I have heard Osho say that when the pain is extremely unbearable, patients slip into a coma as they cannot bear the suffering. But you remained aware till the last breath of your life. Even in your passing away, you were as present as you were in your life.

We will continue feeling your presence here at Nisarga, resonating with laughter and celebration and your generous contribution to this Osho’s Himalayan abode.

Bon Voyage…. Fly High Vinod ji…

You have a special place in my heart. To have known you so close has been a great gift. A learning, a longing for my own journey…


Celebrate with Swami Vinod Bharti some hilarious moments of laughter…

The enlightened Osho has seen the light while his two disciples, Swami Vinod Bharti and Swami Anand Kul Bhushan, are following his gaze to see it at Manali after Osho returned to India from USA. Time stood still for this memorable moment:

Vinod, Kul Bhushan and Oshoin Manali, 1985
Vinod, Kul Bhushan and Osho in Manali, 1985

I also had nice moments with Vinod in Dadu, Paul Reps and the Truck Farm. He was very kind and gracious. He was a significantly famous person in Bollywood and in politics, who handled it innocently well. That last photo of him before he died, with one of his sons and daughters, I could sense he was already transitioning. It’s so mysterious. I don’t know how I know. But I do experience it, and after Vipassana’s transition, “it” seems clearer. I took one look at that picture and just know that Vinod has left the Wheel of Samsara, gate gate par gate bodhi swahah! Love, liberation and laughter,
PS So many friends popping off! Will you promise to remain here a minute ago?

Vinod Khanna in hospital

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